Two articles crossed my inbox yesterday morning on the same subject; one via Nate’s morning roundup at The Digital Reader, one via the Guardian website.
In the first, David B. Coe, with very little enthusiasm, describes his life with his new eReader. There is a lot of ‘smell of paper’ nonsense in there, but the gist of it is that sometimes, the eBooks can be ‘undeniably convenient’ and other times, he prefers to not to ‘stare at a screen.’
In the second article, Margaret Drabble expounds on hers with much more enthusiasm. She loves being able to reference any book she needs at any time. She loves being able to enlarge the font, to highlight and annotate, to research and study. eBooks for the WIN, right?
So, where is the problem? I have read too many articles lately which condemn people for the reading choices they are making, and which overlook the salient point that just making a reading choice in the first place is already a win because it means you are choosing a BOOK instead of an app or a movie or a song. You are supporting literature, whatever device you read on.
My sister got rid of her Kindle—giving it to me—-because she reads mostly on her tablet now. I sold my Kobo afterward, and the buyer told me he wanted it because his wife had been reading on her tablet and didn’t like it much. My mom has a Kobo, but only uses it when she travels. She reads paper books at home. My co-worker bus buddy, who takes the same route as me and has spent many a commute talking books with me, can’t stand reading on a backlit device and carries her eInk Kindle everywhere. She was unimpressed with the light on my Kindle Paperwhite, and has no interest whatsoever in synccing books to her phone.
My plea for my fellow book-lovers is this: let’s stop judging! If someone wants to use their ebook reader only on vacations and cling to paper books at home, bully for them. If someone else wants to read classics for free from Project Gutenberg, great—and if someone else wants Kindle deal of the day genre romance novels, why not, and I hope they enjoy them. I am friends on Goodreads with several fellow Teleread contributors, and their books pop up in my review feed all the time. Sometimes, I look at them and think ‘hmmm, great idea’ and other times, I shrug and leave them to their totally non-appealing (to me) genre fantasy.
I like my new Kindle a lot. You don’t want a Kindle because Amazon is the evil overlord? Fine, enjoy your Kobo or Sony or tablet-based indie app. I mean that sincerely. Enjoy it! I hope for you that you find books that you enjoy, that you get pleasure and happiness from reading them, and that you never run out of good sources to purchase them from. Or maybe you do want a Kindle, and you plan to fill it with nothing but best-sellers from popular authors. To you, I also say great, and have fun.
Sometimes, a critical discourse is needed. When I wrote my recent three-part Kindle review. I took care to be as detailed and critical—both of the pros and cons—as possible, because I was writing in the context of helping people evaluate whether this device would be a good choice for them or not. But there does not need to be any judging there. You are not an idiot if you disagree with me and feel that the Kindle is not for you. You are not a better person if you read my comments and then make the same choice I did.
The important thing is that we are reading! Paper, eInk, tablet, however we do it, we are reading. We need to stop judging our fellow book-lovers and let them enjoy this books.