Thursday, 12 May 2011

Ebook apathy

Today I have decided to write about my distinct lack of enthusiasm for ebooks.
Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous articles in newspapers and on the internet telling us that digital downloads of books have increased substantially. According to The Guardian, ebook sales increased by 20% last year and this is due in part to the growing popularity of Amazon’s Kindle.

 Don't get me wrong-I am most certainly not a Luddite. After all, if I were I wouldn't be blogging. I am a huge fan of digital music and love being able to download individual songs instead of having to buy whole albums. I adore my Android Phone and some of the amazing apps that it has (such as my favourite, Google Sky Map which you can use to identify constellations and planets in the night sky.)

However, when it comes to books, I just can't seem to embrace new technology. I am well aware of the advantages of having an ebook reader-they are lightweight, you can store as many as 3500 books on them and you can adjust the text size (fantastic for people who have sight problems.)
They are also a great way of satisfying society's need for instant gratification as new ebooks can be downloaded within seconds and are often cheaper than a paper copy.

But for me, reading isn't about convenience and cost. It is my favourite pastime and some might say it verges on being an obsession. I can’t describe how much I enjoy spending time browsing in book shops and libraries, excited at the prospect of finding a book to read that I have never come across before. I have been known to spend several hours at a time in such establishments, (much to the annoyance of my hubby who sadly does not share my passion for reading.)

There is something magical about shelves and shelves of books whether in a bookshop, a library or in someone’s home-I am drawn to them like a moth to a flame.
I love the smell and feel of books, new or old and this is something that cannot be replicated by an ebook reader, however advanced they are.

 I will be totally honest and say that I have never used an ebook reader or even seen one close up and you may, quite justifiably say that I can't possibly dismiss what I don't know. 
I am sure there are many people out there who would argue very strongly in favour of ebooks and I would certainly love to hear your thoughts and opinions equally as much as the ones from those amongst you who are like myself, undecided and apathetic.


  1. Great post! If you travel over to my blog, I have a post showing some of the books in my library and when I say not all the books meet your eye, there are some hidden behind other things. I researched before I purchased an e-reader. I bought one mostly because I have literally run out of space for books. I wasn't sure how I would like and at first I didn't. I, too, love to hold a book in my hands. I love the smell, everything about a book. But, I have to say I am loving my Kindle. I grab and go just like my phone. It's lightweight. I have my choice of books without having my bag bogged down with weight. And, it's easy on my arthritic hands. Some books I will always buy in paper, but I think I have become somewhat of a convert. Loved your post.

  2. Oh Tracey, you are woman after my own heart. My name is Stacey, so nice to meet you. I have been having the same feeling about ebooks. Since I have been blogging, I have accepted ebooks for review, but I have not purchased a reader...just can't bring myself to embrace the craze. I did break down and download the Kindle app for Mac, but that's as far as I've gone.

    I have loved reading my entire life. I carry a book every place I go. Like you I love the feel and smell of books. I am proud of my books, I rarely give them away ( I do make the occasional library donation).

    I know that ebooks are better for the environment, but the way I see my age there are enough real books to keep me busy for the remainder of my life! LOL

    Following from Book Blogs :-)

  3. Thanks Donna for your comment. I will visit your blog in a moment and have a look. I think I am going to have to try a Kindle to see how I get on with it and to see if there will be room in my life for both formats

  4. Hi Stacey
    Pleased to meet you too. Thank-you for taking the time to read my blog post. It is good to know that I am not the only person who feels as I do about books. I hope you will continue to enjoy my blog posts

  5. I can understand your reasons. I too love to browse a book store and could be there for hours. Libraries too.

    But since owning my eReader for a year and a half, it is more of a chore to read an actual book. :( Sad as it is to say that, it's true...for me. I recently read a big fat hardcover. It was a good size book and it didn't take long to get a cramp in my hand from holding it while I laid in bed reading. The book did not fit in my purse. I couldn't wait until I was finished with it. I have a couple other books on my nightstand...but I need a break from reading a paper book. My eReader just makes something I enjoy much much easier and more comfortable.

    There are drawbacks if I need to flip back to reread something because I can't remember how it happened, it's not as easy to just flip back a chapter or two on an eReader.

    Everyone has their preference and luckily we all have the ability to use what we like! :)

  6. As an author, here are my two cents. ePublishing is a wonderful way for mid-list unknowns to get their books out there to a whole slew of hungry readers. There are only so many books available to ereaders (soon to change, I'm sure), giving newbies a small dedicated audience. Plus, with ebooks the publishing industry can't keep us out for not being bankable bestsellers worth millions. No one starts as Nora Roberts.

    Now this isn't a rant against traditional publishing. But if you're an author who does her homework, ebooks are a positive. Because no matter which way an indie author goes--traditional, self-pub, or ebook--the author will do the same amount of work to promote their book. There's a monetary kick to ebooks AND the hope and dream that starting with an ebook will bump an indie into the scope of a publisher. With a decent following the hopes of a print book grow exponentially.

    I say, go hold one of these fine little do-hickeys. I have long railed against holding anything lacking a binding and physical pages. But there is something delicious about the Kindle. My appreciation for it led to my interest in publishing with it. ;)


  7. Hi Ellen
    Thanks for your thought provoking comment.I hadnt thought of things from the perspective of an aspiring writer. I too am an aspiring writer and hadnt thought of this as a possible outlet.

  8. I'm afraid I'm with you - and I am a writer! I'm sure I will get around to ebooks and the requisite reader, but I haven't made the leap yet. I love books for all the reasons you give, from the smell of old ones, to the feel of a new paperback.

    Found you on BookBlogs friends and followers - and I shall look forward to coming back.

  9. Hi Deborah
    Thanks for your input. It is nice to hear from a writers perspective to. Thanks for the follow.