Dec 9 2007
Source: Ann Aguirre’s Grimspace on my iPhone
Last week, I wrote about my frustrations with ebooks and current ebook technology. Jayne, my blogging partner, commented that if she had read the article before I had converted her to ebooks, she would never have wanted to try them out.
I felt like I needed to write a post about why I love ebooks and why I firmly believe that ebooks represent a positive for the reading community. I love to read. I am sure that the source of my love for reading is my mother. My brother and I are voracious readers. As children and teens, we traded books back and forth and read everything from the paperback westerns by Louis L’amour; short stories of O Henry; didactic tomes of Ayn Rand; opium fueled imagination of Edgar Allen Poe; and, of course, romance. While we didn’t have money for alot of extras, our thirst for the written word was never denied.
I’ve never been without a book. I’ve always carried a novel in my purse, backpack or carry on. My dorm room, apartment and house was always been home to a massive number of books. I even had Ned build me a wall to wall bookcase that housed over 2,000 books, some triple stacked. Even then it seemed that there was never enough space. When I had the tot and lost a room in the house, I decided to engage in a book purge. I began working through the piles of the never ending to-be-read books and the cast-of-thousands keeper shelf. ( I have a hard time getting rid of any book. Who knows when I might want to read it again?) Ultimately, I weeded my collection out of its plastic bins and piles on the floor, and I carted off to the half price bookstore enough books, it seemed, to start my own used bookstore.
Then one day, I read a book and realized I would like to read the previous stories again that related to this book only to find that I had foolishly sold those books in my Great Book Purge. I started buying ebooks in earnest at that point, recognizing that I could have my cake and eat it to. I could have all the books I wanted and a clean, orderly house. I could carry with me every book that I had ever purchased no matter where I was. I wouldn’t have to pay the extra luggage fee that I so often incurred because my books weighed my suitcase down. I could pull up a story, even one originally released years ago, in seconds.
I feel I found ebooks just in time. The discovery was just in time to save me from going out and buying new paper copies of the books I had once discarded. Just in time to save my family from being buried under a morass of paper. Just in time for me to start being environmentally conscious.
Jonathan Franzen, a serious literary writer, hates ebooks:
“Am I fetishizing ink and paper? Sure, and I’m fetishizing truth and integrity too.”
Franzen obviously has alot of fetishes. Franzen misses the point when he says that Kafka needs to be unerasable. The beauty of the digital copy, is the ease of delivery and the ease of storage. Wouldn’t it be great if To Kill a Mockingbird was read by every literate person in the world? With the low cost of publication, doesn’t the ebook economics actually help the future Kafka’s of the world?
Ebooks put paid to the out of print concept. It preserves ideas, thoughts and even creativity for future generations. Paper is more susceptible to destruction than is bytes and bits. My fetishes, at least the ones I am willing to cop to on the blog, include the words that comprise the stories rather than the paper on which they are printed and the increased knowledge gained from being a reader.
If you love reading, then you’ll love ebooks. It will help reclaim your space, allow you to never be without a story to read, and spread the love of the written word. Ebooks are a boon to those who love to read, not a bane.