I know people who adore their e-Readers. They swear by them. They tell me the new technology is “just like looking at a page” so there is no eyestrain. They brag about the fact that they only have to wait til they get to wi-fi for a new book, that they can carry their whole libraries with them all of the time, that the books are less expensive. They assure me that the battery life is inexhaustible. “I barely ever need to charge it.”
As an author, I will happily create a slew of e-books. I love that people love them, that they make it easier for more people to read more often. Yay. Go e-Readers!
But I don’t want one.
I jokingly quote Giles in “I, Robot… You, Jane” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 1, episode 8)
Jenny Calendar: Honestly, what is it about [computers] that bothers you so much?
Giles: The smell.
Jenny Calendar: Computers don’t smell, Rupert.
Giles: I know. Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a – it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It’s-it’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly.
I really do like the way books smell. I do think the script writer giving Giles his words has a point.
I love the weight of a book. I love the feeling of various weights of pages in my fingers, I like the covers. I like the experience of opening a brand-new book. I find them magical, delightful and relaxing. E-books lack all of the tangible things that I enjoy about reading.
But I’m a modern girl, I could get used to that. Honestly, I probably will cave and get one eventually. But let me tell you what the event horizon will be: when everyone else has them, and they are compatible with one another.
Here’s why: I love to SHARE books. I like to swap them. I like to discover new authors by being handed a wrinkled paperback.
If I own the book on Kindle, and you have a Nook, I can’t loan you my copy of … anything. If you own no e-reader and all of my books are on mine, how can I loan you a book? I can’t very well hand you the only device that accesses my entire library and let you have it for as long as it takes you to read that book. I don’t trust anyone that much, and backups on my laptop are not enough.
If publishers were smart, they would make the little excerpt teasers that they allow for free from Amazon to be sharable among Kindles and between Kindles and Nooks. There’s still a lot to be learned and discovered about e-books and e-publishing. People like me will be the final hurdle.
Also, as much as I read, that sucker would run out of batteries right at the good part. I just know it.