I’m an unapologetic reader. It’s a part of my daily routine and there’s very few nights I don’t first settle into bed to read before falling asleep. For the entirety of this past year however that reading was done on my iPad.
A year ago I would have dismissed e-reading, defending my love of the written word, the pure joy of having shelves packed with books as a visual testament to my literary tastes. The tactile feel of a good hardcover, the elegance of a deckle edge and the cosy scent of good paper. Why would I give that up for an overly indulgent, mini TV screen that holds my books hostage in some ephemeral library. Even more troubling, these virtual books are tied solely to me, or at least my iTunes profile, to ensure they are not easily “lent” to friends or even passed down to my daughter.
All true, but you know what? I love reading on the iPad!
In the last year I’ve read about 36 e-books. That’s a good 40% more than my usual dead-tree component. I’m reading more now. The beauty of the backlit LED screen is that I can read anywhere. I read with the lights off. No need to crane for a bedside light or huddle next to a lamp on overcast days. Inexplicably awake at 3am? Dash through a chapter without waking the wife.
I’ve enjoyed a ton of new releases. I was previously a trade paperback buyer, avoiding the costs of hardcover. Now, while the hardcover new release sits on the shelf for $30, I can grab the e-book for $12. With the amount of coupons Kobo has afforded me, ranging from an additional 20-30%, I save even more. Room, The Night Circus, Freedom all snatched up while only a few weeks on the bestseller lists. Books like Robopocalypse or Ready Player One are picked up on the strength of some heavy geek cred. These are books I would have long forgotten by the time they’d seen release as trade paperbacks.
I’m getting more diverse in my reading choices now. At the bookstore I’m floored by the sheer choice available to me. There’s the bestsellers – too expensive, maybe one or two possibilities in the newly released paperbacks and then I proceed to get lost in the stacks. There’s the inevitable struggle with how this purchase will fit into my bookshelf. Is it worthy to sit next to my Foster Wallace or Sedaris? Yes, shallow. Bookshelf as aspirational metaphor. Online though I’m free to indulge. Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money seems way too chick lit, McNovel but what the hell – fun read! Autobiography is generally not my thing but Tina Fey’s Bossypants was great! No way Christopher Moore’s Lamb would have made the book cover cut but talk about fantastic!
As bits of data, books suddenly become “crackable”. There’s a host of content floating around the digital ether “free” for the torrenting. .epub and .mobi the new .mp3. Online bookstores appeal to my bent towards instant gratification. Hear about Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and wham! Into the library it goes. Love it and I haven’t even told you how awesome comics are on this thing.