When I tried reading a book on my smartphone for the first time, I knew I would face some tough hurdles in getting to like this new (to me, at least) way of reading. As a longtime reader, I had come to enjoy the feel of books, and the feel of turning pages, and could not see how the experience of reading a story on a screen could be as immersive as the ‘real thing.’ I’d tried reading books on computers before, but sitting in a chair and reading words on a monitor was not an appealing experience. I was ready to resist this new, paper-free reading experience… and it took all of five minutes for it to win me over.
Of course, I had to make a few tweaks–I discovered that white letters on a black background was much easier on my eyes than the other way around–but once done, I discovered I liked reading this way a lot. I could read what I wanted, where I wanted, without having to carry a large brick of paper around. They are, for the most part, less expensive than paper books (though some big publishers are trying to keep their ‘traditional’ model alive by switching that around) I could save shelf space, and never have to work out what parts of my collection I’d have to pack into boxes and squirrel away to make room for new stuff–which may not sound exciting to you, but having had to box up and move my collection multiple times through the years, it sounds great to me.
Of course, I’m hardly alone in discovering that e-books can be just as good an experience as the paper kind. Kindle and Nook readers have brought e-books to millions, and the apps (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and more) on wide varieties of smartphones. E-book sales are outstripping paper book sales on Amazon.com. It seems the long-anticipated death of the book as a physical object is finally at hand.
Or is it?
There are plenty of people still out there who love books as they are. Friends and family members who either have not tried e-books, for many of the same reasons I once hesitated, and those who have and found them wanting. And there are those, such as myself, for whom enjoyment of e-books does not mean abandonment of paper books, who will continue purchasing both kinds into the foreseeable future.
The sad, sad example of the death of the Borders bookstore chain is often cited as evidence that e-books have
Edit 1/3/2017: Not sure what happened to the text after this point. But whatever I wrote has vanished, and I don’t have it in me to figure out what I was thinking then. I’m sure it consisted of words.