eReader? No Thanks (but check with me later)


I was meeting a friend at Barnes & Nobel and wandering the aisles as I waited for her. She came up behind me as I started playing with the Nook running my fingers across its tempting screen. “No, you can’t have one,” she teased.

“That’s ok,” I responded, “I don’t really want one.”

As glossy and fun as it seems, no, I just can’t get on board with the eReader.


Oh, I can see that for certain people and in certain circumstances, it definitely has its advantages over an actual book. For anyone who travels extensively, I would imagine it would be quite handy. There’s far too much waiting in airports and hotels to be without fresh reading material, and who wants to lug around magazines and paperbacks (or hard covers!) when space in luggage is a premium these days.

I also imagine it would be handy for avid readers who gravitate to fast and easy fiction for simple escape and pleasure. (That is, those who have more disposable income and don’t make use of the library!)

And I also see the eReader a very useful tool for someone who subscribes to lots of journals and magazines to read up on the latest trends and stay current in certain industries.

For the minimalist who still likes books, there’s a seduction in knowing you can keep all of your favorites without cluttering a bookshelf.

Finally, I would guess that eReaders are the preferred means of reading by younger folks who are simply used to seeing their world through some typed of screen because it’s what they have always known.

I don’t fit any of those categories, so those advantages are lost on me.

But mostly, I’m used to a book.

Yep, there it is—the whole ‘I like the feel of a book in my hands’ argument against eReaders. When it’s the go-to defense, well, there must be something to it.  Liking the feel of a book is about more than just an “I’m old and don’t need no new-fangled contraption” way of thinking. And it’s even more the tactile pleasure of holding a book. There’s the practical nature of it—a book has pages, real pages.

I was an English major in college and then a teacher, so I’m not used to simply reading a book beginning to end once and that’s that. For me, there’s reading along with jotting notes and thoughts in the margins. There’s highlighting and dog-earing pages to go back to. There are sudden thoughts or insights that make you flip back to earlier passages and then flip back again. (I find this especially true of the non-fiction genre I am mostly reading these days.)

When I read, I am reading to learn, and I am active in my reading to do that. eReaders have not found a way yet to make the virtual page trump the real thing in that department—although I’m sure they’ll come up with one soon enough. And yes, then I’ll re-visit.

Yes, okay, there is a hint of “I’m old and don’t need no new-fangled contraption” in my thought process. It’s hard for people to change the way they do things, especially when it’s something as fundamental as reading. New ways of doing things takes time to get used to.

I’ve loved word processing programs since my first Brother word processor that preceded the personal computer. It was a Godsend for typing and especially for revising. But as a writer, for the longest time, I still needed to take pen to paper to create my first thoughts. I could not compose on computer. I remember when I was a teacher and the very first laptop I had was one issued to me by the school. I was responsible for taking minutes at our team meetings, and for the longest time, I refused to use my laptop. I took notes on a pad and then went and typed them after the meeting. It took me years to get comfortable with composing first thoughts with a keyboard. And now? I don’t know what took me so long.

So maybe the eReader will just take time. I imagine I’ll get tempted at some point. I balk now, but I also won’t be surprised if it eventually find its way into my heart and has me wondering why there was a time that I felt I needed actual pages.

But for now, give me my paperback.


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Categories : journeys in life


  1. Lisa Kelly says:

    I am with you. I haven’t yet embraced the e-reader. But I do love my smart phone and am angling for an iPad (which will serve as an e-reader) so I may be won over.

    However I still like the free library system for book club books that you may not find are “keepers” once you read them.

    And I don’t think my InStyle, Oprah or September issue of Vogue would ever quite be the same without the heft of the volume or smell of the ink.


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