ON THE DELIGHTS OF OWNING A DIGITAL BOOKREADER
6 September, 2014 | By Goldie Alexander
My views on the subject of hard copy versus digital might amaze anyone who follows this blog. More and more I find that downloading books onto my kindle is a total blessing.
This all began some two and a half years ago when I spent ten weeks in hospital and rehab. The only thing that kept me sane was through voracious reading. Immersed in a book I could forget what was happening to me in real life.
In the past I had always been a keen reader, though for many years before this hospital stay, most of my books came from my local library as I simply had nowhere to stock the number I got through. Though my library was extremely generous with the number they allowed me to borrow, I often had to wait months before being able to pick up the latest ‘want to read’.
So this is where I go into rhapsodies about owning a kindle. Read a review, listen to a recommendation, press a button and I have the book. Total magic. Now I know it’s not the same as holding and smelling paper, admiring binding, or even being able to see illustrations in any proper detail, but I am prepared to forgo those for the delight of being able to download almost anything I want to read in an instant.
Given that I belong to two monthly bookclubs I have committed myself to four books; one adult- usually literary and long, one young adult, one middle grade, and one story picture book. It is only the story picture books that I must read in hard copy as there is no other way I can admire their wonderful illustrations.
My kindle currently has three hundred fictions and non fictions. If I read a review I can download a sample to see if I really want to buy that book. I can pack the kindle inside my capacious handbag and take it with me everywhere I go. Of course I have spent far too much by not continuing to use my library, but I am prepared to augment other authors’ work. The blessing is that digital books cost half hardcopy, sometimes even less.
Unfortunately not everyone is as convinced as I am by this wonderful digital world. Given this, my latest books for young adults, such as ‘That Stranger next Door’ and ‘In Hades’ are both hardcopy and ebooks. But my latest adult novel ‘Penelope’s Ghost’ appears only in digital format.
Some secondary schools I visit have eradicated their libraries completely in the belief that shortly all books will become digital. I think that is a bit pre emptive. Youngsters still like to look at ‘proper books’. The older ladies I talk to, and they are the greatest readers, tell me they hate the thought of not holding a ‘proper book’. All I can reply is that we live in interesting times and there must be room for both.
I’m not saying that reading via my kindle is always a blessing. Problems occur. If I forget to recharge, I get a blank page. Sometimes I accidentally press the wrong button and download a book I know I’m not interested in. Trying to convince Amazon to remove it can take a whole day at the computer. Sometimes a book has yet to be placed on the net and then I’m told to place it on my ‘wishlist’. That’s about as irritating as having to wait for it at my library. But on the whole I’m more than happy with this brave new world. It would be interesting to know how others feel about i
it. Some of the latest books I have read others might enjoy are Maraget Atwood’s short stories ‘Stone Mattress’. Herman Koch “Summer house With Swimming Pool”. Jojo Moyes “The One Plus One”. and Wayne Macauley’s “Demons”
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