Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bless Me, Readers, For I Have Sold Out

I have a confession to make.

I've been avoiding this for months, but my guilt is reaching the saturation point, and I have to just come clean and and hope you'll all still respect me in the morning (and yes, I know I'm mixing metaphors, but I'm in extremis, and I think there is a link, albeit a murky shame-y needing absolution-y sort of link, between one-night stands and confession):

I got an e-reader.

Well, sort of.

Ok, let me take a step back, here, and explain.

I didn't actually intend to get an e-reader. I actually intended to get - and did get - a tablet, because I've been whining about how everyone else has one and I want one and it's not fair how come all those kids get to have iPads and all I have is this crummy laptop, and so on, for years, until finally my partner pointed out that Verizon was having some kind of super special where you could get a free tablet if you upgraded your phone.

One upgraded phone later, and I was the owner of a shiny new Verizon Ellipsis 7-inch tablet. "Small but mighty," I thought, and happily started using it for absolutely everything. I unfortunately soon realized why the Ellipsis was free; I'll spare you the boring rant and just say that you certainly get what you pay for, and I paid nothing.

To make a long story short, I found that the Ellipsis works best when it's on airplane mode and not connected to any network whatsoever, and the only things to do when it's in airplane mode are play games and read books.

So, I downloaded the OverDrive Media Console and hooked it up to my library account, and the rest, as they say, is history.

By now, I know many of you are raising your eyebrows, wondering what on earth the problem with all of this is. I know; lots of people use e-readers, all the time. I now have to confess that up until this past January, when I bought my partner a Kobo for her birthday, that I thought of all of these people as techno-sellouts. Oh, I never said anything like that out loud; I kept my snobby old-fashioned views to myself; but in my heart of hearts I was proud to still be reading only physical books. Real books, I thought, for a real reader, one who supports independent stores and independent authors and, just, everything independent. A reader who values the smell and the feel of the pages, the pleasure of flipping back and forth through the book at leisure, the satisfaction of holding an old friend in your hands year after year for your annual reread. I would never give in, I told myself, and I even believed it.

In other words, I was being pretentious and rather illogical, and I realized my own fallacy the minute I started downloading books.

It's just so easy. It's instant gratification. All I have to do is think, "Gee, I'd like to read Americanah today," and within minutes I have it right in front of me, without ever having to get dressed. It's every writer's dream: get everything you want without needing to speak to another soul or even leave the house. As a result, I've read a ton of books, far more than usual, and I'm loving every second of it.

I do miss having an actual book to hold, though. I miss seeing how far along I am, and flipping easily back to reread a passage (something that's just annoying on my e-reader); I miss seeing the spines of new and old books lined up on my shelves; I miss being able to pass a new favorite off to a friend without having to figure out how to hack a computer.

However, I went on vacation last week (it was marvelous) and I didn't have to go through my usual agony of deciding which books to pack: I just slipped my trusty Ellipsis into my purse, confident that I could decide later, at any time, and that the whole electronic world was at my fingertips.

I surrender, everybody. I see why you've all been converted. You were right, all along.

I'll still miss my books, though.


59 comments:

  1. Welcome to the world of eReaders! Sorry, I am a total sellout to eBooks - it's all I purchase now. But in doing that, I am still supporting authors. Even more, since most authors make more on eBooks than they do print books.

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    1. Yeah, I know you're right! I still feel badly about the indie stores, though. I'm promising myself to still buy physical books from them :)

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  2. It's ok, we forgive you! It took me FOREVER to finally take the plunge and get a Kindle. I was always very passionate about having a physical book in my hand. But honestly, e-books are cheaper, and I have no room in my tiny apartment for any more books at this point. And you're right--if you want a book, you order it, and then it's already there for you to read! It's just more convenient.

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    1. Haha, thanks!! I know, all of those reasons are totally true. Sigh. I miss the book in hand, but the other stuff outweighs it!

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  3. The good thing is that e-readers aren't exclusive. You can still read 'real' books, even though you also read ebooks. I always ask people, do you like books, or do you like reading. Because if it's reading, then ebooks just give you a different way to do that. You get to choose the way that works for you at that particular situation. I have a lot of physical books at home, but when I'm traveling, it is so much easier to take my Kindle. Plus I don't have to argue with hubby about how many suitcases of books I can bring.

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    1. LOL, yup, I didn't have to argue to make room in the bags this time, either! It WAS wonderful to just pack that lightweight little tablet, and not worry at all about choosing books. You're right; I love reading, and the 'how' of that isn't as important.

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  4. Oh, your shameful person. LOL. I love my Kindle and like reading it on it. I also still read many plant-based books. I get some from the library and purchase about one a month from a favorite author. Otherwise I purchase all my books on my Kindle and a few videos. So much fun to have when traveling.

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    1. Haha, I know!! I like your method - I think I'll buy a 'real' book once a month, too.

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  5. LOL. Well, I'll serenade you with Reel Big Fish then. If you ever have kids, you'll find yourself drifting back to "real" books targeted at their age group. Young kids these days are far too adept at navigating tablets and you quickly lose your place when reading electronically. But eBooks have also been a blessing in the kid department. It's easy to set down and pick up a big book when it auto saves your spot and you only have a couple of seconds at a time to snag some reading time.

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    1. Yes! It's my new theme song, LOL. I love the running french fries :)

      Good point! I do want kids, and I am planning on having a giant library of kids' books in physical form, so that'll be nice. And yes, I can imagine that when I only have time for a page at a time, the ebooks will be a lot easier!

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  6. Tee hee! When I got my husband a Kobo, it made me sad because he who has every Stephen King ever written, no longer wanted the print books. Whhhhaaaattt? And he calls himself a fan. What also made me sad is that the only gift you could ever get this guy was books, and with Kobo, it ain't easy. (as a side note, I made him give me his log-in credentials, but the Kobo app on my iPad, and now can buy books on his account and they show up in his Kobo library. A nice surprise, but it doesn't touch browsing and buying a print copy from Book People in Austin.) I digress. For me, I mostly read ARCs and review books on my iPad and still get print for everything else. Nothing beats a favorite book on my dusty bookshelf

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    1. OMG, yes! It makes gift buying so much harder!! I always used to buy books for people; it was my go-to gift. I'd write a little note in the inside cover and wrap it up nicely. You can't do that with ebooks! I might have to keep buying the print books, in the hope that people will still enjoy having them.

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  7. I have an iPad 3 and don't use half the stuff on it. But, I do have the Kindle app on it...and a buttload of ebooks. It's so easy to buy books, and so my "to read" list is growing enormously out of control. But like you say, when I go somewhere, I don't have to worry which books to bring. I take them ALL. :)

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    1. Haha, yes! I have waaaay to many books waiting for me. But that's much better than finishing a wonderful book, and having nothing to read next :)

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  8. I also prefer "real" books, but the e-reader is handy for travel, for sitting in waiting rooms, etc. I read the fluff on my e-reader and savor the books that are more important to me in physical form. I love the smell when I riffle the pages with my thumb and could never give that up.

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    1. Oh that smell - I love that smell. The older the book, the better. I like the idea of saving important books for the ones we still buy in physical form.

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  9. I don't have an e-reader but I hope to one day because I only have a Kindle app on my PC. Yes, a PC. I don't even have a laptop! I'm really grateful to Amazon and Kindle and all e-readers because I've only published eBooks so far and I wouldn't be an author without them. :)

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    1. Wow, you still have a desktop? Man, that's impressive. I highly recommend getting an actual, portable reader :)

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  10. Ha! So I'm not the only one! I felt the exact same way and "I'll never have an ereader because I love the feel and smell of actual books" and when my husband bought my Kindle what do you think happened? Chile, I was reading books like it was going out of style. I love that thing! I still love actual books but now, when I want to read something instantly (why anyone needs to read something instantly, I couldn't tell you), I just buy the book on my Kindle. I hardly ever buy physical books now.

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    1. Nope, you're definitely not the only one! I guess we can comfort ourselves that even if we crossed over to the dark side, at least we're reading MORE now, which can only be good.

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  11. This was such an amusing post. I think both have their purposes. After awhile the reader may become more comfortable - when you start highlighting passages, bookmarking pages, and that silly little "you have 10 minute more until the end of the chapter" - or something like that. Dang, the thing is timing me. LOL

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    1. LOL, I know! All of those bells and whistles are great, and often silly :)

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  12. I KNOW! I've got 50+ books loaded on there right now, just waiting for me. I read SO much more since I got my kindle. It's dangerous. =) I do still read about 30% of my books in paper though. I'm with you, there's something about the feel of it in your hands...but the convenience, oh the convenience!

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  13. I love my kindle. To an irrational point. It's the best thing ever, and honestly, I've gotten to the point where I find I like it better than paper, just because when I drop it on my face while reading late at night (the number of times I've done this is a little embarrassing) it doesn't hurt as much! And I read a LOT more. So glad you've crossed over to the dark side :)

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    1. Ok, that's a hilarious image. I hope you have a padded case for your Kindle, at least for your face's sake! ;)

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  14. I'm still a snot-lol, snot, snot snot-lol OK bad me. I can see why it is useful especially when travelling and it is not heavy especially if you try to bring 3 books. I am not a convert yet and still love my beautiful books. My friend calls me retro gal:) Don't feel bad as I am still a hold out-hahahaaaaa. and good for you! If you enjoy it then great!

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    1. LOL! I love how you crack yourself up. It cracks ME up! good for you for being a hold out. I admire that!!

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  15. Heh. I've avoided getting an e-reader for most all the same reasons you have. There's nothing that quite compares to holding a book in your hands, and I'd rather read pages than a screen. But I'll probably end up getting one someday, if I start traveling more.

    ...and I'll plan carefully so I'm not lugging a 1000-page hardback on a trip. :P

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    1. It really IS worth it for traveling - especially if you want to read a massively love fantasy series!!

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  16. Like yourself, I too, once believed in the magic and touch of a real book vs. an e-book. I actually still do thanks to the shelves I have at home overflowing with books.
    However, the dear bought me a Kindle for Christmas and I have been loving it ever since! I didn't ask for one but he knew how much I loved reading and overheard me complaining about how I sometimes would rather download e-books, especially from self-published authors I've come across.
    E-readers are super convenient, especially when we are traveling. I was able to throw my Kindle into my carry on when we went to Cozumel and choose from a boatload of books. Less weight and more worlds to get lost in=)

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    1. What a good guy! It sounds like it was the perfect gift - especially when traveling. It was such a pleasure to pack one little thing and still be able to read whatever I wanted!

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  17. I am not yet a sell-out. My Nook was gift, I didn't buy it myself. Lol! (I know, technicalites!) It is super nice to just boom! Be able to buy and read. I still read the majority of my books as physical ones, but the percentage rate of my ereading has been creeping up lately. And you can't beat them for when you're traveling or say, sneaking in some reading at work...

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    1. LOL! Total technicality, but that's ok - I like it :) You really can't beat them; and I never thought about using them for sneaky reading!! Smart!

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  18. Haha...I love my print copies but use a Kindle Fire, a Kindle, another Kindle app on my smartphone and bought an ipad for iBooks now!

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    1. Whoa! You have e-readers galore! That's great :)

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  19. Welcome to the dark side. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

    Kidding. I held out for a long time, too. Now I wish I wouldn't have waited so long. I love my Kindle Fire. ;)

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    1. Ha! It does feel like that. Oh well. It's good to be evil ;)

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  20. LOL That is too funny! I won a mini-iPad at a raffle a couple years back and thought I'd read so many more books because of it. Come to find out that I would only read halfway through, if even that. For some reason, my patience was shorter. Considering I could easily download another book and another if I didn't get enraptured by the story quickly enough. I put down my e-reader and started going back to the library. Sure enough, I'm actually reading more. Yes. More. Because…because I LOVE holding books. I love turning the pages, and I have so much more patience for whatever the reason, when I'm holding a physical book. :) So try yours out, and mix it up here and there. No shame in it. ;)

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    1. Huh! Wow. I'm glad to hear that, actually. And I just started reading a physical book today, and I'm enjoying it - so I think I'll just do the hybrid approach!

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  21. I won a Nook at a writer's conference last fall and really enjoy it. I split my time btwn paperbacks and ebooks. Though I do like the notes feature on the ereader.

    Glad you had a good time on vacation!

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    1. Thanks!! It was lovely :)

      OO, lucky you! That's a good win. No doubt works a little better than my Ellipsis... ;)

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  22. Welcome to the Dark Side. Yes, we have cookies, and so much more. I like to read on my ancient '09 Kindle and my newer iPad, but my family still buys me books made of paper & glue for Christmas each year -- and those are my favorites.

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    1. That's really comforting, actually, because I love getting (and giving) books as gifts!!

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  23. Even though I have eReaders, I love print books!

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  24. I felt like a sell-out when I first got my Kindle, but it turns out that I really like it. And much more than I thought I would.

    It doesn't stop me from buying and reading physical books, though. Just expands my reading capabilities.

    Happy reading!

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    1. That's a good way to look at it - expanding reading, not contracting it. I like it :)

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  25. I love the good feeling of real books in my hands too but using my tablet when I'm on the road is so much mkre convenient. Don't berate yourself. Technology isn't so bad after all.

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    1. Nope, it's not, is it? Funny thing, that... ;)

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  26. My husband bought my Kindle--back in 2012. I've been hooked ever since. I didn't think I'd like it because I liked being able to pick up a stack of books from the library. But I've started reading on my treadmill and it's SO much easier with a Kindle. You can enlarge the font and turning pages is much easier. Overdrive is awesome! I try to support authors by paying for their books but when I have to read a bunch of books to get my voice down (as I am right now) it can get really expensive to pay $5 for a children's book that takes me an hour to read!

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    1. Yes, good point!! I haven't gotten on the treadmill - I run outside til I can't anymore, sometime around December- but I bet I'll actually be able to read some now when I do. And yes, I try to split my reading between library books and purchases, so that I can support libraries AND writers (and save my wallet!!)

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  27. I encountered my first ereader in 2010 and there was no turning back. I've been an ebook addict since then. I only read a few print books.

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    1. I have a feeling I'm heading in that direction...

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  28. Like so many others, I swore I'd never get a Kindle but once I did I've never looked back. I still love books but I think I do at least 90% of my reading on my Kindle.
    Have to say your title cracked me up and brought me right back to confession in grade school. Yes, I'm one of those who continue to struggle with Catholic guilt LOL.

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    1. Heh. That's OK; I still struggle with Jewish guilt :)

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  29. Well, I'm still a die-hard physical book person. For now. But for now I still love the feel of a book and flipping the pages, and just have never been interested in an e-reader.

    BTW - thank you for commenting on my interview with Teresa Cypher. I would like to offer you a free e-copy of Ghosts of Innocence. Could you please drop me a note (so I can send you the download details) at: admin (at) iansbott (dot) com.

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    1. I'm so sorry I missed this! Thank you! I'll email you shortly :)

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