Lately, my kids have been getting bigger, and it seems like the house is getting smaller. The places that used to house my book collection are now holding assortments of toy bins and the type of books that only have about twelve words.
An Kindle Oasis would probably be a great way for me to minimize, but I'm still a bit hesitant to take the leap.
Here are the pros and cons as I see them. If I missed any, let me know.
They Do More Than Just Show Text?
I know very little about e-readers. Until I read an article on the Kindle Oasis, I didn't even know what all they did. Built in dictionary, thesaurus, and note-taking capability?
That is pretty cool. Especially for someone like me who reads a lot of non-fiction and takes notes for use in future articles.
But, hey. My phone technically does that too. So is it worth the price to buy a device just for reading books?
Takes Up Less Space:
The Oasis is really small. In fact, it looks more like a coaster than a tech device. Yet it will hold thousands of books? (or so it says.)
Well, I read a lot. And I love owning real books that I see, feel, and smell. But sometimes I get hold of some books that just aren't worth keeping after they've been read once. Those end up taking up space on shelves, in boxes, and in corners of my house.
I can see an e-reader being a great way to preview books. Then only absolute favorites could get a place on the shelf.
I read all kinds of books. I read books that are controversial. Books that are racy. Books that just have somewhat tacky (or horrifying) cover art...
And I have had people complain about the covers before. (In nursing school, I actually had a professor tape brown paper over the cover of my copy of "The Naked Civil Servant" because the cover didn't meet school protocol. Big eye roll).
Heck. Our local library bagged up a few books I ordered once through the library program because they were "questionable".
Pretty sure that draws way more attention than the titles.
Here at least, where the word "naked" is too mature for adults in nursing school, (our patients were never "naked", only in a "state of undress") a digital e-reader with NO cover art would be pretty handy.
It Would Travel Well:
Who am I kidding? I don't travel anymore. But anytime I do, I always take at least three books. And even if we just go to the grocery store, the girls like to take a stack of books too.
If we ever get the chance to travel in the future, my husband would probably be super thankful that all of our books (except maybe one or two favorites) could fit into the glove compartment, rather than taking up all the luggage space. (not to mention they wouldn't be so heavy to tote around.)
I Could Read In Bed!
Speaking of my husband...(the man who slept, before we met, in the living room with all the lights on and the television blaring), swears that the sound of me turning book pages keeps him awake.
He also gripes if I "play on my phone" (hello, its called working!) under the blanket with the sound off.
I'm sure an e-reader wouldn't be much better. But I would at least be able to argue that that I am not ''playing''. I'm reading. Quietly.
Now, for the bad points:
Yes. I would feel like I was betraying "real" books. Maybe even personally insulting men and women who suffered years of hand cramps while writing epic tomes with fountain pens.
It Would Feel Weird
It would definitely feel strange to curl up on the couch when I am in a reading mood, and thumb digitally through hundreds of books at once. That is why even if I do go digital, I will keep a lot of real books for nostalgia's sake.
Of course, I still have cassette tapes too.
There is something nice and comforting about holding a real, solid book. And I'm sure that will never go away for many people.
Especially those of us who have ever had to whack a spider with whatever we were reading at the moment.
I can't count the number of books I have accidentally drowned in the bathtub. I am a shameless bathtub reader.
Because I know I will inevitably drop a book in the water, I only bathe with thrift store books and freebies, which I usually grab without really caring what they are about.
Therefore, I can honestly say that some of the weirdest books I have ever read have been read in my bathtub. Which may be why I associate bubbles with a sense of being perplexed...
I know that it is not a good idea for someone with a vast collection of water-logged paperbacks to take an expensive device in the tub. So obviously, cheap, weird physical books win there.
As a side note, in case you wanted to know...books that take baths always become very fat and take up even more space on the shelf. You've been warned. Baths are fattening.
There is just this little, bitty logical side of my brain that says its really dumb to get rid of books I have already paid for, and pay again to get them along with a pricey gadget to display them.
I mean, how many $20 bookcases could I get for the price of one Kindle?
One thing I love about a good, solid book. You can love it and lug it for years. You can throw it in a bag or the floorboard of a car. Books are pretty durable. I have some that were printed in the 1800s. And they are still awesomely readable.
I'm pretty sure you can't drop a Kindle down a set of steps and expect it to still be okay. And if you like throwing things during a tantrum, that little thing would never be as satisfying as a vintage Webster's dictionary.
It also can't replace books for emergency uses like whacking spiders (as mentioned above), building impromptu booster seats and step stools around the house, or holding open a door.
The reason I have never fully switched to an all digital life, is because I don't trust technology 100%. Not only is there potential for mysterious glitches that erase everything, but every time you get used to an item...something new comes out.
Some people love to buy the latest and greatest piece of equipment as soon as its released. And...then there are those of us who are eventually pushed into buying new stuff because the old stuff becomes obsolete (and nothing works with it anymore.)
If I buy a real paper copy of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (just kidding! I already own it!) then I will still be able to read it 30 years from now.
If I don't drop it in the bathtub.
It will never be non-compatible with my brain software. The only upgrades I need are the corrective lenses that allow my old-fashioned reading devices (eyeballs) to do that thing they are supposed to do. (Skip ahead to the ends of pages to see what happens.)
However, there is always a chance that I might have to keep upgrading an e-reader over and over again, to read the same copy of a book.
I only suspect this because my mom's Blu-Ray player will not play my VHS tapes. If technology were on our side, then all the new stuff would continue to play the old stuff.
Which is why, I swear, one day I WILL print out every single thing I have ever written and put it in a vault. Because when I'm in my 90's and bequeathing my legacy to my grandchildren...I don't want to spend my dying breath explaining what a flash drive was.
To Kindle, or Not to Kindle?
That's my argument for or against investing in an e-reader. Of course, if I were rich it wouldn't be a debate. I would just get one to go with every outfit. (Haha. no).
Seriously though. I won't be getting one soon. But if I were to pick one, I do like the Kindle Oasis design. It looks comfortable to hold. Which is important when you are reading something like say, War and Peace.
I can't lie either. I was really tempted by that "unlimited Kindle, first month free" deal too. Giving me unlimited books though...probably a bad idea. Nothing else would get done. Ever.
So if you are a reader, what are your opinions on going digital for the book collection? Is it worth the money, or does an e-reader just become another piece of junk with a missing charger?
Bonus Q&A: How many books do I own? At last count, over 2300. And I wonder why I don't have any free space??