Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I love books. Get to know me a bit better and you’ll know that I am what is known as a “reader.” Get to know me even beyond that and you’ll discover that I have a … distaste … for e-readers.
However, in the month of March I had decided I enjoyed the book club quite a lot in February, and they were reading a book I’d been interested in for a while, and I managed to get in on it at the beginning of the month when the book was offered for free by the author. So I thought, “Hey, I’ll save some money and read this one on my iPad!”
It was the first time I’d ever read a full e-book on an e-reading device (and I have since been told that I picked the wrong device for this experiment, but I do not own any other options). I have read books on my computer for ARC and editing and beta-reading purposes… but I do not do that very often because I dislike it so very much. But in this case, I thought perhaps it would be good to at least try reading an e-book. That way, if I hated the experience, at least I could say that I’d tried. Right?
The problems with reading an ebook are many.
1. The thing is awkwardly shaped for holding. I have mastered the art of holding a book, even a big hardback book like “The Aeronaut’s Windlass” in one hand, and can even manage to flip the pages that way. This is not possible on the iPad. It is a 2-handed operation, which is annoying. I read so fast and the screen is so small, that switching from one hand to two in order to advance the pages didn’t make sense, so it had to be held a very specific way with two hands.
2. I use a very different part of my brain when reading words on a screen versus reading words on paper. It is a bit difficult for me to remember much about the book: names, events, etc… where I do not usually have that problem when reading.
3. The light from the screen was hard on my eyes and often gave me a headache. (Apparently this does not happen with other e-readers, but I can’t speak to them)
4. The iPad often had a hard time saving the page I bookmarked to stop at. This made finding my spot difficult at times, which took up precious reading time that I will never get back.
5. I don’t like seeing random dotted underlines of quotes other people liked, and I have no idea how to turn that off so I don’t see it.
6. When I am reading a paper-pages book, none of my children try to take it from me so they can play games on it or watch Netflix. This is definitely a deal-breaker for me.
7. No paper smell. I know this is probably a bit on the silly side, but it didn’t smell like a book.
8. When something awesome happened, or when the book ended… I couldn’t “hug” it… I mean, I could, but the iPad is cold and a bit standoffish.
9. If something awful happens, you can’t throw it across the room. (I don’t throw books as a general rule, but sometimes it’s warranted, and you just can’t do that with something you’ve paid hundreds of dollars for).
10. I didn’t like not being able to see my progress or easily gauge how far I had left to read. The little “you are on 66894573 out of 1111223304058587474″ makes little sense to me, and the percentage number was highly dissatisfying.
11. The thing is COLD! Setting it on my knees was not an option if I was wearing shorts!
12. Our iPad is old, okay? So if it was out of battery, I had to plug it in and wait a good 5-10 minutes before it had enough juice to turn on so I could start reading my book.
13. If I ever meet the author, I can’t have him sign my copy…
All of this just adds up to one thing. I’m going to stick with paper pages. Some of these complaints may be addressed by getting a different device, but not all of them. However, all of these issues are solved by just picking up a good, old-fashioned, book.
How about you, dear Reader? Do you have an ereader you really love? Do you prefer paper pages? Let me know in the comments!