Okay, here’s a fun fact about me: I don’t care how you read your books.
Let that sink in. Breathe deep. Read it again: I don’t care how you read your books. For some reason, however, there exist people who care deeply about how I read MY books. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but when I tell people that I have just downloaded Whatever Novel by This Certain Author, I used to get a disproportionate number of responses that include “Oh, I would never read on a Kindle. I just can’t. For this set of reasons that I will now tell you.” I am forced, by the rules of polite conversation, to nod and smile and listen while this ridiculous person sings the virtues of the paper book. Ever since I decided to take pruning shears to the people that I associated with, the frequency of this phenomenon has decreased dramatically. I still run into it online, fortunately not always directed at me.
Ever since Kindles and Nooks arrived on the scene, I have seen way too many people feeling the need to proclaim that they hate e-readers and e-books. Like, okay? How would you feel if somebody went around shouting about how they couldn’t stand to read hardcovers? If you read online, constantly, that reading paperbacks just wasn’t as good as reading on a sleek, slim e-reader? What if, and I’m just imagining amusing scenarios here, an e-book reader felt the need to tell you that they hated the way that paper books smell?
Reverse that feeling and you have me, every single time I encounter another person who feels the need to announce that they refuse to read e-books. Okay, I’m delighted for you. Go somewhere else now.
I loved Stephen King novels growing up. I’ve never read The Stand or IT (don’t start with me). As an adult, when I have tried to knock these bricks off of my book bucket list, I’ve failed several times due to sheer size of the things. Even the paperbacks are more unwieldy than I am truly comfortable with. I have a Kindle now; I can read those books if I really want to. My day job taxes my hands and arms tremendously. I’m frequently in pain at the end of the day. So reading e-books is an accessibility issue for me. I couldn’t read books if I didn’t have an e-reader. Imagine, if you will, the sensation of having your entire arm slammed in a door. Not just a finger; your ENTIRE ARM. This is a feeling that I deal with regularly. Now imagine having that feeling, being a book lover, and facing down a 400+ page hardcover. Screw that, imagine being unable to manage a semi-illustrated, 200 page paperback. Furthermore, I enjoy comics and graphic novels but I have literally no space to store a collection of them. Enter e-comics. I CAN READ COMICS NOW. An entire new world of reading has opened up to me.
If you’re a paper-books-only person, congratulations! You are part of a sector of readers that is different from the one where I live. That doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. But unless we’re having a discussion that actually merits you saying it, and you feel the need to tell me that you just can’t get into e-books, or that you refuse to read e-books, take that need, throw it in a mental sack, and toss it deep into the depths of your mental basement. I don’t need to hear it, and you don’t need to say it.