Friday, August 6, 2010

The Tale Of An E-Book Convert By Sara Townsend

I have to admit to being initially a little wary of the whole e-book phenomenon. After all, e-books don’t have the feel and smell of old books. You can’t take an e-reader into the bath with you. I thought that reading an e-book just wasn’t going to be as enjoyable as reading a paper book.

I was, however, persuaded to buy an e-reader this year, and I have to say that I have revised my opinion. E-books have distinct advantages. No more do I have to cram half a dozen books into my suitcase (sacrificing valuable luggage space) when I go on holiday. My e-reader will hold hundreds of books, and it takes up very little space in my hand luggage. The e-ink screen means I can sit by the pool, in the glare of the tropical sun, and read it easily.

The e-reader is smaller than an average paperback, and it fits easily into my handbag, so I am never short of a book to read. This is coming in very useful on my daily commute. In the days of old, if I finished reading a book on the train going in to work, I’d have to find room somewhere to carry the next one, so I’d have something to read on the way home. Now I can just switch to another e-book on the e-reader.

The space saving feature of e-books has another advantage. I am addicted to buying, and reading, books. So is my husband. We have a three bedroom house that technically should be plenty big enough for two people, but every room is crammed with books. We now have to have a cull every once in a while, but even then I can’t bear to part with any of them and they end up being stored in the attic. With my e-reader, however, I can buy as many books as I like and they take up no space at all – I am only limited by the memory on my computer (and with portable memory devices being capable of holding vast amounts of files these days, that’s not really a problem).

I have also found the e-reader to be a much more convenient reading device during my lunch break than the traditional paper book. It used to be I would sit in the café where I eat my lunch trying to eat my soup one handed while I held the book in the other hand, invariably ending up with tomato stains all over my crisp white work blouse. The e-reader, however, lies flat on the table, and I can easy read it while I eat lunch with both hands, as the only time I need to touch the e-reader is to hit the ‘page turn’ button. Thus I go back to work without having spilled my lunch all over my outfit.

Yes, I love my e-reader and I can’t imagine life without it. This doesn’t mean to say, though, that I’ve stopped buying paper books. I love to browse in second-hand book shops, taking in that lovely ‘old book’ smell. I love to collect personally signed copies of books by my favourite writers when I meet them at conventions. I love to be surrounded by books. I especially love soaking in the bath, up to the neck in bubbles, with a cup of tea (or glass of wine, if it’s been a particularly rough day) and a book. This will always be one of my favourite forms of ‘me’ time.

Most bibliophiles, like me, have room in their lives for both formats. The e-book is not going to kill off the print book, in spite of what the critics might believe. The two formats enhance each other, and I believe that the future of publishing lies in e-books and print books existing in harmony. Publishers are starting to realise this, and I think it won’t be long before more and more of them release their back catalogues in electronic format. After all, supply must meet demand, and the demand for e-books has been steadily increasing over the last few years. Like it or not, e-books are here to stay.

About the Author: Sara-Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her husband Chris.

She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person. Her first novel, SUFFER THE CHILDREN was published as an e-book by Lyrical Press, Inc. earlier this year.
Her website can be found at:


  1. Love my Kindle, and now my iPad. I actually put whichever book I am reading and switch on and off depending on whether I need a backlight. Only the Kindle goes to the tub or beach though - in a dry bag or heavy duty zip lock. Reading a real book seems so outré ;-) steph

  2. Though I have a Sony Reader, I still continue to buy paperbacks. Hey, I need to fill up those bookcases with something besides dust, right?

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  3. I have kindle and a ebookwise and I'm pn the list for a new kindle. I love te 2 that I have and would not do without them.


  4. Great post!! I adore my Sony Reader for many of the reasons as you....I love taking it to the gym!


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