At present, I am still undecided about the absolute benefits of ebooks and ereaders. Having been a traditional book reader for the majority of my life, I have a nostalgia associated with printed books. I love bookshops as I love the smell of new books. I love second hand bookshops for the same reason except this time the smell is aged books. I love the way the pages develop a sepia tone with time indicating they are grown old and I love to flick pages, look at contents and travel in a chronological order. This for me is the experience of the fiction book. It enables an ability to get lost in pages. In solitude I transport myself to different times, places and experiences through the lives of characters within the pages of a book. I associate books with any weather from rainy, cold days; hearing the patter of rain on my window while I am snug in my comfy chair, a blanket over my legs to keep me warm with a book for company to warm sunny days sitting on the grass under a tree in a park. The novel has been there for me. It has definitely been a trusty friend and it even affects my choice in bags. Any bag has to enable space for a book to travel with me at all times.
How is the ebook or ereader different? In some ways access is everywhere and expansive, it is portable and able to be carried anywhere. Quite remarkably, you can actually carry a whole library (not that you could possible read a whole library in one sitting under a tree!). I still do not own an ereader and am definitely reluctant to travel down this road for my fiction preferences. I don’t mind reading information text on screen but to be emersed in a work of fiction via a screen somehow doesn’t feel quite right (yet!) Maybe time will tell. I struggle with the idea of beautiful picture books being on a screen and a Sabuda and/or Reinhart pop-up book will definitely lose the magnificence via a screen interface.
I feel concerned about some conflicting reports regarding access and limits imposed on borrowing an ebook as outlined by Brad Moon in the article ‘Publishers move to limit library e-book lending‘ and by Simon Baron in his article ‘Borrowing ebooks beyond a library’s walls‘. Beyond this there is the controversy that occurred in 2009 with Amazon removing George Orwell’s, ‘1984‘ and ‘Animal Farm‘ from Kindles as outlined in the article ‘Amazon erases Orwell books from Kindle‘ by Brad Stone.
Clearly there appear to be many issues that still need to be worked through. However, the benefits of ebooks are captured in the following videos.
As for my position, I still love the feel of printed books and I can’t see myself moving to an ereader for my fiction reading any time in the near future.