Guest post from Ellen Grogan: In praise of e-books

Posted: August 10, 2012 in Guest blogs
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have this habit of skimming through my emails and leaving notifications, new blog posts from friends, etc etc in my inbox for perusal “later” when I have more time to consider them carefully.  I ‘met’ Ellen Grogan through the Kindle Horror Books Facebook group, where she posted last month on how much she loves her e-readers (she owns three).  The post resonated with me so much that I kept it to read again “later”.

“Later” has become “now”, and Ellen has graciously allowed me to share that post on my blog.  I’m floundering a little here, because usually when I host a guest post, it comes with a stack of purchase links.  And that’s OK – that’s how this guest post thing works, and you can bet that if you invite me to guest on your blog, I’ll have my own accompanying stack. BUT ELLEN ISN’T TRYING TO SELL ANYTHING! She’s not even getting a kickback from Nook or Kindle (although in my opinion, she damn well should).

Anyway…here’s what Ellen – an artist, a writer, an editor and a reader – has to say about the digital revolution.  If you’re a die-hard paper book fan, maybe this will change your mind.

* * * * *

Ellen Grogan is an artist, a writer, an editor and a reader. She is currently working on two books, both are mystery/thrillers and she is privileged to be an editor for several well-known authors whose works she greatly admires.

I have a Nook Color, a Nook Simple Touch and a Kindle Touch. 90% of my 3400+ books are on my Nook. Because the Simple Touch is so light, I carry it with me everywhere all the time. At home, I use my Nook Color to read and do research for my writing. I use the Kindle only for those books with their dastardly DRMs that can’t be converted to epubs.
I did something yesterday I haven’t done in almost two years: I bought five paperback books. Now you’re probably asking yourself why on earth would I go and do that when I own two Nooks and one Kindle. Well, I had no choice, really, as they were not available as e-books and I really, really wanted them. (You know how that is when you’ve just gotta have that certain book, or two, or five?) I’m enjoying the stories, of course, but I have to admit it felt really strange buying physical books again after so long. And it feels even more strange today because I keep thinking about what a waste of money this was since I don’t really have the space to keep these physical books and will probably have to give them away eventually or, if I don’t give them away, how, in time, the pages will yellow and the binding will break apart

Paperbacks are also easier for dogs to eat.

and then they’ll just get thrown out. Now I’m feeling guilty, too.
Then, as if all this isn’t discouraging enough, I realize as I’m reading along that I can’t highlight sections for research purposes in these paperbacks like I do on my beloved Nook. And what a pain it is to have to get up and haul out my old dictionary and dust it off to look up a word rather than just touching the word on the e-reader screen and “poof” there’s the definition right there in front of me like magic without my even breaking a sweat. Oh, yeah, and did I mention about the ink that’s all over my thumbs from holding the book open? And, of course, while I’m holding the book open with both hands, that’s all I can do whereas, with my e-reader, I could just prop it up on its stand and read hands-free while I cook, while I eat, while I . . . whatever.
There’s a lot of talk going around out there about books disappearing. That’s hogwash. It’s those cheap little paperbacks we grew up with that are now disappearing in favor of eBooks, but that’s for the best since they fall apart almost immediately after you open them. The larger format paperbacks and the hardcovers are going nowhere, except in price.
And for all those who are bemoaning the loss of their beautiful-ink-smelling, oh-so-personal paperbacks, here’s some food for thought. I’ll bet you have a computer on your desk and don’t miss carbon paper and typewriters. I’ll bet you have an iPhone with all sorts of apps on it and don’t miss princess phones. I’ll bet you have an iPod for your music and don’t miss those little Emerson radios. I could go on and on, but I won’t.
Yeah, this feels too strange. Oh, I used to like paperbacks. I still do. But then e-readers came along and spoiled me. I like my e-readers much, much better. I get to keep my e-books forever and I don’t feel guilty about that at all.

  1. John Irvine says:

    Not convinced… it’s only one person’s opinion.

    • Tracie says:

      I knew I could depend on you to be a resolute dissenter!

      Seriously, though – paper books remain superior to e-books when it comes to gift giving. Opening an email that says, “You have a gift!” just isn’t anywhere near as exciting as unwrapping a beautifully wrapped parcel. And I hope that children’s picture books are never supplanted by their electronic counterparts. Otherwise…well, you know I have long since gone over to the dark side…

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