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Monday, January 11, 2010

I received a Kindle from my husband for Christmas (because I asked for one, even though I then changed my mind but it was too late, he'd already ordered it). So I am officially a reader of e-books. I purchased my first e-book on New Year's Eve and finished it on New Year's Day. It was non-fiction and I enjoyed it. So I bought another book on New Year's Day and finished it on January 2. I enjoyed that, it was a teen book.

But then something weird happened after reading both of them. It was like I was hungry, ate a meal, and then, after eating, I still didn't feel full. It was like I'd consumed empty calories. And not because I didn't like the books, because I did. No, it had something to do with the way I read them.

I couldn't figure out why I felt so unsatisfied, but then it came to me.

When you read a book you hold it, turn it over, see the cover sitting on your night stand, see a picture of the author - you live with it. The physical book itself becomes part of the experience. But that whole part of it is gone with an e-reader. Sure, you have a "Kindle" experience, but not a "book" experience. You read a story but you don't live with the story like you do when reading a book.

So you read and know you should be satisfied, but it doesn't stick to your ribs.

That said, I think I read faster precisely because of that very reason. I scarfed it down instead of savoring it like a good meal. It's also really easy to order a book so I've found I could buy a lot more books and instantly satisfy my craving for a particular title - which is a good thing for the industry. We need people buying more books. But I still wish they were books, and not e-books.

I've already ordered a bunch more e-books. Will be curious to see if I continue to feel the same way.

If you own an e-reader, what do you think of my analogy? Am I totally off base?


Jan Blazanin said...

Hey, Jenny, I've seen the Kindle and been tempted, but I'm afraid I'd feel the same way you do. I love holding a book and flipping back to reread passages and double-check character names and other info I might have missed. Someday I may dip into Kindle-land, but not yet.

Jennifer Echols said...

Ditto. I'm glad people have the option of another way of reading and accessing books, but personally I'm not interested. I think books work great! Why would I want to fix a non-problem? Other inventions that puzzle me: the bagless vacuum cleaner (I liked taking out the bag and throwing away the dirt--wasn't that the whole point?); the Snuggie (I don't need my blanket to have sleeves, really).