I have always been adament that for me there is no choice between physical books or using an e-reader, never giving the latter a try. Until now. Recently when I awaited confirmation I was listed to receive a physical proof of a highly anticipated new title in the post I instead got offered the chance to read the book via e-reader, being told that few proofs had been printed as the book was close to it’s publication date.
I instantly replied, offended that this offer was seen as equal to receiving a physical copy of the book, and stated that I read books at a time when I like to be seperate from technology, I do not like to combine the two as this just leads to additional screen time.
This really got me thinking, had I got the potential of an e-reader wrong all along? Was I missing out through being stubborn, a proud traditionalist at heart. So I installed the apps, requested the title as a file on my device, and started my first ever e reader experience.
Now don’t get me wrong, using a device to read does have its advantages. Take for example right now, I am sat in a waiting room for an appointment and if I wasn’t writing this blog I could be reading the book I downloaded instead. I have made it halfway through, there is a percentage displayed at the bottom of the electronic pages declaring my progress as I go, so this would be an ideal opportunity to read more.
There are other similar scenarios that would see using an e-reader as advantageous, especially times when you don’t have your physical book nearby to read, and I am hugely aware of the environmental argument that it would indeed save trees if we all converted to electronic reading of books but I can justify my book purchasing and requesting for my blog as the books I have will have multiple new owners beyond me enjoying the books as I have. Those are the positive aspects to e-reading, but my preference remains books, the sort that you pick up and hold in your hands, and here is why.
When I read a book people can see that is exactly what I am doing and this is hugely relevant when the people I refer to are my children. I am very fortunate that my children share my love of reading but even so I still feel it is massively important for them to see me reading books regularly, and thoroughly enjoy the conversations we have that stem from what I am reading, which books are new to the house and showing illustrations and book covers to one another too.
If I used an e-reader regularly my children would assume I am online, and that being online for long periods of time is ok and I have the opposite attitude to screen time with them, advocating instead for hobbies away from electronic devices. I strongly believe in setting the right example through my own behaviour.
Alongside my children we have amassed a lovely collection of books that adorn our bookcases throughout our home that we all cherish for various reasons, not least the memories of choosing the book, especially as some are from book events and have been signed and dedicated too, not something that e-reading allows for.
I really could continue for a long time to list and explain the reasons why I will always choose books from bookshops, publishers websites and libraries over downloading them onto a device but this blog post has to conclude and in doing so I will say that my experience of using an e-reader has reaffirmed my initial thoughts, they are not for me.