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

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

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.

2 responses to “Why I Don’t Read Books Anymore (But Still Love Them)”

  1. Joe O'Neill Avatar
    Joe O’Neill

    Your peace with Kindle is good to know. For me, my “soft tissue” problem is actually my brain which struggles with e-readers like iPad’s Books. It dings and bings Notifications from other apps that I know I should temporarily turnoff, but my endorphin receptors tell me not to. I have a cheap Kindle too, but then I argue with myself about why I’m not using the Kindle app on the iPad. Be still, my Apple voice! And then there are the library books I keep speed-reading and skimming through to beat the loan period. Finally, my own book collections are stacked waiting to be read and on shelves ready to enjoy again. An overabundance of… words! I will have to reexamine reading more on my Kindle, though. Your serendipity has calmed me down.

  2. atmcphee Avatar

    Yes, I struggled with the same feeling about using an app on my phone and tablet, but I’ll tell you, it’s just not the same as on a Kindle. It’s the easy page-turning that will win you over. And no notifications! As for the waiting-to-read list, yes, that’s a toughie. I went through a kind of weeding out by getting the books I had that I really wanted to read on the Kindle. More money, but it was only for a fairly short time. The problem I haven’t conquered yet is the problem of having people give you books rather than Kindle gift cards. I’ve got a couple of gifted books I absolutely would read if they weren’t print. I might get to them eventually, but, well, I’m not sure. When you think about it, no one can ever read *everything* they want to read. So that’s my rationalization, and I’m sticking to it!

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