Is It Real?

I’ve been reading an ebook and I feel lost.  I resorted to the ebook because I was invited to join an informal virtual bookclub.  Book discussion group may be a more accurate description.  Since I don’t see many people this seemed like a good idea.  Although I often take recommendations, reading a book someone else chose is kind of an infringement on my already crowded “to read” list, but connection is connection.  The problem was I couldn’t get a physical copy of the book delivered before the first meeting.  I struggled with whether or not to buy the ebook for hours.  I just can’t get over the feeling that I’m paying for something that can disappear at the next upgrade and all my effort in reading it will have been lost.  I’m a book keeper.  (Not a bookkeeper.)

After a morning of angst, I finally clicked on “buy.”  I’ve been reading the book but I’m finding it disorienting.  When I read an actual book, I quite often take a look at the physical object and assess it as I’m reading.  Appraise it.  Who is the author again?  Who published it?  When?  In the ebook world that information is obviously available, but it’s not where I expect to find it.  And there’s the matter of pages.  I measure my progress of book reading by the location of my physical bookmarks.  I can tell at a glance to the top of the book how my progress is.  A slider bar just doesn’t do it.  I click out of it and check on Amazon.  How many pages does this book actually have?  Why does my e-version have a different number?  Won’t that confuse the discussion?

I don’t feel so guilty about marking up an ebook, I’m finding.  Highlighting in a print book always annoys me—I don’t want some previous owner telling me what I should remember.  This ebook won’t get passed on to anyone else (that’s the genius of the business model—the ebook isn’t available for resale, which more durable, actual books are).  As I’m doing this I recollect that I’ve only ever read two ebooks before, both fiction.  They didn’t make much of an impact because it was only in writing this post that I remembered them at all.  The world of the coronavirus has taken its toll, I guess.  I’m reading an ebook and I can’t wait to finish so I can get my hands on the real thing again.

2 thoughts on “Is It Real?

  1. Hi, Steve.

    I made the leap to ebooks a long while ago (physical proximity to Amazon here in the PNW? Who knows….) I still have an enormous number of print books that I have either not read (purchased over the years with the promise to myself that I’d eventually get time to read them all….) or enjoy rereading. While I fully appreciate my IRL books, my Kindle books have made it easier for me to actually read, since my eyesight has started to go…enlarge the typeface and brighten the background and VOILA!…I find reading The Plague easier (at least physically….emotionally is another matter…). Sadly, it’s a much bigger challenge for me to go back to my IRL books because of those limitations, but having an additional challenge fobbed off on me at this time can be a good thing, depending on my mood of the day! I may yet pick that out-of-print tome by Thomas Mann as my next journey….

    Cheers, and thanks for always writing of things that are truly interesting…..

    Like

    • Thanks, Jeff. I always appreciate your shares and likes and comments.

      I can certainly see the appeal of ebooks to many people. The font size changes and brightness adjustments are a boon to anyone with deteriorating eyesight, and may be the only way many people can read. It just doesn’t work for me yet. Perhaps it’s because I spend all day reading on screen for work. I’m glad ebooks are out there, in any case, but I just can’t get over my love of paper.

      Stay well!

      Like

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