Reading has always been one of my favorite hobbies. So when ebook readers hit the market, I suppose that I was what marketing people call an “early adopter”.
I started off with a Kindle 2.0. That served me well for over two years. To be honest, I wouldn’t have upgraded had it not been for the fact that my better half got me a Kindle 4 as a Christmas gift. Apart from the fact that the Kindle 2.0 did everything that I needed it to do, I was a little worried that changing to the Kindle 4 would have been problematic due to the lack of a keyboard.
In the end, I needn’t have worried. Although I didn’t actually realize it, I hardly ever used the keyboard on my Kindle 2.0. I only need it about once a week when I’m looking for a new book. Even then, I quite often do that from a computer and just have the ebook delivered to my Kindle.
All that I really need when I’m reading are the page turn buttons, and those are handily located on the side of the reader. In truth, I don’t miss the keyboard at all – the diminutive size and weight of the new entry level Kindle more than make up for the lack of a QWERTY keyboard.
For me, as interesting as the ebook reader hardware is, the whole ebook experience is all about convenience. I just love the fact that I can:
- Carry thousands of books with me wherever I go – in a device which weighs less than a paperback book.
- Buy new books wherever I am – and whatever time of day or night it is.
- Download a new book to read in less than 60 seconds.
- Access over a million free out-of-copyright ebooks.
- Download the first chapter of Kindle books as a free download.
So I admit it – I’m a huge fan of both ebook readers and ebooks. Ebook readers are the ideal gadget for me, and ebooks are much more convenient than traditional printed books.
Many of my friends are also keen readers. I thought, quite naturally, that they would also be as excited about ebooks as I was. However, I was very wrong in that assumption.
Many people told me that they would miss the feel of a “real” book in their hands. Fair enough I suppose. There is a certain element of tactile enjoyment in reading I suppose.
Others told me that they would even miss the smell of a book. Around about now, I did start to wonder just what type of books my friends were reading. Something from the “scratch ‘n’ sniff” school of literature I presume.
It became clear to me that many of my friends – who I presume would be a reasonably representative cross section of society – were “bibliophiles” in the very literal sense of the word. That is to say that they love books more than they like reading.
I would have to suppose that there are many people who find themselves in that category. That’s just one of the reasons why, although ebooks may be cheaper, more convenient and more environmentally friendly than printed books, they will never replace the real thing.