To Read or to e-Read, That is the Question

To Read or to e-Read, That is the Question

As you have probably guessed, I read a lot. As you might not know, I read pretty quickly. I can plow through a large number of books in a fairly short amount of time.

As you ALSO might not know, I used to fly across the country for work on a regular basis. That, combined with my propensity for cruising through books rapidly, lead to some problems. Problems like:

*Holy moly, my carry-on weighs about 3472936423 pounds. Because of books.

*I keep having to get into my carry-on, which is stashed under the seat in front of me, causing my seatmate to give me stinkeye. Because I need a new book.

*When I head home, I will end up shelling out an obscene amount of money at the airport bookstore, because I will have FINISHED all of my books, thus rendering my already ridiculously heavy carry-on uncarryable without dislocating a shoulder, and possibly ripping the straps clean off the bag. Because who can travel without books?

I did the book thing several times before someone clued me in to the fact that I could use an e-reader and solve my problems with one slender, easy to use, not very heavy device.

Modern technology. Isn't it grand?

Well ... yes. And also, no.

The Grand Bit

My device (I chose the Kindle) was incredibly user friendly. Amazon has it on LOCK, y'all. One Touch book buying? I am here for that. Getting my hands on a new book has never before been so instantaneous. Additionally, many classics were (and are) free to download, so I loaded up with Jane Austen and Dickens and a bunch of other books that fill me with glee.

My e-reader was light, the charge lasted a long time, and I could store a ton of books on it. Moreover, it fit in both my purse and the seatback pocket on planes. Travel made simple!

I quickly discovered that another beauty of the e-reader is that people can't see what you're reading, so if you wanted to read a very trashy, questionable novel called, um, 75 Minus 25 Colors That Are a Blend of Black and White at the beach, no one would know! You'd be totally incognito!

The Not-So-Grand-Bit

I really love the physicality of a book. There's something about having the weight of a novel in my hands that I find satisfying. As I've mentioned before, I am a Book Person. I have a need to be able to run my fingers down the spines of books housed neatly in cases; I want to open them and breathe in the smell of adventure and paper.

I also like to read in the tub. Reading in the tub is a questionable activity for the health of a paper book, but it's VERY dangerous for an e-reader. E-readers really, really hate water.I'm just going to leave it at that.

When I was discussing the benefits to an e-Reader, I mentioned that Amazon has their service down to a science. While that is a benefit to the Kindle owner (and I will fully admit that I sometimes have patience issues and need a book RIGHT NOW THANK YOU VERY MUCH), it is not a benefit to independent bookstores. While I love Amazon -- and oh, I do love it -- I also enjoy brick-and-mortar stores and especially treasure independently owned shops when I can find them. While getting Jane Austen books for free on my Kindle was awesome, buying those books from a physical bookstore helps them to stay open, and I want us to keep as many of them open as we can.

So What's the Answer?

For me, the answer is that e-books are for travel situations. I cannot be hauling books through the airport anymore. My shoulders can't take it, for one thing, and I keep getting charged for having super heavy bags. In that case, it's all e-reader all the time. It's also perfect for the beach or camping, when you want to have a book but you don't want to lug books about.

Other than that? I'm going to continue to buy books, fill shelves, and watch my house become a cozy library space because doing so makes me happy.

What's the answer for you? It's totally your call. Just keep reading -- that's the important thing!