It’s no secret I’m a big fan of ebooks, digital publishing, and electronic paper (E Ink) technology. My friend Nathan makes it no secret that he’s not a fan of these things (at least not as a direct alternative to real, paper books). It took me a little while, but I’ve come to understand and respect his appreciation for the heft of the book, the feel of the paper, and the turn of the page (not the smell though; sorry Nathan). But I still think that for me at least, the benefits (and overall gadgety coolness) of ereaders outweigh for whatever experience enhancers come along with physical books (although I still see how ereader price can be a valid roadblock,and this isn’t to mention DRM which deserves and angry post all of its own).
And now I’ve actually bought an electronic paper device (a Sony PRS-505 to be exact) and I’m excited about continuing my love for science fiction as well as really starting to dig in to the classics. It took me a long time to decide what device was right for me (as well as to find a deal that would allow me to lower the high purchase prices). I did most of my researching, pining, and venting at a wonderful community site called MobileRead.
And it was at MobileReads that I encountered a few people with a much higher tolerance for reading from a computer screen for hours than I have. I once read an entire novel on my cell phone, and I’ve been known to spend a little down time at work catching up on an ebook already in progress on my computer monitor. But I’ve always wished I could be reading from a book or epaper device at these times. There are people out there who haven’t picked up a paper book in years AND think the idea of epaper is ridiculous. They read books on their laptops or their iPhones or their netbooks for hours at a time, and never desire something a little less buzzing, visually nosy, or easier on the eyes. I don’t mean to mock them here, for as long as they’re happy with the medium and enjoying the story, they’re doing something better than the legions of people in today’s world who simply have no desire to read. But the next time I feel a little like I’ve abandoned the purity of literature by shunning the simple pleasure of turning some pages, I’ll remember these digital warriors who are even less picky about how their words are delivered to their eyes than I am.