Australian author Isobelle Carmody decided to bring back one of her out-of-print older titles, Greylands, as an ebook and as part of its launch created a one-month-only website full of cool stuff including a Great e-Book Debate area where she has invited a bunch of smart people to post and discuss the whole idea of ebooks. Today’s post, “I am not a Luddite” is by my pal Judith Ridge who is, as should be evident from the post’s title, not a fan for some very thoughtful reasons.
My feeling is that I keep evolving as a reader and a writer. What doesn’t work for me at one point seems to down the line. For instance, years ago, while I loved writing on a computer, I still felt the need to have a printed copy of everything. I did not trust digital archiving at that point. But I’ve changed and I now only print things out now and then — mainly when I’ve reached a point when I feel I just want to look at it away from the computer. Not anymore as a way to save a version.
Similarly I used to think I would never appreciate a book by listening to it. But at some point years back I started listening to books while running and now am completely convinced that I can very much appreciate a book this way. In fact, I think I sometimes do a better job appreciating them because I cannot skim through as I do when reading. I’m forced to slow down and listen to all of it. Of course, this only works for me when books are especially well-written on the sentence level. I can overlook mediocre writing when reading, but not when listening.
And so, as for e-books I was open to them, but until recently had only read one or two. This was because I’d only been reading them on my IPhone and that just wasn’t working for me. But this winter I was given a Kindle Fire and now things are very different. I’ve read a number of galleys for books not yet out and others as well. I’ve discovered classics for free, older books that are inexpensive, and (this is the best thing of all) books published elsewhere, but not in the US. I’m almost afraid to mention this for fear it will be stopped, but I have discovered that if a book is out in the UK and not in the US I can still get it via amazon as an ebook for my Kindle.
I’m also someone who always has to have a book along to read and being able to bring the Kindle instead of a whole bunch of heavy books is bliss. Especially on longer journeys.
While, like Judith, I still prefer to read a tangible book when I can (and am unable to read them when art of any significance is involved), e-books offer a great alternative and are working for me more and more.