Confession of an E-Reader Convert
It’s true confession time. I’ve become an e-book reader after swearing I would never allow an electronic copy to replace a ‘real’ book.
My recent birthday gifts included a, Canadian-made, KOBO GLO e-reader. Can you imagine my surprise when I pulled off the gift-wrap and squealed with delight? I was happy. Some part of me knew my world-view of books was about to change.
This is not the first time I resisted new technology. Back in the late 70s while writing on a manual typewriter, an ATARI 800 became resident in our home. For those of you too young to remember them, the ATARI 400 and 800 computers were the first home computers to use custom co-processors. They originally came with 8K or 16K of RAM with expansion to 48K. Later models came with 48K installed. 90K large-format, floppy disks provided external data storage with hard copy output on a dot matrix printer! Seems antiquated, doesn’t it? Yet, for the day, the ATARI computers were state-of-the-art.
I didn’t like the thing and wanted nothing to do with it. My family spent hours on the computer
playing games, like Pac-Man and Pinball while I begrudged the presence of the electronic monster invading my writing space. They nagged me to try out the word processing program, Atari Writer; I stayed strong for several weeks. In the end, my curiosity got the better of me. I sat down at the computer and my world turned upside down. ‘Atari Writer had features taken for granted today. Word wrap, full-screen editing, dual-column printing, search and replace, undo, block editing and even a print preview feature that allowed users to view a printable page by scrolling across the screen.’ (excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AtariWriter)
I was hooked. I could write endlessly, correct on the go, and cut and paste words or complete sections of text without starting with a fresh sheet of paper. It seemed like magic. That experience launched me into the electronic age.
Today, I have an iPhone, desktop computer and a net book. How did I manage without them?
But books . . . I didn’t understand how an electronic device could ever replace a traditional book? As a reader, I love the texture and musty smell of a book created of paper and ink, encased in an attractive or simple hard or soft cover. I do worry they may disappear completely some day. What happens if electronic versions take over and many publications, only available in e-book form, are lost if not uploaded to new evolving technology? I hope I’m wrong on both counts.
My growing affection with new technology overcame any resistance to trying out my e-reader. Within a week of receiving my KOBO, I had downloaded a year’s worth of reading material. The device is lightweight, easy to read, self-lit so I can read in the dark and it even has a sketchpad app. What a great leisure device and tool for an artist-writer.
As I become more and more comfortable with my KOBO, I discover my publishing plans
changing too. Previously, I dreamed of someday sitting in a coffee shop, on a train, plane or on a beach, while I observed strangers reading one of my books. In my visions, the people held books of paper in their hands, not devices composed of plastic, metal and electronic components. However, I’ve gone through a paradigm shift. My definition of a ‘real’ book now includes e-versions and with that the vision of my future now incorporates avid readers holding both paper and e-readers while enjoying the tales I have woven to entertain them.
Confession’s over. I’m heading back to the library of e-books awaiting me on my KOBO!
I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences as they relate to electronic versus paper books!
Wendie Donabie ©2013
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Although I love my Amazon Kindle (which, from the sounds of it, doesn’t do as much as your Kobo Reader, I still will not give up books.
Likewise Liz… I still love and always will love ‘real’ books!!!
A friend has tried using an iPad as an e-reader and found it too heavy for long periods – http://nolanparker.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/ah-this-new-fangled-modern-technology/
Since we are looking at electronic publishing for our novel this year, that’s a downer but you seem much happier with a dedicated device. Maybe that is the answer.
My only experience is with the KOBO reader and I find it light and easy to read. It is smaller (4.5 x 6.25 inches) than an iPad and I believe lighter. (fonts and font sizes can be changed).
I have many friends with e-Readers who just love them so be encouraged to go that route for your novel.
Wendie – Thanks for the encouragement. Much appreciated. Phil
I recently wrote another rant against e-books for my book column in The Waterloo Record.which you can read at
There’s more on why e-readers and books give you less control over your reading purchases than paper books do here
Basically, I fear that the switch to e-books will spell the demise of bookstores, of which independent stores are my faves. This I view as an ‘unintended consequence’, i.e. no one buying e-books is out to kill bookstores, but the outcome will take them by surprise when it’s too late.
My two cents worth
Hi Wendie,,, I know what you mean, I got a Kobo for my birthday and was I surprised, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. I do find myself in the library ever so often, looking to see what is new and picking up an occasional paper book. Enjoy.
How are you both doing? I am assuming no news is good news. Any chance you can get away to a warm climate for a few days this winter? Hugh and I are hoping to head to Florida Fe 17-25…all going well. It’s not my favourite place but his Mom and boyfriend have a place there for 3 months so accommodation is free and we love their company. Please let me know how you are.
I’m busy starting to paint for spring, summer and fall art shows. And getting in touch with agents to find one to represent my writing…
Hugh has had a busy winter, surprisingly, so we are hoping for a good year with the real estate.
Love to you both Wendie