The Ebook Possibility

I’ve been reading Ebooks for some time, around three years, I think.  Now I read them almost exclusively. If I had had time to think about it, I would have held ground in favour of paper books, the smell, the weight, the way they gradually deform from handling and from then on look more loved. I am sure I would have, but I didn’t.

It was around the time my old dad became more frail and because he wished to remain in his home, I began to spend more and more time between two houses, his and mine. My things needed to be portable. I was still working as a magazine journalist and was carrying with me a lot of stuff and I was still printing out research because I wanted it beside me as I wrote. Anyway, I decided to buy one of the very early tablets, bought a little bag for it and found a species of paper notebook which could fit inside the bag as well and my movement to miniaturisation began.

I was already familiar with digital books. Some of my work required me to source reading material online because what I needed wasn’t available in bookstores in Australia and my deadlines meant a wait for the delivery of paper books was impossible. Now with the tablet, digital books moved into my life in a more significant way.

It was wonderful and it still is. I love that I have a library at my fingertips. If I don’t feel like reading fiction, I can swap to something I’m researching for my writing. I love that I can upload my own work as a PDF and read it in the same way as I read other people’s books and I can see the flaws more easily. Mostly, I love how much reading I can get done in small snatches of time during my day.

It is true though if my opinion had been asked prior to an experience with ebook reading, I might have found a road block. The sentimentality within me would have forced a response in defence of paper. The thing is that just didn’t happen because deep inside it doesn’t matter how I do it and when I do it and in what format or on what device, I do it, I just really love reading. I am the person who reads all of the advertising in trains and buses and so am often craving one thing or another, life insurance or a KFC dinner box in Australian cricket colours by the time I have gotten where I need to be.

Anyway, back to my point. My point is its the reading which is important, not the medium and if this is true, then our ability to read just got a hell of a lot easier. The depth of it and the range, the convenience and the portability has transformed the art of reading and has brought before us the old and timeless, the new and innovative, the authors which we already love and those we are eager to meet. The ebook possibility is deaf to our scoffing in favour of paper books.  It doesn’t mind.   It has time on its side.