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Time to eRead

By Randee Bergen

Several years ago – four? – I wanted the Kindle. I thought I was the perfect candidate to own a Kindle, to test one out, to let others know if holding an eReader could be as fulfilling as holding a real book in my hands. Was the weight, the feel, the smell really as much of the experience as I believed them to be or could I easily exchange those things for the ease and efficiency of an eReader? And what were the benefits of an eReader anyway? I hadn’t really heard.

I never got the Kindle. My wants weren’t high on the priority list back then. Plus, with the beginning of the recession, I was rediscovering library books. Any book I wanted, for free! Just get online, request the titles, wait a few days, and then pick them up in my (practically) personal on-hold shelf area. No more paying for books. No more already-read books piling up in my house. I fell in love with the library all over again.

A couple of years ago my sister boxed up and sent me her slightly used Nook Color. She had a laptop, an iPad, an iPod, an iPhone, and, if I recall, some newer, fancier reader. It was kind of her to think of me and I very much appreciated the random gift. I plugged it in, charged it up, and moved about on it a few times and that was it. I just wasn’t sure what to do with it, how or where to get titles.

I heard that certain titles were available for a dollar or two. At the time, though, it didn’t make sense to pay for titles that weren’t on my absolute must-read list. It didn’t make sense to pay for any titles, really, when I could borrow books for free at the library. And it didn’t make sense to accumulate books, even if they were electronic, during that period in my life when I was really trying to downsize and simplify.

So the Nook Color went unused. I have yet to read a single book on it.

But I know that things are changing, that sometime in the future there may not be many physical titles that we hold in our hand, that more and more books are only available electronically. I’ve heard that libraries are spending more on audio books and electronic titles because they cost so much less than actual books. I realize that I need to get with the program, to learn more about electronic readers. I’m fairly technologically savvy in other areas; I need to jump on the eReader bandwagon, too, and not get left behind.

I also want to know more about eReaders because, as a writer, I may someday want to publish an electronic version of some of my work. Right now, I can’t even visualize what that might look like, and I know nothing of the process. The first step, it seems, is to start reading ebooks and getting a feel for them and how they are similar or different to traditional books.

I read in the paper today that our local library is offering classes on getting started with eReaders. They set the classes up for after Christmas because many people get eReaders for Christmas and don’t know how to get started with them. I also read that the library now has quite a few titles for eReaders.

This class is for me. Now is the time. I chose two dates that should work, will work, if I make a concerted effort to get there and nothing else comes up. Both days are in January. I’m looking forward to it. And I’m sure I’ll keep you posted on what I learn.

In the meantime, I’ll keep holding my precious books in my hands, carrying them with me, feeling them, breathing them in. I know that sounds kind of strange, but I also know you get what I’m talking about.

Do you use an eReader? Which one? And what are your thoughts about eReaders?

COMMENTS

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I don’t have one yet, although it has crossed my mind. I think I love turning a page though.




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