After my work gave me a Nook Simple Touch (created by Barnes & Noble) to play about with, I read The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. It was my first experience of reading an eBook in its entirety and I thought it high time that I consider ereaders properly and what my experience on using them were. It is a completely different experience – I’ll admit that I have been slightly against them, always favouring physical books.
There were a few things which I didn’t particularly like – the fact that I can’t flick through the pages to see how long the chapter is; the glare that you get when reading it next to a lamp or something like that; the worry that you’ll run out of battery; I find the buttons on the Nook can be a bit stiff when you’re flicking back and forward; and I kept finding that if something landed on the screen it was really sensitive, and pages would flick back and forth if I tried to wipe something off. The Nook also doesn’t lend itself very well to reading PDF or Word documents, something I find a bit frustrating as it would be quite useful for work to read manuscripts before publication.
Saying all that, I did enjoy some aspects of it – it’s light, fairly user-friendly and I do like having a reading light on it. It is so easy to download loads of books – there is a whole library at your fingertips and if you fancy reading something, it only takes a few minutes to download. Recently, Barnes & Noble had a 3-day 99p sale and I went on a bit of a binge, splurging on books that are currently out in hardback and that I was loath to buy because of that. I bought several books:
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
May We Be Forgiven by AM Homes
I had the same rush and excitement I got from buying physical books but I can’t help but think that flash sales like that do devalue the book as an object somewhat – and yet, I succumbed. It is hard to resist a book at the best of times, even more so when it is so cheap. If I had the physical copy of a book in my flat, I doubt very much that I’d read it on an ereader. I find I read slowly on the Nook and I get the sense that I’m reading this never-ending document. There were also character errors and typos in my copy of The Best of Everything and I just find it all a bit impersonal if that makes any sense. Cold, almost, as if the book has been robbed of its casing and all that’s left is its naked soul. I miss that feeling of contentment when you look at a book on your shelf and you start thinking about it all over again, or pick it up and flick through it to read that passage that you really liked. I am definitely a bibliophile! They are definitely different beasts, ebooks and physical books but I understand the benefits of both. I will be reading on my Nook from time to time, especially the books I bought in the sale, but I wouldn’t consider myself a convert yet, even if books do seem to be filling up my shelves rather rapidly…