The Librarian and the eBook

Book Blogger Hop

I’m participating in this edition of the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, because I was intrigued by the question of the week:

Aug. 19th – 25th – Do you read via eBook and if so which one/ones and why? (submitted by Teri)

The answer is no, I don’t read eBooks, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Librarians, as you might have heard, have often had a bit of a love-hate relationship with eBooks. There was a point a while back, when eBooks were first starting to trickle into the market, when the media declared the imminent death of print books in the wake of this digital revolution. Libraries would disappear, print books would vanish, and we would all be sitting with our noses in our Kindles (unless you want to borrow books from a Canadian library, in which you’d better get a different eReader * boo hiss Amazon *).

File:Laptop-ebook.jpg

Reality has been a little different, of course. Libraries still exist, and in my area anyway, print book borrowing still exceeds eBook borrowing. Some people (myself included) simply prefer reading text from a paper page, rather than a screen. Teens, for example, are still much for likely to borrow a print book than an eBook.

Still, I love eReaders, and I think eBooks are a fantastic innovation. Being able to store dozens of titles on a single device sounds like a commuter’s dream, and it would certainly make packing for a vacation so much easier (can’t decide with book to take on the plane? Take them all!). eReaders are lightweight, making them potentially easier for people with mobility or dexterity challenges to hold and carry than a print book. eReaders can increase the font size in a document, a useful feature for people with visual impairments, and the fact that library eBooks return themselves automatically means that busy families or individuals with compromised memories or unpredictable living arrangements need never worry about accruing fines. And as a voracious reader living in a small apartment, just think of the space I could free up if I didn’t need bookshelves to store my books!

Still, when it comes to reading on a tablet or eReader, I just can’t do it. I’m not nostalgic or sentimental (OK, who am I kidding, of course I am, but not in this instance) – what matters to me is what’s inside a book, the ideas and thoughts and characters and stories, and I don’t particularly care what format that content takes. I simply haven’t been able to find an eReader that doesn’t make me feel like I’m working. I sit in front of screen for hours each day – the last thing I want to do during my off time is stare at another screen! When I want to switch off, I want to switch off completely, and that means unplugging from all electronics. I’ve tried to join the digital reading revolution, but I’ve yet to find anything that speaks to me the way a good old fashioned book does. For now anyway, print books are simply more attractive and enjoyable to me than eBooks (and according to some studies, I’m not just a lonely Luddite).

That’s just me, though. For a lot of people, eReaders can make reading more affordable and more accessible, which makes the librarian in me very happy indeed. Do I think digital books might replace print books one day? Who knows? We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it.

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3 thoughts on “The Librarian and the eBook

  1. Hi Jane! And I hear YOUR sentiment…! If I had a library that was worth the visit close by, I would rather visit the library than buy e-books. I belong to a book club though and we exchange books. Books are expensive in SA, so that’s why I rather “shop” on the kindle as well. Thanks for visiting me earlier!

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  2. I’m with you!! Yes, I can see that ebooks do have some advantages, but they just don’t give me the warm fuzzies that print books do. Absolutely not! And, while I do value the content of a book, I value the format it comes in just as much. I LOVE print books as objects in themselves! I love the covers, although, of course, these are also available for ebooks. More than that, though, I love the binding, the smell of the pages, the feel of the book in my hands…..and I LOVE the way they look on my shelves!! So I guess that, for me, it’s a matter of aesthetics. Ebooks just don’t do it for me, in that regard.

    There’s one clear advantage that print books have over ebooks: it’s much easier, and faster, to find your place in a print book than it is in an ebook. Whenever I’ve read an ebook (not that often, naturally), and have wanted to re-visit a passage several pages back, I always have to “fumble around” until I find it. With a print book, I can find it right away.

    Another thing about print books…..this is kinda crazy, I know….but, if I really LOVE a print book, I will actually HUG it! Yup. I can’t see myself hugging a Kindle or Nook! Lol.

    At this point, I don’t think print books will ever disappear. Not as long as there are crazy book lovers like me, who get “bliss attacks” when either purchasing a book, or getting one as a gift! (A VERY rare occurrence for me, unfortunately…..) Lol.

    Thanks for sharing!! Also, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my own BBH post!! : )

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