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Why I Don’t Read Books Anymore (But Still Love Them)

I’m a word guy. I read, I write, I edit. I’ve grown up with books. I loved The Hardy Boy books, and read a flock of them. (Flock of books? Bevy? Gaggle?) But I don’t read books anymore, because …

I’m a big-time word guy.

I have been an author, editor, and publisher. Words are my life.

I grew up reading books. I loved The Hardy Boy books as a kid and read a flock of them. (Flock of books? bevy? gaggle?) I read Dr. Seuss to my daughter and still read them to my granddaughters. My absolute favorite was Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, though that’s not terribly germane here. I’ve read big, thick books (McCullough’s Truman, for instance) and little bitty books (Elie Wiesel’s brilliant Night, as an example).

But I no longer read books.

I should clarify. I don’t read book books. You know, books on paper. I read on a Kindle Paperwhite only and have done so now for several years. I am one of millions of people, I suspect, who have stopped reading print books and have gone fully to e-books, and I won’t apologize for it.

Probably the main reason I stopped is because of my elbows. I’ve had a number of soft tissue problems in both elbows over the years, and holding a book for long periods causes too much pain. It’s much easier and less painful to hold a Kindle.

Beyond that, though, I find that the Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers offer too many advantages to ignore.

  • Forget your glasses? Make the print larger.
  • Don’t know what a word means? Look it up right then.
  • Like to read more than one book at a time? Go to your Library and open up another book. Go back and forth anytime you want.
  • Enjoy reading large, 1000+ page books? The e-reader weighs exactly the same for any book you read.

There are drawbacks to e-readers, to be sure. For instance, I miss the clarity of photographs and illustrations in paper books; they just don’t show up well in an e-reader. I don’t think this will be a problem once the technology catches up, and I’m sure it will.

See? No title or author. Ugh.

Mostly I miss the sort of automatic knowledge you get of a book’s title and author. With a print book, you see the title and author every time you pick the book up or put it back down, so it’s always fresh on your mind. On an e-reader, though, the title and author are, if not hidden, at least indistinct. I wish Amazon (for the Kindle) did more to address this issue.

Other than that, I’m a complete e-reader devotee. I will continue to bring my Kindle wherever I go and read whatever I want wherever I am.

I will be this guy, only without such a creepy grin.

Or this guy, except without such massive eyebrows and a strangely specific beard trim.

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