I bought myself an e-reader. I know plenty of people are against them, and I do see that point of view. But I think it has it’s advantages. I tend to read rather large books – the Wilkie Collins I’m lugging around at the moment is roughly the size and weight of a housebrick – and an e-reader will be much lighter. I also worry about finishing a book whilst I’m out, and end up having nothing to read (be without a book? Never!). With the e-book, I’m carrying around a lot of books. But the I think the best thing – and what’s good for writers too, will be the ‘immediate gratification’.
You see, I live in a town that does not have a bookshop. (Yes, this town is part of London, a civilized, cultured city. And yet has no bookshop, theatre or cinema.) So if I read about a book in a newspaper, or someone mentions it to me, or I just have a passing fancy for a biography of Queen Elizabeth, I have to travel 20 minutes to a very small bookshop that may not have it, or over an hour to a much larger one. Or order it online and wait a week for it. And if I have to go to all that trouble, I’ll probably not bother.
But with the e-book, I’m online and ordering it straight away. Instant gratification. And a book that I wouldn’t have bought, I have bought.
Not that I’m giving up real books. I love real books. If I’m at home, curled up on the sofa, it has to be a real book. I love the smell of a new book, the feel of untouched pages, the heft of it in my hands. And if I know I’m going to keep a book for a good long time, like a new Garth Nix, I shall buy it in book form. And if it has a gorgeous book jacket, such as a Paul Kidby cover to a Terry Pratchett, I shall buy the book too. I’ll never give up real books.
And I guess I shall end up buying copies in book form and e-book form. After all, I own Sergeant Pepper on vinyl, tape and CD. Why shouldn’t I own Jane Eyre on paper and e-book too?
Merry Christmas everyone!