Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How I became an eBook reader.

Confession:  I'm a book snob.

I mean, you probably could have guessed that because I have a book blog and all.  But, in case you didn't put those two things together, there it is.

And when I saw "snob," I mean I have some...prejudices.  We all have them in some area and, yes, we probably would be better off without them--but we're all human.  I think that if you recognize your prejudices, decide if they are okay or not (I am prejudiced against low fat and fat-free cheese...and I'm okay with that), and then go to work on those that you don't think are're ahead of the game.

So, with that sentiment in mind, I'm going to share how I've worked, or am working, on two of my reading prejudices over the next two weeks.

The first prejudice I've had to overcome--and I do think I've succeeded--is reading eBooks.  When the Kindle and Nook first became "things" I was resistant.  No, I was completely against the idea of them.  Really?  Reading a book on a little screen?  That was only one step away from television!  Besides, you would miss the tangible joys of reading--the smell of the pages, the feel of the paper, the weight of the book.  In short, e-reading was not actual reading.

Then, something happened.  I had just given birth to my second child two months earlier and, for Christmas, my in-laws gave me a Kindle.  My husband had actually asked me a few weeks before that if I had wanted a Kindle and, if I remember correctly, my response was definite and LOUD!

So, here I was with something I had told myself I would never use.  I'll admit that I was this close to just putting it back into the box and shoving it into a drawer.  After all, I was a real reader and real readers read real books!

It just so happened that one of my friends, who is also a big reader, came over for Christmas dinner that year.  She had already made the jump to a Kindle (she is more of an early adopter than I am!) and she sat me down, showed me how to work the damn thing, and gave me a few book recommendations to get me started.

I gave it try.  I downloaded a few books, I read them.  It was okay--but it wasn't the same as holding a book in my hand and turning the pages.  After about a month, the Kindle battery emptied out and the device went into a drawer.  For months.  I would take it out and charge it up now and again, but it just wasn't my thing.  I was a reader who read real books.

About a couple years ago, 2 things happened that forced me to change my way of thinking about eBooks.  First of all, my children were older and starting to have their own activities.  Because of that, I started to spend more time just waiting for them.  Frankly, it was just much easier to stick my Kindle in my purse than a 400 page book.  The Kindle was also easier to handle during those windy afternoons at the park while my children played on the playground.

Then...the other thing happened.  I have some eye issues.  I had Lasik back in 2012 to correct some of the issues, knowing that the surgery would make other issues worse.  About a year after my surgery, I realized what exactly I would be dealing with as far as my eyes were concerned.  It's nothing horrible, but I have trouble driving at night and--sometimes--I have trouble reading print on a page.  Strangely, though, I have no problem reading on my Kindle (although I do sometimes have to adjust the contrast or print size).

And there it was....the Kindle had become my friend--at it will be a friend for life.  Do I still read print books?  Of course!  I'm just not as flexible about when and where I read them and, sometimes, I just can't read a certain title because of the print.  I also have read on my phone (usually very "light" material) or on my Galaxy Tablet with the Kobo app (I prefer the Kobo app to the Kindle app).  However, I can't say that my phone or tablet works as well--the glare off the screen can give my eyes problems.  That is why I would advise anyone who thinks that e-Reading might be for them to get a dedicated eInk device instead of using an app on a tablet, even though the current wisdom is to go the app route so that you can get books from multiple sources.

I still purchase both print and eBooks--although I'm much more likely to go electronic these days, which does pose one additional "problem" with electronic books.  They are sometimes cheaper--A LOT cheaper.  There are also these quick and amazing sales on them--an eBook which is normally $11.99 might be $1.99 for a day or two.  I currently have over 200 titles on my ebook-dedicated wish list on Amazon and, every day, I go in and sort it by price.  If cheap titles, as in less than $5, pop up I will buy them.  That's part of the reason why I have almost 400 unread books on my kindle.

If you are thinking that maybe you might try e-reading, I'd encourage you to give it a try.  Download an app and see if you like it or find a friend with an eInk reader and see if that works for you (as I said, I'm all about eInk).  I currently use a Kindle Paperwhite--the original Kindle my in-laws gave me fell victim to a 3 year old, which gave me the perfect opportunity to upgrade.  Neither Kindles nor Kobos are horribly expensive (they are significantly less than an iPad)--and they might just change the way you think about "real" books!

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