Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Repost: Why I'll Never Quit the Library for E-books

I love to read. I guess that's pretty evident by this blog.  But more than loving to read, I love the library. I love the bookstore. I love being surrounded by books.

When the Kindle first came out, a gadget loving friend jumped right on it. While she bragged about how cheap the books were (some as low as $ Free.99), I told myself that I'd never abandon "real" books for eBooks. Fast forward a few months and I made the transition from a Blackberry to an iPhone. If you're an iPhone user you know there's an app for everything. So when I found a "Kindle for iPhone" app, I decided to take the plunge. Wouldn't it be easier to just carry my phone around and read instead of weighing my bag down with books every day?

So last Saturday, instead of packing a book to read while my daughter bowled, I read a book on my iPhone. Guess what? I missed flipping the pages. I know Kindle and iPhone readers will tell me I can still "flip" on the Kindle. Guess what? It's not the same! It doesn't feel the same. It doesn't make the same noise the page makes when I turn it in a "real" book. And I can't dog ear the pages on a Kindle. (Disclaimer: I try to carry a bookmark, but fail miserably. I always straighten the corner out as much as possible before I return my library books so as not to distract other readers).

Thinking that maybe I wasn't giving eBooks enough of a chance, I tried downloading a few other books. Again, I failed. Let's face it, eBooks aren't for everyone. If I switch to eBooks, I'll have no reason to go to the library. And I would miss my librarians dearly.

I'd miss Sterling, the gay librarian, who keeps track of everything I've read in the past 9 years and will not hesitate to say, "Oh no Ms. B, you've already read that! Child, I've saved something else for you to read." I'll admit that sometimes I read so much that I don't remember titles, authors or covers. Without Sterling I'd end up with a stack of already reads.

I'd miss Intense Librarian who always makes a big show of adding up my fines and asking if I'm ready to pay them. No, Ms. Ma'am. I happen to know that I can rack up $ 15 in fines before you cut me off and make me pay. If I was going to pay them right now, I'd have my wallet out, now wouldn't I? And yes, I know how to renew my books online since I requested them online. Yes, I know I could renew them online and save myself fines. Just give me the books already!

I'd miss Sympathetic Librarian who constantly apologizes for the long line at the counter, not knowing where to find the book I'm asking about, and the loud outbursts from the homeless men that hang out at the library.

And I'd even miss Nonchalant Librarian who pretends that he doesn't care what I'm reading, but always asks me about such and such book when I return my latest stack.

While I'll continue to keep a few books on my iPhone to read in case of emergency, I'm not putting down "real" books anytime soon.

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