I bought my first eBook in 1999. Back then, eBook publishing was like a frontier. Most publishers e-mailed the books to you, and the process wasn’t automated, so if you bought something on the weekend, you’d have to wait a day or two to get your e-mail. Sometimes they were even sent as RTF files! Discussions about eBooks would always start with someone saying something like “I don’t read eBooks because I hate reading on my computer screen” and “I’ll never read eBooks because only people who can’t get a contract are published in that format.” OK, some people still believe those things, but most of us have gotten over those hurdles. Still, we’ve found new ones, or new ones have been shoved in place. Then there’s the biggest barrier of all — sometimes I just want to touch a blasted paper copy. Sometimes the paper copy is cheaper, or looks cooler, or is easier to read. Or sometimes there is no eBook edition!
Our central nervous systems have something called a blood-brain barrier. Sometimes I think mine also has a Kindle-brain barrier, and that some books will only enter by brain through a paper trail. Although I read the first two Hunger Games in eBook format, for some reason, I couldn’t get into the third one, Mockingjay. The final movie is coming up, and I really wanted to catch up. (How else will I know what parts they screwed up?( Then I started leafing through the large type edition of the third one in a bookstore, and the sucker pulled me in. I bought it and read it, in just a few days. Maybe it’s the distraction factor. When I’m reading something on a Kindle, there is always something else on that Kindle. (Oh, I’d better move that new book into the New Adult category. Wait, did I remember go get the new Joanna Wylde motorcycle club book I wanted? Hey, did I finish reading that ghost story?…) When I read Mockingjay in paper, there was only Mockingjay. Sucker that I am, I even bought matching large type editions of the first two and am now re-reading the first one. Maybe some books just need to be read a certain way. For years, I tried to read Lord Foul’s Bane. I finally managed it by taking a worn, used paperback to the beach and reading it, dog-earing the pages, getting sand in it, and dinging it up even more. I also can’t imagine reading certain old school romances on a Kindle because part of the fun of reading those books is slamming them on the floor now and then and walking away. That’s much more satisfying with an old mass market paperback. On the other hand, if I’m reading a print book and suddenly realize I want to read something else, I can’t just push a button on it and go to the next book. So it’s not a perfect world. It’s a hybrid world.
So keep those things in mind when you read about a recent article in the New York Times warning that eBook sales have slowed, and even fallen, and that print sales are on the rise. Are some readers giving up on eBooks? Are others not even giving the format a chance? Are customers reading in both formats? It’s just as likely that this article doesn’t have all the numbers, or isn’t interpreting them correctly. Maybe readers are going back to paper because they can buy the paper book at a discount on-line or even at the grocery store, and they’d rather do that than pay full price (or more) for the eBook. Maybe publishers are trying everything they can to corral readers back into print books. Maybe the article isn’t looking at all the numbers. Is it including all the people who pay, say, $2.99 or $3.99 for a new motorcycle club romance, or billionaire romance, yet would balk at paying $15 or more for the same title? It doesn’t look that way. As the article itself says, “It is also possible that a growing number of people are still buying and reading e-books, just not from traditional publishers. The declining e-book sales reported by publishers do not account for the millions of readers who have migrated to cheap and plentiful self-published e-books, which often cost less than a dollar.” (OK, we all know that $2.99 and $3.99 are the more common price points now, but articles on eBooks often lag behind the times.) AAR’s readers also had fun with this topic on our boards. Earlier this summer, as mentioned at AAR, eBook subscription service Scribd tried to control costs by cutting back on romance titles. Scribd’s rival, Oyster, announced in September that they were shutting down. Some experts see those issues as a sign that the eBook market is in trouble. This proves that many of those experts don’t know much about eBooks. I’m sure I’m not the only reader who tried Scribd and gave up because I hated reading in their iPad app. Others gave up because they didn’t like the idea of borrowing titles and not owning them. But no, to the experts, the problems at Scribd and Oyster must mean that people are “giving up” on eBooks, rather than giving up on a format they don’t like.
Are people going back to paper books? Or like me, did they never leave to begin with? I love my ereaders, and have for years. They’re a great way to carry tons (literally) of books around at once. Also, just as digital music stores have made it easier for me to find that weird band the local music store doesn’t carry, eBooks offer me a way to get copies of books I can’t otherwise find. From classic romances I haven’t seen in stores for years, to long out-of-print classics such as Varney the Vampire, eBooks have helped me find new ways to spend my money. On the other hand, when I started seriously getting into music again, I realized that local record store is a great place to have. Why pay $9.99 for a download that might get lost in a hardware crash when I can buy the CD for less, with a better copy of the artwork, lyrics, and liner notes, and better sound? When a band I like arranged for a signing in a Baltimore record store, I bought their new album in CD so that they could sign the booklet even though I also bought the download. Now I have a signed copy, and some cool memories. Of a guitarist with very blue eyes. Ahem.
Even when they don’t have autograph sessions, bookstores are still just as tempting. As long as the print copy doesn’t look as if it was printed in microfiche (that reference surely ages me), I might consider buying it, depending on various factors: whether there is an eBook edition (can’t buy one if it doesn’t exist); the price of the eBook edition; whether I might want to lend it to someone who doesn’t have an ereader; how nice the print copy looks; my mood; my storage space; the binding of the print edition; and the alignment of the planets. And once again, what about prices? Even the local independent bookstore can lure me in with lots of great discounts. (I’m lookin’ at you, Greetings and Readings!)
Also, some publishers are being very clever (blast them!) and putting together print copies that look great or feel so wonderful that you might think “Well maybe just this once…” I pulled a new YA book, The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, off the shelf at a local bookstore. I was thinking of getting the eBook edition, which is under eight dollars. Then I realized the red throne on the cover is done in some kind of soft velvet. Darn it, now I went the hardcover because it feels so nice. YA paranormal Diary of a Haunting has lots of full-page black and white illustrations that would look … blah… on my Nook or Kindle. Also, while I don’t mind taking my Kindle into the sauna at the YMCA, I draw the line at taking it into the bathtub. On the other hand, I don’t mind taking a cheap paper copy there. No, I’m not going to take a bath with my signed, numbered edition of a book. But that trade paperback edition will be very welcome. That print edition will also never run out of juice, won’t accidentally flip to the next chapter (unless it’s windy), and can be lent to someone else. Also, I can buy paper copies at anywhere from the comfy Barnes & Noble where they make the best Frappuccinos and already know what I prefer, to nifty indie stores to used book stores. Not to mention this place I’ve heard about where you can borrow scads of books for free, even if they’re not available in eBook editions. Some place called a … library.
I’m not the only one who sometimes heads for the stacks. AAR’s Lee Brewer says, The first place I go to read books is the library, which fortunately has an extensive range of paper and eBooks. Most times the library will order the book in paper and eBook (and many times audio). My preference is always paper. If they only order eBooks, I’ll borrow that version. I do buy a LOT of eBooks but mostly UK chick lit/women’s fiction authors that are available through Amazon US. Otherwise, I stock up on UK books when I visit London or order from bookdepository.com.”
On the other hand, Maggie Boyd points out that some great books have come out only as eBooks lately — Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin; Radiance by Grace Draven; Dark Horse Michelle Diener. Also, authors like Lisa Clark O’Neill, Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliot publish in eBook editions. Maggie prefers paper, but she’s run out of space. On the other hand, if the eBook edition is more than $9.99, she’ll switch to paper. At least that way she can trade it in if it’s bad.
But paper hasn’t lured everyone back in. Mary Skelton prefers eBooks, for two main reasons — she can change the font size and reduce eyestrain, and she gets her books right away. A far cry from the olden days of eBooks, where orders that late on Friday night often weren’t fulfilled until Monday afternoon. Paper books might be here to stay, but eBooks have made leaps and bounds since 1999.
“If I never read another real book, I’d be perfectly happy,” says Dabney. “I read about five to ten books a week and I move between books as I read. My Kindle (and phone, iPad, and laptop) allow me to read whatever I want whenever I want. Plus I adore the dictionary/Wikipedia links in the Kindle program. My family also often reads together so having eBooks available to everyone at the same time is the bomb.”
Caz says, “I admit that when ebooks first came about, my reaction was along the lines of ‘great – but I will always prefer an actual book.’ Hah. How wrong I was.” She got her first Kindle for Christmas several years ago and hasn’t looked back since. The Kindle has coincided with her current reading needs, from finally having more time to read and getting more into reading romance. She also enjoyed being able to carry more than one book at a time, “and not having to leave books with half-naked people on the cover lying about.” She has been converted so thoroughly that for the last few years, the only “dead tree” books she bought were second-hand copies of books not available electronically, such as old Signet and Zebra regencies from the 80s and 90s. “
My house is crammed to the brim with dead-trees anyway, so the Kindle was a fantastic addition to the household in that it meant never having to put up another bookshelf! (Like we have space for one, anyway!)”
Heh. I know that feeling. I do appreciate not having to cram as many paperbacks onto those shelves now. Also, going somewhere is more fun because I don’t have to decide which books to take — I can take my Kindle and always have something to read, and if I want to take a print book, I can take that one special book I might happen to be reading. No more canvas bags filled with twenty paperbacks, none of which turned out to be the one I wanted to read.
–Anne M. Marble
Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.
MS Marble, your text is wonderful to read. I had a good time reading your funny expressions and words.
As for preferring books or ebooks, I’m in the middle of things. I love paper books and getting them and seeing them in my shelves (sadly not all publishers respect the series’ covers/editions/size/layouts..) but I purchased an ereader, a BeBook Club simply to read ebooks. It’s not a fancy ereader, it doesn’t have countless apps but it’s handy for the amount of ebooks I’ve accumulated and yes, they are awful to read in the computer.
Surely most readers like both formats, each one has their one allure! ;)
I got my first dedicated e-reader in 2007 (a Sony PRS-505) and I loved it. Then I graduated to a Kindle Paperwhite and they will pry it out of my cold dead hands. I absolutely must have an e-ink screen to combat eye strain, so I hope we never see the death of dedicated e-readers.
That said, I still own a ton of print, still collect some print and still like to read in print. Digital has pretty much changed my life for ARCs, novellas and my Harlequin addiction. I can’t remember the last category romance I bought in print – that’s how long it’s been. Single titles are more of a toss up. Sometimes I read print, sometimes I read digital – and sometimes if I’m getting the book from the library I choose the format that has the shortest wait list attached to it. Most of the time that equals the print copy.
I am on my second Kindle and while I love getting books instantly, I use it less and less. A book is only real to me if I hold it in my hands, it seems. That being said, I am a sucker for the $.99 – $2.99 price point, and the vast majority of books I buy are those. I rarely pay more than that for an e-book, it just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t even truly own it!
To me the best thing is to have both. There are times a book is only available in e format, or I have to have it THIS second. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a quick read, those little $.99 hit the spot.
I’ve stopped getting every free e book that I see, though. I used to download tons of books I never read, now I pass much more often than I download. And right now there seems to be a huge amount of chaff out there, since 50 Shades, so many awful retreads (not that 50 Shades was good). I read far more stinkers in e format than print.
I do like that, with my e-reader, I can read in the dark while the kids watch a movie. I can’t do that with print.
But I’ve often said I will be the last person buying the last book on earth if it came to that, and if that doesn’t happen, I will be very happy.
Thought I wouldn’t like e books till I was given a second hand 1 st generation Kindle a few years ago. I am now on my third Kindle the Paper White which I love. I will still buy a book but very rarely. Books take up so much space, get dusty and deteriorate and go brown, e books win hands down for me. Another e book plus is that you can return them for a full refund if dissatisfied.
I don’t have an eReader and have never had one. It’s not because I’m some sort of book snob. It’s just that I’m at a computer all day and often in the evening and the last thing I want to do is read another screen, no matter how user friendly.
Besides that, I am not a fast reader and so I own plenty of physical books that I haven’t even touched yet. The thought that I could have hundreds more, which may entice me because they cost only one-third the price of a physical book, overwhelms me. I’d feel compelled to buy the newest, shiny thing, but never get around to reading it.
Third, I’m not into instant gratification. Half the pleasure of purchasing a book is browsing through shelves or tables at physical stores. Or, if I order on-line, waiting for their delivery. It’s like receiving a mini gift to myself. Sometimes I even forget what I ordered and it excites me all over again.
In the past, when I have read books on-line — especially the self-published — I’ve not been impressed by the quality of the writing or the editing, if any. Now that eBooks are getting better or are comparable to the quality of physical books, I *am* sorry to find that some books being recommended are only available electronically. That’s the only thing that might get me to purchase an eReader.
Yes, the only reason I got a Kindle is because I didn’t have a paper option for some authors several years ago. It seems as if paper is more predominant again now and so I find that I use my Kindle less and less. It also seems as if e-readers were another one of these inventions that an industry felt overly optimistic about and may truly have believed that they would eliminate paper reading. I’m so thankful that has not happened! I don’t mind at all that people have options, but that has to include the option to remain a paper reader if we want it.
My reading experience is much like you described, Sandlynn. I, too, already have an abundance of books, really enjoy browsing book stores, get a kick out of gifts to myself by getting books in the mail, as well as also being underwhelmed by the quality of writing and editing of self-published books I had read online.
Like Blackjack1, I, too, like to underline passages in books as well as making marginal notes, preferring to do so by hand with various types of pens, pencils and markers in different colors, love the look of books around my home, have no trouble carrying a book I’m currently reading with me wherever I go–just as I always have–and yet appreciate that everyone can make the reading choice of paper or digital (or both) that best suits them.
I’d add that I also love passing along some books to friends (and the back and forth that my mom and I used to have with books that I so miss), and that sometimes when I go to choose the next book I want to read, I end up with a pile of different sizes, colors and shapes in front of me, not at all unlike a kid with her toys, to shuffle, rifle through and play with before finally deciding the most appealing one for that time. :)
I average almost a book per day in my reading habits. My husband and I recently redecorated our playroom which is where all my paperbacks went to play. We boxed up almost 50 boxes of paperbacks and put them in storage. That doesn’t include the paperbacks still in my bedroom and the loads of hardback books I have in bookshelves all over the house. We are about to start building our retirement home which will be smaller than the house we have now. So space will be even more at a premium. Having a kindle is a great storage solution for me. Also, my kindle paperwhite has a screen that mimics the sheen of a paperback book and is top lit instead of back lit so it doesn’t hurt my eyes. Reading a paper book actually strains my eyes more than the ereader. I thought I would miss the tactile feeling of a paper book, but I do not. My husband had almost stopped reading because of the print size of most standard books. I gave him a kindle a few years ago for Christmas and he started reading again. My brother-in-law lost vision in one of his eyes and reading was very hard for him after that (and he is also a prolific reader). The kindle saved his sanity. I love my kindle!!!
Another problem with ebooks is that if you’re not American, some things STILL aren’t available on Kindle. And often if I want to buy one Mills and Boon/Harlequin ebook, I’m forced to spend three or four times as much and buy it in a bundle of books I’ve already read or don’t want to read.
Stores like The Book Depository have free shipping worldwide. Often – for me – buying print books is actually cheaper.
I was one of those who came to ebooks late. I will acknowledge that there is nothing like the way a print book feels in your hand. I came to ebooks in about 2011 and found some great and entertaining authors in Amazon’s free books lists. I still buy several favorite authors in print because my mother who raids my shelves does not read e books. I am a dialysis patient and have found my Kindle a must have. It is the right size and weight to be held in one hand while I am having my treatments. As others have said if the book that you are reading does not suit your mood at the time you can have a good selection of something else to change to in a few clicks, and not have to carry a large bag of books with you. So I am a fan of both print and e books.
I will not pay more for an ebook than the print book costs. I feel that then the publisher is trying either to rip me off or punish me for buying an e book. I hate that I start reading a series at a reasonable price and when you get into the later books they raise the price from say $3.99 or $4.99 to 7 dollars or more. Then you have to decide whether you are going to buy it in paperback if you can find it or haunt your local USB.
Thanks for letting me have a say.
Because most of my books are ARCs, most of what I read is in electronic format.
However, I will ALWAYS prefer print books. I find ereaders much easier to put down, and I always get distracted by other things – which is why I will never read on a device that is made for other purposes too.
The thing I miss most when I’m not reading a print book is being able to flip back and forth all over the place. It’s a real pain with ebooks, and only possible if you’ve made seven thousand highlights or can be bothered doing a search.
Plus, paper books are just prettier. :) What’s the point in nice covers if you never even see them?
Such a good point about being able to flip back and forth. I really miss this feature when reading an ebook!
Reading articles over time about ebooks versus paper, ranging from scientific studies to purely personal perspectives, the conclusion I drew is both are here to stay. Duh. For ebooks, the convenience, storage and instant-gratification factors tend to crop up the most, while for paper books it tends to be about better memory retention, less potential for impact on sleep, fewer interruptions from device multitasking, and tactile experience. And finally–finally!–some cultural studies are being conducted. The pros and cons go on and on, though, except for environmental impact where most conclude the saving of trees has been negated by mineral mining.
Following are links to two articles, one from Scientific American and one from the Huffington Post which refers to nine different studies that have been conducted. My hands-down favorite headline, though, was from the Guardian newspaper:
“”Paper vs digital reading is an exhausted debate.””
From Scientific American:
“”The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens.””
“”E-readers and tablets are becoming more popular as such technologies improve, but research suggests that reading on paper still boasts unique advantages””
From Huffington Post:
“”Sorry, Ebooks. These 9 Studies Show Why Print Is Better””
A few years ago I thought I would NEVER read an ebook then came Fifty Shades of Grey and my ebook purchases now outnumber my paperbacks. One thing about ebooks I love is the price. Sometimes ebooks on my wishlist go down 100% in price!!! Great for someone who has book budgets.
I agree with all the points and comments made by Dabney et al above. Ereaders are a life (and marriage) saver to those of us who read several books a week and they are especially great when we travel, or want to swap from book to book depending on mood. Like many of you I also love the “”feel”” of a book so I collect everything from mm paperbacks to hard cover copies of books by favourite authors. E.g. I have several copies of Pride and Prejudice, one a facsimile of an early edition, one a beautiful annotated edition- unfortunately no first edition! I believe I could be described as a book/reading tragic because lately I have even been downloading audiobooks of favourite stories/ authors to listen to while I do other things. I too believe that publishers are pricing ebooks high ( anything over $10 is overpriced IMO) to prop up the print industry. I resent the exorbitant prices of some ebooks and wish those publishers would cease ripping us off and adjust to the new reality that ebooks are here to stay but that we readers still want paper copies if prices are affordable. I cannot be the only avid reader who has ebook, paper book and audiobook of some favourite stories.There are authors whose work I like who only release books as ebooks e.g. Kendra Elliot, Grace Draven and others whose books are available both as ebooks and paper e.g. Mary Balogh, Jayne Ann Krentz, Nora Roberts, Patricia Briggs, Julie James. Some authors I like self publish and others are traditionally published as well as self-published e.g. Ilona Andrews and Janice Kay Johnson. It appears to me that if an author wants to try something different from the type of book their publisher has contracted them for, releasing the book as an ebook (with print on demand as a possibility) is now a viable option to reach an audience. My hope is that the advent of ebooks and print on demand means all authors gain more power in the publishing equation. After all, it is the stories they tell that underpins the whole structure.
I read both ebooks and paper, but I’m at heart still a paper reader. As others have pointed out, there is a very pleasurable tactile experience reading paper that electronics cannot compete with. I love having a book in my hands while I read. I love looking at books on shelves. Electronics have just never been able to come close to that experience for me.
Also, as a reader I tend to mark up my texts with marginal notes and I have never found a good substitute in e-reading, including the digital text apps now. I teach and so I hear from students frequently that paper books are better for “”active reading”” approaches”” that include underlining passages, marginal notes, bookmarking. Also, very importantly, studies are showing that readers retain information better when it is on a page rather than in electronic form. I don’t really understand the science behind those theories, but I have found it to be accurate for me.
I worry too about the impact electronics have on our eyes and brains. I prefer not to read digitally before I sleep, which tends to be the time that I most want to read.
I do like the compact nature of a digital book and that I can take it with me everywhere. But paper books have always transported well for me and continue to do so. I also hate having to charge my Kindle because I tend to forget and then am frustrated when I have an unexpected low battery life. Yes, the convenience of getting an ebook immediately is a plus, but I tend to be critical of a society that wants everything on demand. When I order a book it arrives in days, which is fast enough when you really think about it. I fortunately still live in a city that has phenomenal book stores and there’s nothing like going to a bookstore to find that book right away when you want it.
I too started with ebooks in 1999. My first ereader was a Rocket Ebook, a truly wonderful device. However, I was so disappointed in how few books were available for it, and the big publishers were doing exactly the same thing then they are now – protecting paper by overpricing ebooks.
That experience made me wary about another ereader, but when Amazon committed to the Kindle, I purchased one in 2008 and haven’t purchased a paper book since. I still read paper because I get anything overpriced by the big pubs from the library. I also have 2 bookcases full of old favorites I reread every so often. My paper experiences have been less than satisfactory lately, though. I have 2 library books sitting here right now, both hardcovers, and the type is smaller than I like in both.
I do think the industry vastly undercounts ebook sales because they cannot account for most indie sales, and so long as they continue to price new ebook releases in the $9.99-$14.99 range, the big pubs are going to continue to lose readers to the library, to subscription and private lending methods, and to indies.
I didn’t get a Rocket, but I got an eBookWise, which was a re-branded version of one of the Rocket readers. I remember going into stores and asking if they had ereaders. The guy in the CompUSA looked at me with confusion. No one had heard of such a thing. So I ended up getting a Palm first before getting the eBookWise.
When I look at my mass market paperbacks, I can’t figure out how I was able to read those darn things. Most have such tiny print, even if the book isn’t all that long. Or (ahem) my eyes could be getting worse. ;)
I had a fascinating phone call about this very issue at work today. I work in health care and get a lot of calls related to that but this morning I got a call from an older gentleman asking if I knew of anything that might be available for his wife. She lives in a nursing call and is having a very difficult time keeping a book open.
Well it was a call made for me as I asked he had ever considered some kind of ereader for her. I said you don’t have to flip pages. The font can be enlarged if she had a hard time reading print. The more I told him the benefits of an ereader, the more excited we both became. I said you can get ebooks from the library without actually having to try and ger there, that many of the classics came free when you bought an ereader. He was very grateful for the suggestion and I know he’s going to look into them more for his wife.
I think there is a place for both. Admittedly, most of my reading these days is done on my tablet using a kindle app. But there are some places where I would rather have a physical book, for example at the beach or at the pool. I would not want my tablet to get sand encrusted, wet, or stolen while I was taking a dip in the water.
I do think they are different experiences. When I read a paperback, I love that I do not have to worry about how much juice is left in my device’s battery. When I read using my tablet, I love that I can increase the point size of the type, that I have hundreds of books in my device, and that highlighting a word or phrase brings up the definition, wikipedia entry, and translation. I have not noticed a difference in my concentration on the actual story I am reading. There may be a effect on my eyesight as staring at a screen is harder on the eyes. Writers can do many creative things to enhance the reader experience in both mediums, different types of paper, different effects like cutouts and pop outs in a physical book, adding video clips and widgets to an e-book.
And sometimes the paper copy is just so … cute. I’ve tried to read A Little Princess for years but couldn’t until I saw the Puffin in Bloom edition with artwork by the Rifle Paper Company. The Amazon entry links to the wrong image, but you can see it at the Rifle Paper Company:
I can also be tempted by a really well-designed book, such as the ones published by companies that put out limited signed and numbered editions (for example, the ones at Cemetery Dance (https://www.cemeterydance.com/)). However, those can be way over my budget.
I am with Mary Skelton and Caz. My eyes are so happy with me now I can not even properly express it. And it has saved my marriage due to the space savings, and my professional reputation at work, lunch time reading is no where near as fraught these days.
“”A Snapshot of Reading in America in 2013″”
“”As of January 2014, some 76% of American adults ages 18 and older said that they read at least one book in the past year. Almost seven in ten adults (69%) read a book in print in the past 12 months, while 28% read an e-book, and 14% listened to an audiobook.”” (From the Pew Research Center)
Love, Love, Love my Kindle Voyage! I wouldn’t even think of buying a “”real book””. I do use the library a lot, with the inter library loan, almost everything is available to me. Unfortunately, my library’s ebook selection is not so good, I have even stopped trying to find ebooks to borrow. It’s very rare a day goes by that I don’t buy a book. That doesn’t mean I read them all…..
Anne, I was like Caz. My Sister and husband wanted to buy me a Kindle when they first came out. I squashed that idea like the proverbial bug, because I could not imagine a life where aa “”electronic thing”” would be better than a book…boy was I WRONG. I finally broke down, bought a Kindle and it’s been a match made in heaven, for all the reasons you cited.
However, as much as I LOVE MY KINDLE, certain books I have to be able hold in my hot little hands. I have actually started reading some authors on the Kindle and went out and bought the “”real”” book ( I’m talking about YOU Courtney Milan, Deanna Raybourn, Tasha Alexander and C.S. Harris). Right now I am debating whether to go ahead an purchase all the Captain Lacey books in trade size, even thought they’re all on my Kindle. I love, love, love trade sized books. Don’t know why…just do.
Part of the wonder of owning books is just to be able to look at them on the shelves and re-arrange them to fit when I need to add more to the massive amount I already own. And I guess I’m old enough that I still think of a paper book as “”real””. Yeah, I know eBooks are real, my account gets charged in real money each time I use that wonderful 1-Click at Amazon :-).
I’m just grateful I live in the time when I can have the best (or worst) of both worlds. Who would have thunk it back in the late 60’s, when I first started reading seriously, that one day I wouldn’t have to leave my house to get a book? That it would be delivered TO MY HOUSE in just 2 days!! or delivered to my Kindle in nanoseconds??
Yeah, books have to be shelved, and dusted and stored, and a Kindle has to be handled with a little bit of care. But in the end a book is a wonderful thing, paper or electronic and I’m just fool enough to be glad I’ve got ’em both.