I resisted embracing e-readers for a long time. I love books. I am loyal to books. People are amazed at the size of my husband’s and my combined collection, and even more so when we tell them we still have several boxes of books in storage. I can quite happily spend several hours in a bookstore, wandering the aisles and flipping through pages.
When I read a book, I have all of my senses working. OK — not taste. Ick. But there’s just something about the feel — and yes, even the smell — of a book that I find so welcoming. I get immersed in what I’m reading as pages fly by under my fingers. For me, even the font used can make a difference in my enjoyment. So when I first heard of e-readers, I was dismayed. Though I love a good piece of technology, surely snuggling up to read with a machine would turn reading into a simple soulless, joyless exchange of information. Right? What is a book without its pages, possibly stained with unknown substances?
Well, it’s hard for me to resist such things forever and this Christmas my husband gave me an Amazon Kindle. I may have even hinted that I would not be completely averse to receiving such a gift. I was lured by the lower prices for ebooks, the Kindle’s small size and its memory. Like I said, our book collection is quite large and it is a pain when it comes time to move when the lease is up. I even like that you can load your own PDF documents on to the Kindle. I’ll use it to read my journal articles for grad school, I said.
Well, it is quite the gadget. I downloaded 5 or 6 classic novels for free right away. What fun! And free! The screen saver changes each time you turn the Kindle off. How neat! I began reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The tactile experience was not as immersive, but certainly the Kindle is much easier to hold than this particular book. I carried the Kindle around gingerly, fearful of fingerprints and spills. After buying the Kindle, we didn’t have much left over to buy a case. I decided I had better just read my journal articles the old-fashioned way. Eventually I put the Kindle away for safekeeping. It’s still quite safe, thank you for asking.
I was intrigued then, to come across this list from Kindlecases.net of “50 Kindle cases you can make yourself.” I especially liked these three ideas, though I suspect some are easier to actually make yourself than others. I love the poetic quality of old forms embracing new technology. Because really, the content of the books presented on an e-reader is exactly the same as that book presented on bound pages. The form is just a little different.
While I’ll always love a good, old-fashioned book, I can now see a place for e-readers. Maybe one of these covers holds the solution to my Kindle dilemma. I’m willing to give it a try!