I’m usually one to embrace technology, but that was never the case with the eBook phenomena. I remember well, years ago, when eBooks first came on the scene. I winced at just the idea of staring a screen to enjoy a story instead of touching the pages and smelling the dust, especially in an old book. With my lifelong desire for a library and the tactile pleasures that come from the weight of the book, turning the pages, the fact that it can then be set on the shelf and added to the collection to be taken down and leafed through whenever I wanted… the thought of reading a digital book seemed so cold.
I cringed last year when my mom finally gave in and bought a Kindle Fire.
“I always thought that you were on my side,” I lamented.
“I still love books,” she explained, “but do you know how many eBooks you can get for free?”
Since then, I’ve watched her and her Kindle. I’ve watched her pull it out for a brief respite before heading into a class (since she’s a teacher too). During church, I’ve watched her flip between a Bible and a book related to the topic or scripture at hand.
And part of me started to wonder what it would be like to have that same convenience. You know, not to worry about whether I packed my book to read while biking at the gym. Or always carry a bag large enough to keep a book handy in case a convenient moment arises.
So, earlier this week, I gave in. I downloaded the Kindle app on my phone. And, while I haven’t done much with it yet, the draw of some free classics on hand wherever I go is quite appealing.
This doesn’t mean that I’m a full convert and that I’ll be turning in all of my hardbacks and paperbacks in favor of eBooks. After all, reading a book is an experience made of touching the pages and being able to place it on the shelf afterwards, like a memento to all of the previous journeys into other worlds. But it does mean that I don’t regard eBooks with the same disdain. After all, sometimes it’s nice to have a book on hand without actually having to carry a book.
What are your thoughts on eBooks? Have you given in?