For Readers

A Technophobe’s Take on E-Readers

Writing competitions are funny things. For a start, the prizes vary wildly.

Sometimes you’re competing for the glory of the award and the respect of your peers, sometimes they give you electronic gadgets.

Happily, I had some experience with the latter recently when I won an iPad, courtesy of the Massey Ferguson Agricultural Journalism awards (big thanks to them, this is the winning feature if you’re interested).

Being someone who is a little disconcerted by anything smaller than my laptop, it was a thorny transition.

e-reader-1213214_960_720

I lifted it out of the box and stared at it suspiciously.

“What does it do?” I asked my husband.

And my husband, with his uncanny ability to identify and exploit my weaknesses, swiftly answered: “Well for one thing, you can read on it.”

And that, as they say, was that.

reading-light-3544073_960_720

E-books were my gateway drug into the Apple cult.

At least initially….

I immediately went on Amazon and bought three e-books in quick succession. All three were from authors I loved, and one was the latest in a series that I had hugely enjoyed.

In other words, they were all pretty much a sure thing. I knew I’d like these books.

But then I didn’t.

tablet-1910017_960_720

I blamed the books at first (sorry books) but it then occurred to me: What if the reason wasn’t the books, but the way I was reading them?

Of course, there’s no way of knowing for certain (unless I buy the paperbacks and do some sort of controlled test) but my theory is that there’s something tiring about reading on a screen, and something too strange about pressing a button rather than flicking a page.

I went back to books. Proper books. Books that make a satisfying swoosh as you turn the page, books that have creased spines, books that lie around the house and trip up the dog.

books-768426_960_720

And it turns out I’m not alone.

The popularity of e-readers are in rapid decline. When the technology first appeared, publishers flew into a doomsday-style frenzy but their dire predictions haven’t been realised.

People are going back to books in droves.

According to Pew Research, just 19% of adults in the US own an e-reader. That’s a big slide from 2014 when 32% had them.

In 2015, UK retailer Waterstones announced that it would stop selling Kindles and reclaim that display space for hardbacks and paperbacks instead.

I like being part of a trend as much as the next human, but I don’t want e-readers to fall out of the market completely.

The iPad has opened my eyes to their potential and I’ll still be using mine – just not exclusively.

Given that I’m an expat in the Caribbean (where there isn’t a great selection of bookshops) and I travel frequently, the e-reader is ideal for long trips or getting ahold of that must-have book.

E-books will never replace my slavish devotion to real-world books, but ( much like dark chocolate and red wine) they’re best enjoyed in moderation.

glass-of-wine-140220_960_720

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s