I was thinking about my relationship with books over the years and whether or not I could bite the bullet and just go ebook only. I finally decided that I’m just not ready. My reasoning is a bit complicated. I decided that it comes down to a lot of things. I’ll just list a few out:
- An ebook feels to me like the same level of book experience as a paperback. Unfortunately, they cost more than a paperback and after you’re done with them you can’t sell them to a used book store or swap them with one of your friends for one of theirs. So, with the cost of physical book production and distribution down and the cost to purchase up, they just feel overpriced.
- With most ebook sellers, the books are wrapped in DRM. For me this is a two fold problem. First, if I switch platforms or my chosen ebook provider decides to ditch the ebook business, I probably won’t be able to move my purchased books to the platform I’m switching to. Second, if I ever lose access to the account associated with my books for some reason, I’ll lose access to my content the next time I need to authenticate my books.
- An ebook reader isn’t as impressive as walls full of books. Well, it isn’t! Of course, that’s not a concern to me because I need more space in my house, but I do like having some books on shelves. There is something comforting about it. It just might be the years I spent reading books as a kid though. Possibly those feelings will fade.
- Books shouldn’t need batteries. I liked being able to take a book with me anywhere and be able to read as long as I had enough light. Now, if you’re out camping, you need to bring extra power along in order to read your ebooks for the whole trip. Plus, you don’t feel properly disconnected from your digital life if you’re reading on a digital device.
All those things being said, I love the concept of hundreds of books in my bag, ready for me to read at anytime. I’ve wanted that for a long time. The ability to fit a small library in my bag without much weight, so that I can easily take my books anywhere is great. The thought that my book is now something of enough value that it is a potential target of theft, isn’t so great. Ebook readers are also expensive enough that I really have to worry about losing them.
While I don’t feel ready to give up all my books, I think I will donate some of the classics I own that I can acquire ebook versions of for free. I can use the space. I already have more than a few books on my iPad, but haven’t finished a single one. I’m not sure if the format is a factor or just my busy schedule, but ebooks still don’t call out to me in the same way as paper books do. I guess I’m just not ready to commit to ebooks just yet.