Oops, I’m an Ebook Convert

We call it the office, but really, it's the book room.

I’m a bookworm. I’ve been that way since my mom and dad started reading to me. I’ve always loved the smell of a new book. Hell, I even enjoyed the musty scent of the boxes of books I brought home from library sales.

Loved. Enjoyed. Past tense. These days, the negatives of print have overtaken the positives.

kindles vs books, ebooks vs paper

MAGIC.

It started innocently enough. My husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas in 2009. He was in Iraq and had it shipped to me. I never asked for one, but he thought I’d love it since I loved books. I was excited, but doubted it could ever compete in my heart with real books.

I had a baby in 2010 and the best invention, ever, while breastfeeding or rocking a child to sleep is a book you can hold in one hand (or perch next to you on the bed), while flipping pages with a press of the thumb.

I was hooked, but I still loved print and have 800 books weighing down every shelf in my house to prove it.

It snuck up on me, my conversion.  I was eating lunch and trying to catch up on some reading. I got annoyed at my paperback… for lacking Kindle features. Poor book. It couldn’t help that it was designed to close every time I lifted my hand. Or that a splash of soup could ruin its pages.

It wasn’t to blame for not containing a dictionary or having access to the internet when I wanted to learn more about something I’d read.

I could have written notes in the spaces (sacrilege!) or gotten up to find a marker to highlight interesting passages, but what would have been the point? I would’ve closed the book, put it on the shelf, and forgotten all of it until the next time I picked it up.

Ebooks vs. Print ≠ Burgers vs. Steak

books vs ebooks, ebooks better than paperback

I gotz PRESTIGE. Nothing says it better than a wall unit full of heavy stuff you can’t move without the help of friends.

Today I read a post that compared the ebook vs. print debate to burgers vs. steak. In the author’s analogy, ebooks were the cheap fast-food option and print the high-end choice.

The way he compares ebooks to burgers:
“Expectations are smaller, price points are lower, we need something that satisfies but are not looking for transcendent experiences…Convenience matters more than quality.”

Well, yeah, convenience matters, but words ain’t calories. I’m not going to just grab a book because it’s convenient, because I’ll get light-headed if I don’t read.

The way he compares print books to steaks:
“More expensive, often considered a prestige item at many vendors, and with a so-called-best expression found at decades-old establishments dedicated to it? Call that a ‘steak’… You go to the bookstore: you get recommendations, some guidance, some free samples…they have a comprehensive ‘menu’ and even a comfy seat. This costs more at the steakhouse; it costs more at the bookstore.”

I’ve seen a lot of posts like these, where book-lovers compare ebooks and print.  People say print won’t go out of fashion, that readers love having a “real” book in their hands, etc. They, like this guy, argue that print books should be priced higher and that the books in bookstores represent a higher quality of literature. I agreed with some of that. Until now.

People read books for their content and for the stories they tell.

Print and digital are simply two different delivery formats for something people want.

We call it the office, but really, it's the book room.

We call it the office, but really, it’s the book room.

If you want to use a burger vs. steak analogy, it would make more sense to compare Amazon to Barnes & Noble. But the analogy still breaks down, because Amazon stocks everything that Barnes & Noble does (and more.)

I go to a steakhouse when I want to celebrate a special occasion and enjoy a steak. I drive a half hour to my nearest bookstore when I feel like drinking a mocha and browsing shelves. Sometimes I like to look at books while I drink my coffee.

Purchasing a print book is starting to become a special event, because my shelves are stuffed full and they can’t compete with the convenience of my Kindle. I appreciate the bookstore atmosphere, but I usually end up leaving with a puzzle or some tracing workbooks for my daughter.

When I want to learn more about a non-fiction topic, or when I just want to read a good story, I download an ebook and carry my Kindle around with me, so I can read when I have time.

When I choose ebooks…

It’s not about price (though I love being able to afford more books.)

It has nothing to do with quality. I expect a high level of quality from my stories and non-fiction, regardless of method of delivery. I sample print books in bookstores and ebooks on Amazon and only purchase the ones that meet my standards. (Which makes me really appreciate the review feature on Amazon.)

It is about convenience and which method will give me the best reading experience.

Still… I never imagined I’d type these words.

I’m an ebook convert.

 

 

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