Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hardbacks and Paperbacks and Ebooks! Oh My!

At the beginning of the ebook revolution, my attitude was this:  You can't take a hardback book into the bathtub, because after a while it gets too heavy and you drop it in the water.  You can't take an ereader into the bathtub, because electronics and water don't mix.  So, by default, paperback books win as my format of choice.

Now that I have had to move 50 years of personal belongings for a family of 4, plus 2 dogs and 3 horses 760 miles across state lines, I have learned that the lighter the load, the better.  My family must have sold, donated and thrown away a small bookstore on our way out of town.  It took a lot of energy to dig through every bookshelf in the house and decide what to keep and what to give up.  There were books that we loved, but we had to consider what the chances were that we would ever read them again.

I realized that if I had these books in electronic form, I wouldn't have to debate their fate.  I could carry them everywhere because they weigh no more than the hardware device that displays them.  There's something magical about being able to open up the same book cover and find a different book to read within it each time. 

Though I'd be saddened to see the end of hardback and paperback books, and the whole bookstore and library experience, having little storage space or always being on the move are good arguments in favor of the ebook format.  I also like the way I can pump up the font to a size I can read just in case I forget my glasses.  I've never understood how I can be examined by an optometrist, be given prescription reading glasses, and still not be able to read the print in paperback books.  I swore that publishers were making the print smaller, but subconsciously knew that in reality my eyesight was failing me.  Thank goodness for progress.  It came right in time for me to keep on reading.