A couple of things all happened at once:
- I read this article about how much publishers charge libraries for e-books. Let’s just say it’s upsetting.
- I read a paperback for the first time in weeks after all ARCs on my phone, all the time. (It was a Theresa Romain novel and it was DELIGHTFUL.)
- I also read, more slowly, How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell. Because I do, occasionally, read things that are not smut, thank you very much.
- I wanted to revisit a book that I had already read, that I swore that I had purchased an e-copy of, only to discover that it had vanished without a trace from my kindle.
Look, e-books are extremely convenient. I love being able to choose from a selection of books when I find myself waiting at the doctor’s office or when I’m getting an oil change. (As long as I’ve remembered to actually download them…which is not always a given.) Packing my kindle when I’m going on a trip is much easier than packing 8 paperbacks and 2 hardbacks and then reading none of them. When I have midnight insomnia, it’s nice to be able to read without turning on a light. And it’s way easier to annotate e-books—or rather, it’s way easier to actually go back and *find* my annotations if I’m writing a book up. And the bonus feature of easily being able to search how many times the author uses the word “turgid” is always fun.
But there is something about reading a book on paper that really works for me.
I love the physicality of books. I like the way they feel in my hands. I like turning pages and finding a bookmark when I want to set the book down.
I love the focus I can bring to physical books. It’s so much easier to click away and get sucked into something else when I’m reading on a device. With a physical book, I can tune out distractions and immerse myself more fully in the story.
I love being able to share books. This is the biggest thing for me. When I read a book I love, the first thing I do is encourage someone else to read it. And the easiest way for me to do that? Give them my copy of the book. When I read a book that was pretty good but that I didn’t love? I give it away, so someone else can enjoy it. And when I read a book that really wasn’t for me? Well, someone else might like it. Truly, the Little Free Library is a gift that keeps on giving.
And you can’t share ebooks. (I mean, I’m sure there are ways to pirate ebooks, but I don’t encourage them.) As evidenced by the case of the mysterious disappearing books, I don’t even fully have ownership over the ebooks I do have. I can’t lend them or give them away when I’m finished.
Do I read mostly on my kindle these days? Admittedly yes. But paperbacks will always have a place in my heart. And if you want something to read, let me know—I probably have something I can send you.