Today I brought home my brand new, shiny e-reader. I won it while I was on my tag rugby weekend in Dublin: a fantastic compensation for running around in the rain all day you might remark! My ankles; however, are still smarting. So I am using that as an excuse to relax, browse the internet taking advantage of as many free ebooks as I can find and charging my new gadget.
It seems a fitting product to have acquired given that I am a student of writing and spend copious amounts of time reading. I must confess I am as yet in two minds about the digital revolution. I am at my happiest when I’m reading a good book and it worries me that, should I convert to e-reading, my reading practices will have to change and compensate accordingly.
I will not be able, for example, to loll around on a beach with my e-reader, casting it into the sand when I have a sudden craving for ice cream; and how would it fare when my family paddles back up to our pitch and drips water all over it? I will feel uneasy in taking it on public transport and can already see myself hunched over it, concealing the device beneath my arm for fear of mugging. After all, an e-reader is worth considerably more than a paperback in pure monetary terms. I won’t be able to relax in the bath for fear of dropping it into the water. It is much smaller than a book and may get lost down the side of the sofa when I lose concentration. More worryingly, I may momentarily forget it isn’t a book and accidentally catapult it across the room in trying to turn a page.
I will certainly be putting the e-reader to some use and from first impressions it seems great, but I will reserve judgment on whether it will become a permanent fixture in my life. Is it shiny and fantastic? Yes. Does it do more for me than a book? Yes. The question remains as to whether it will be as pleasurable a reading experience as a real book. Watch this space.