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My torrid affair with e-reading

Written by Kirsten on May 22nd, 2009

Clearly, we are all both readers and Internet users. There has been a lot of discussion (ironically, most of it online) about how the electronic age has affected the time – and more importantly, the money – people spend on print media. Book bloggers and sites like LibraryThing may be able to make up for some of the losses sustained by the disappearance of newspapers (and the book reviews within), but the damage inflicted goes far beyond what recommending a good book can repair. I wrote my final paper for my recent English composition class on this topic, and while I won’t subject you to the paper itself, I really don’t feel like I even began to talk about it in any real depth.

Personally, I am addicted to books themselves. Nothing in the world is quite like the feel, sound, and smell of the first time a brand new hardcover is opened. That has not, however, completely prevented me from testing other means of enjoying fine literature, particularly those novels which are in the public domain, and free to read via various means (we mentioned Gutenberg earlier, and there are other sources through my Stanza reader application on my iPod, as well). I will probably never own a Kindle or other dedicated e-reader, but I have to admit that the convenience of a “book collection” that fits in my pocket is pretty unbeatable. So far, though, I’ve been purchasing paper copies of the books I read electronically or listen to on audiobook/MP3, and thus keeping a good chunk of my income flowing directly to local sellers of both new and used books. So yes, I have a clandestine love affair with e-books, but I will always return to my stable, supportive, memory-filled shelves of “real” books, in the end.

What are your thoughts on the state of the publishing industry, and the internet’s connection to the demise of print media? Are you digging in your heels against Amazon’s ubiquitous hold on book sales worldwide? Gleefully donating your physical books as you replace them with digital copies? Trying to find a happy medium between keeping up with technology and keeping bookstores from folding altogether?


5 Comments so far ↓

  1. The bulk of my book buying recently has been library and fundraiser booksales, collecting large amounts of book for a limited amount of money. However, if there’s a book I want, I’ll hit Borders or Amazon for it. I refuse to shop at B&N. I’ve done my fair share of e-reading, mostly at work and I enjoy it, but I do still love the feeling of curling up with a beloved friend, and a computer just doesn’t give you that. I do hope to get a Kindle at some point, not because I want to give up good old fashioned paper, but because I live in a small studio and I will run out of room for book shelves eventually!

    As for the publishing industry, some of the smaller companies are actually doing better right now. The owner of The Permanent Press, who I know from LT and the Early Reviewer program has an interesting blog about it:

  2. Kirsten says:

    Very interesting indeed; what an awful experience with B&N! I rarely shop there unless I’m on the hunt for something and can’t find it anywhere else locally, and this is another good reason to steer clear.

  3. I think I will eventually own an E-Reader, particularly as more and more review copies begin to be made available that way. It certainly is easier to have one thing than to lug 2 big books to work because you’re almost done with one of them. I would prefer to avoid the Kindle, though, because the whole Amazon monopoly worries me. I’m leaning more towards the Sony E-Reader or the Cool-ER. I doubt I’ll ever buy one for myself, but I can see it being a birthday/Christmas gift from someone before too long.

  4. Kirsten says:

    I’m in the exact same camp, Jen; I certainly wouldn’t mind receiving an e-reader as a gift, but I will probably never purchase one, particularly since my iPod serves the purpose for the most part. And that point where you know you’re going to finish one book and can’t NOT have another one on hand – I know it well. That’s why I so often stay up just a little too late to finish a book rather than holding out on the last 50-100 pages!

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