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Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I have loved books for as long as I can remember. Some of my fondest memories are of going to the library with my mother when I was a toddler. She'd check out books and we’d go home and she’d read them to me. I particularly loved one series, about a duck and a Scottie dog. My mother instilled a love of reading in me, an amazing feat considering she never finished high school and I never saw her read a book, except the ones she read to me.

I love the smell of books. When I walk into a bookstore or a library and inhale that book scent, I feel warm and calm all over. You book lovers out there know what I mean.

When I was a young teen I'd take the bus into the city to go to the library. We had only one library in the area, a large, elegant building stuffed to the high ceilings with books. I loved that place and I knew every inch of it. I visited my old library a few years ago when I worked in the city. As soon as I walked through the ornate doors, the rush I’d felt decades ago whenever I inhaled the familiar scent of books hit me as if time had stood still.

Are any of you familiar with the classic Twilight Zone episode where a bookworm is locked in a library after a nuclear attack? He's thrilled that he's surrounded by all those books with time to read them. Then he drops his eyeglasses and crushes them accidentally and can't see to read. That story still haunts me. I know exactly how he felt.

Why am I telling you how much I love books? Because I've found a new love - my Kindle. I resisted getting an ereader because I felt disloyal to paper books and I couldn't imagine an electronic device could take the place of a book. I finally broke down and ordered a Kindle in August 2010. I love it so much the date it came in the mail, September 18, 2010, is engraved in my memory.

Am I a traitor to "real" books? Like a dangerous lover, the Kindle is so seductive, so addictive. In my office I'm surrounded by bookcases filled to overflowing with books, most of which I haven't read yet. I sometimes feel those books are staring at me and thinking, "How could you abandon us?"

I plan to read all those books someday, yet when I want to read something, I reach for my Kindle. I love pressing that button to go to the next page. I love how I can change the font so it's easier to read. I love the feel of it in my hands, the weight and the compactness. I have a beautiful bright green cover on my white Kindle and I think it looks so stylish. A lot of people don’t cover their Kindles, but I want to protect my baby.

The Kindle works really well at the gym. I prop it on my exercise bike and I read away. Sometimes I'm so engrossed in a book that I go way over my usual miles. The Kindle as weight-loss program. Um. I can see the ads now, complete with celebrity endorsements. Marie Osmond riding an exercise bike while reading her Kindle.

Another benefit of the Kindle over print books is its ease when traveling. Now I can take my slim Kindle when I travel and not have to pack several large paperbacks. I have found one problem when traveling with the Kindle. I have to keep it in a secure place, like the in-room safe. Some hotels charge a small daily rate to use the in-room safe. I’ve paid the fee to protect my Kindle from theft. You can leave a print book in your hotel room and not worry about it. Maybe I’m too security conscious when I travel, but I won’t leave my Kindle out in the open.

There are other drawbacks to the Kindle. I don’t get a warning when the battery is low, as I do with my iPhone. At the gym the other day a woman was reading her Kindle on the bike next to me. Her battery died and she was left with nothing to read.

As much as I love my Kindle and love reading ebooks, I'm a bit cheap. I love free books. Who doesn't? Before I download a free book, I read the description. If it's a book that interests me I'll download it. I won't download a book I'm not interested in reading just because it's free. I have a price point beyond which I won't go. I won't pay more than $6.00 for an ebook. Many publishers price their ebooks at $9.99, more than a print book. That makes no sense and in my opinion does a disservice to the authors. Do I value ebooks as less important than print because I refuse to pay the publishers' high prices? I don't know. But that doesn't mean I love my Kindle less.

How about you? Do you have an ereader or are you holding out in loyalty to print books? If you have an ereader, do you love it and is there a price point beyond which you refuse to go?


Paris said...

I love my Sony eReader because I'm able to find wonderful authors and books that larger publishers might have passed on because they didn't feel they were commercially viable.

Like you, I only download a free-read when the story interests me. As for price, so far, if it's an author that I love, I've paid as much as $8 and haven't regretted it.

LKF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LKF said...

Lets try this again. I have a kindle and love it. I carry it in my purse so I always have something to read. I haven't paid anymore than $7 for book so far and I also download the free ones that interest me. I would be so lost without mine. :}

Adele Dubois said...

I love my Kindle, too. Whenever I download a new book I feel the same excitement I experince when I buy a new paperback. I'll always buy ebooks, but I'll continue to buy paperbacks, too. I love them both.

Pricing will work itself out as the market becomes more stable. No matter what the price, though, we're paying for an author's creativity and the right to access their intellectual property. The format in which we receive that material is optional.


Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Paris, LKF and Adele, for posting. I still love paper books too, but I've surprised myself at how much I love reading on my Kindle. Adele, I'm sure the prices will work themselves out.

Nancy said...

Hubby bought me a Kindle when DRAGON'S CURSE was published and appeared at Amazon. I love my e-reader, especially on a long trip, but I still have shelves full of 'real' books. They both have their good points & cons. Nice post!

Cara Marsi said...

Hi, Nancy, thanks for posting. You're right that ebooks and print books each have their pros and cons. I will eventually read all those print books in my office, if I could just keep my hands off my Kindle.

Anonymous said...

I love my kindle and am thinking of getting a nook...I know, crazy...I mostly read the kindle because of the font size...I have problems with glasses and the Kindle makes it so much easier on my eyes! I will pay pretty much anything, as long as I want the book.

jean hart stewart said...

I have a Nook which is I love, but doubt if I ever kick the real book habit. Although I seldom buy new ones. My library has an excellent second hand store and I get a lot there. I'm a fast reader, so have to watch how much I spend.

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Cara. Handsome gave me a Kindle for my birthday last fall. We travel and carrying a bunch of books loaded the luggage even tho I left some behind on the bedside table.

I've been given freebies and bought low cost ones. I thoroughly enjoy it. However, I do buy paper books too.

The Kindle program and e-publishers have made it easier to find new authors too.

Karen Cote said...

Lovely topic and one growing more popular even as I write this. I have a nook but since getting my iPad, I mostly read from it. I have a stylus so I just swipe the screen to turn the page and can access nook and kindle books. The downside is the backlite but I just went to the eye doc and my eyes are healthy even tho they get tired more on my iPad than my nook. The beauty of my nook is I bought my daughter a nook and put her on my account. Now she can read whatever I download and vice-versa.

Your reminiscing really touched me, however, and as the sun is shining along with other people's wonderful gestures, I truly appreciated the time I spent here today.


Diana Layne said...

Kindle lover here, too. Had considered it but would not pay the high price (2nd gen) then hubby surprised me with it a couple of Christmas's ago and I'm hooked!

Kenzie Michaels said...

I love my Sony, and wish these had been around when I was a kid: I always had a suitcase full of books for the car trip or if we flew, came back with several more.

I'd love to own a Kindle; my Sony only has three fonts: microscopic; regular; and way too large. Plus, I could one-stop shop:)

Doesn't the Kindle have a battery-thing which shows you the charge status?

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Tess, Jean, Vicki, Karen, Diana and Kenzie. I really appreciate your visit. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be so being able to increase the font is such a benefit. There may be a way to tell when the battery is low, but I haven't figured it out yet. The woman next to me at the gym was shocked her battery went dead and said she wished the Kindle would let you know when the battery is low. Of course she could be as technically challenged as I am. Thanks again for posting.

Liz said...

I'm an Ipad reader right now but got me mum a Kindle Fire for xmas and she is loving it!

Susan Macatee said...

I was like you. Loved books all my life. Loved the library and browsing bookstores. But a few years back I bought myself a Nook. And I love it! I loved that I could download e-books stored in my PC that I'd never read, because I couldn't enjoy reading a book while sitting at my desk. I also like that I can download books directly from Barnes and Noble, but like you, I don't buy e-books priced over $6.00. And with the Nook, I can see if the battery's getting low so I can recharge it. I also like to take it camping, because I don't have to bring along several paperback books like I used to. My Nook has plenty of reads I haven't gotten to yet. I still have boxes of print books I didn't read yet, but I'll get to them all eventually. Just not stocking up my print library anymore. Only my Nook.

Terry Odell said...

Since my first sale was to an e-publisher, I've been on the digital bandwagon for years. Even before the Kindle was a glimmer in Amazon's eye. I had (still do) an eBookwise and fell in love with one-handed reading and reading in the dark. Now, since e-books are no longer restricted to those few e-publishers's sites, I have the NOOK color, and I love it even more. Yes, I still have mega print books, and I love them too. I don't think it's right to say one or the other. There's room for both.

I will pay mass market paperback prices for a select few beloved authors, but I price mine between 99 cents and $2.99, and love the free sample option when I want to try a new author.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Cara Marsi said...

Liz, thanks for commenting. I would love an iPAD. I was looking at the Kindle Fire at Staples the other day and salivating over it. I may have to upgrade.

Susan, thanks for commenting. Yes, we are exactly alike in our love of our ereaders and our stacks of paper books. Nice to know I'm not the only one who won't buy an ebook priced over $6.00.

Terry, thanks for posting. You're definitely a digital pioneer. I wish my Kindle had color. The new Fire does. I agree there is room for both print and ebooks. I price my indie books at 99 cents or $2.99.

Marianne Stephens said...

I love my Kindle, too! So does my husband. So, for Christmas I got a Kindle Fire and gave him my Kindle.
Now I have to play with the Kindle Fire and learn how to use it...kinda like what I'm doing with my new phone (my last one was so old it didn't take photos). Yes, I upgrade in technology slowly as I try to absorb what's already "old" technology.
Print books? I rarely buy any and am purging my print book collection. Keeping just those I really want to save.

Cara Marsi said...

Marianne, thanks for posting. Enjoy your Kindle Fire. It takes me a while to figure out the technology when I get something new. I purged my print books about 6 years ago and my collection has grown out of hand again.

Cara Marsi said...

Marianne, thanks for posting. Enjoy your Kindle Fire. It takes me a while to figure out the technology when I get something new. I purged my print books about 6 years ago and my collection has grown out of hand again.

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