Am I an e-book convert?

Posted October 18, 2020 by Lory in discussions / 28 Comments



Many, many years ago, in my eighth grade oral presentation class, one of the few talks I remember giving was one about e-books. They were not even really a thing back then, but for some reason the topic was in the air. I argued against them, saying that paper was more permanent, more aesthetic, and more shareable. E-books seemed so ephemeral and somehow illegitimate.

I still find e-books more ephemeral and uglier than paper books. But I’ve given them a larger and larger share of my reading life. They’re just so convenient and portable. I check out books from the library, or download free classics, because I don’t like spending money on them. I can carry my e-reader around easily everywhere, get books instantly, and not have to wrestle with heavy volumes or awkward positioning.

Since I’ve started to read books in French, the built-in dictionary is a godsend. And the real clincher is that my excellent eyesight has at long last started to fail, and I HATE wearing reading glasses. With an e-book I can enlarge the text so that I don’t have to.

What I like least about e-books is the inability to focus on more than one page at once: to physically grasp the length of a chapter in relation to the whole, to flip back and forth to look at maps, pictures, and footnotes, or to correlate passages with diagrams or with other sections of the book. For these, I definitely prefer paper. And for a total aesthetic experience, with pictures and typography, give me a beautifully printed and bound copy. These still have an important place in my life.

But otherwise, I’ve done a 180 degree turn from my eighth grade position, and embraced e-books.

What about you? Do you have any opinions about your reading habits you thought would never change, but have since converted?

Linked in the Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!

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28 responses to “Am I an e-book convert?

  1. I definitely changed my mind a lot about ebooks as well. Back when they were first becoming a thing I hated the idea and was insistent that I’d never come around to ebooks, but now I’d say maybe 80% of my reading is done on my Kindle. I still prefer physical books but it is just so much more convenient and cheaper to read ebooks. So I’m definitely a convert too!

  2. As someone who is not a fan of clutter, ebooks seem tailor made for me. Being able to store thousands of books in such a small space is a delight. As I get older, my love for ebooks grows for other reasons. Arthritis in my hands, carpel tunnel in my wrists, and old eyes appreciate the lightness of my kindle and that I can resize the font. I can also borrow books from my elibrary and not have to worry about returning them. It’s wins for me all around.

  3. I really like e-books because
    1. I can get loads of free ones on Netgalley
    2. And Amazon
    3. It cuts down on holiday packing
    4. You can find weird old out of print stuff on Project Gutenberg etc.
    5. It’s easier to read them with a messy sandwich

    I do prefer a print book if there are illustrations etc and for books I want to keep, though.

    • Ha ha, so true about the messy sandwich! I can wipe off my screen if need be. It’s harder with paper (but perhaps a good thing to keep me from being such a slob.)

    • I’ve tried a Kindle (a present a few years ago) from our son, and really couldn’t manage it. All the positive things you mention regarding paper books carry the day for me. I prefer annotated versions of classics rather than the free downloads, and I love the variety you get with ‘real’ books — size, weight, colour, fonts — rather the uniformity of the ereader.

      And I like to use ‘real’ bookmarks… 😁

  4. I have only started reading e-books for a few months now, and I can’t believe how quickly I have become accustomed to them. I still read a lot of books on paper too but for my commute time on the train it’s so light to pack! And late at night it’s also easier for my eyes.

  5. I was the same, refused ebooks from publishers and authors. I only wanted print until I had to move. Any idea what it’s like moving hunderds of books?! It’s not fun. While they look great on shelves, they’re a pain in the ass to carry in boxes or bins. So I made the conversion to Kindle to eliminate so many in the house. I haven’t looked back either… LOL

    • I do actually know because I had to do a cross-continental move and I sloughed off most of my book collection. There are a few choices I regret, but mostly I’m so happy to be carrying less stuff around. And glad that I can still easily access many old and new titles in electronic form.

  6. It’s hard to argue against the convenience of ebooks these days! Even though I would always prefer a physical book, I find myself reading more ebooks than I ever imagined I would. I do like being able to quickly make a highlight or note while reading, which is handy as a book reviewer. (I’m not the sort to mark up a physical book.)

    • For that, I prefer marking up physical books -I like to use post-its and sticky tabs if I don’t want to write on the pages. I do highlight or mark pages in the e-book sometimes but then I generally forget all about them.

  7. I might never have gone over to eBooks if it wasn’t for my blog, but I’m glad I did (both). I still like physical print books, but with all the ARCs I get, I can’t be without my Kindle these days!

  8. I liked e-books at first because it was so convenient for travel; I used to worry about running out of books on a trip, or carrying too many books because they get so heavy. I gradually moved away from reading them, though. I read from a screen all day for work and need a change for leisure, plus I’m not traveling anymore. And I didn’t like the bookmark feature; I need a way to “dog-ear” the page and there’s no good way with an e-book.

    • For marking pages and passages I also prefer paper. And I can understand about too much screen time. My job doesn’t involve computers so I have more tolerance for that.

  9. Yes yes YES to the problem of not being able to focus on more than one page at once! As someone who reads the end, that’s kind of a killer for me — I know you can scan through but it’s just not the same if what you want is to find out whether so-and-so dies at the end. That said, I do like the convenience of ebooks and in fact recently bought an ereader for all my library, fanfic, and e-ARC reading needs, and I’m feeling extremely satisfied with it.

    • Yes, I also love flipping to the end, or just to the end of a chapter, at least to see how many pages are left … maybe I should just immerse myself in the present but I’ve never reconciled myself to that!

  10. It has taken me several years to become an e-book convert. The first device brought for me hardly got used until a trip a few years ago to Thailand. We were heading out for a month and my husband asked how many books I intended to carry around with me in my rucksack. Suddenly I realised that I if I embraced, rather than adamantly repelled against, my ereader I cohld varry thousands with me. It was that moment that changed the way I think. I still prefer a physical book, but now I switch between the two easily. Now, to conquer my own inner thoughts on audiobooks!

  11. I’ve always taken a very live-and-let-live approach: eBooks are awesome… for others, but they’re not for me. The tangibility of paper books is a vital part of my reading experience. Plus, I’m very sure if I were to get an eReader, I would beat it up and break it in my tote bag somehow 😅 But I can totally see the appeal, especially for second-language reading as you point out!

    • E-readers seem pretty durable. I’ve not broken one yet, though mine has gotten a little chipped and scratched. However, I am never sure the technology is going to endure (in fact i’m sure it won’t, planned obsolescence you know) and so I certainly appreciate that more tangible and permanent feeling with paper.

  12. At this point, I think I have no preference. Though yes, when there are helpful maps, the digital version is not great – they definitely need to refine that!
    For long books, I tend to prefer ebooks, with the search feature that allows me to reread passages with a character I had not paid too much attention to. Very helpful for some long thrillers, like the one we are reading by Joel Dicker!!

    • I had not even thought of that use for e-books! I tend not to use the search function at all but that might change.