Like many book lovers, I fought against the e-book revolution currently sweeping the literary world. But, like many, I have given in. While packing for a 10-day, overseas trip, I was torn as to which books I should bring. I didn’t want my bag to be too heavy, but I wanted to make sure I had enough material to keep me entertained, especially on the 18-hour plane ride. This dilemma is what finally won me over to e-readers and e-books.
Having gotten a Kindle for Christmas, I have already loaded it up with books. I will still buy and check out real books (I still cannot consider an e-book to be real), but the ease of traveling with as many books as I want is this book lovers’ dream come true.
In addition to the ease this device offers in supplying a vast amount of reading materials, just in the few days I have owned my Kindle, I have discovered another advantage to this technology. E-readers provide exposure to authors. I have already discovered several new authors (some I like, some I could do without). While libraries are great at allowing you to sample someone new, the wait for a book often means that you are forced to read on the libraries schedule, not your own. When I want a book, I want to read it now. This is an advantage of the e-reader. Additionally, Amazon, along with the other e-book venders, offers many free books (not just the classics). This has allowed me to sample new authors with no financial commitment, just as the library allows only now there is virtually no wait.
This is not to say that libraries and bookstores should become obsolete. I think there is something magical about entering a room full of rows and rows of books, holding a real book in your hands, smelling the paper, listening to the sound as you turn the pages, and I will continue to buy books the old-fashioned way and wait for my name to move to first place on the library waitlist, but I am no longer opposed to this new medium for book delivery. If it makes books and literature more accessible, that’s good enough for me.