Confessions of a Luddite

I have a confession to make.

I don’t really like reading e-books.

I spend all day in front of a computer at my day job. On the weekends, I spend at least half of each day in front of my laptop, writing fiction. Despite anti-glare and backlighting, when I read a book I don’t want to have to pull out another device. I don’t want to carry another device around. I don’t want to press buttons and scroll and hold a plastic thing in my hands. I want a book made out of paper.

Also, I have arthritis in my hands, so using an e-reader is physically painful after a while. Maybe when they get lighter….

(If anyone’s wondering, yes, I am prepared for the demise of paper books; I have a lovely stash for when the paper book famine comes.)

Some practical concerns of mine include cost of the reader; losing files from the reader; losing the reader itself, full of purchased files; and especially, since I am a worrier, worrying about losing the reader that cost so much, or the files.

It’s nothing against the content of e-books. When there’s an e-book I want to read, the first thing I do is buy it, then see if I can print it out, usually on scrap paper, and read it that way. I recycle the print copy when I’m done.

If I can’t print the book out, I put the book into the e-book folder on my laptop. There are a lot of books in there right now. I mean to read them. I want to read them. But it takes a while. Usually I get to my e-books when I’m on, for instance, a long trip (some Amtrak cars have plugs for laptops, and so does the Bolt Bus). But even then, I might read a paper book instead.

And, if I really enjoy the book, I wait for it to come out in print. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes it doesn’t.

My choices end up being self-selecting. I read a lot of books, and I read them quickly, but because I prefer the old-fashioned format, I miss a lot of what’s good in the e-book world. Then again, I miss a lot of print books as well. I know that, eventually, I will have to adapt or be left behind. But for the moment, I’m happy as I am.

I haven’t run out of things to read yet.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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3 Responses to Confessions of a Luddite

  1. LDWatkins says:

    I want to hold the book in my hand, maybe steal a look at it throughout the day when busy otherwise, and think about holding it in my hands, or maybe in my lap if I doze, and then take it to bed with me to read a few pages before I fall asleep. Nope, I want a book!

  2. Victoria Janssen says:

    Perhaps we need furry e-readers….

  3. Heather says:

    I have difficulty reading books on the computer or other device as well. Like you, I want to be able to hold the actual book in my hands, to curl up with it in a hot bath or in bed… Plus, as you mentioned, there are health aspects. My left elbow gets really sore if I hold the Nintendo DS too long, so reading a book for hours with an electronic device would definitely be out. Thankfully, I don't think we'll see the demise of print books any time soon.

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