I’ve always been an ardent fan of physical books, refusing to read e-books as much as possible. There’s something about the feel of a non-electronic book, of how you can feel the weight and texture of a physical tome, and how the book smells, and how the pages rustle when the wind blows fiercely (San Francisco is surprisingly windy at times), that I find irresistible.

But the times are changing, and I decided to give e-books a try. This had nothing to do with Amazon adding free e-books as a Prime benefit. That was simply a coincidence.

I’ve been reading my first e-book on my iPhone for the past 10 days now. Here’s how I feel about e-books so far:

  • I miss everything I wrote in the first paragraph of this post about physical books. 
  • Having a book pretty much always with you (since I was reading this book on my phone) is excellent. I find it hard to carry a book with me unless I’m also carrying a backpack, but when the book is on your phone this is a non-issue. I’ve found myself reading much more as a result of this. Previous moments of solitary, aimless waiting have now been transformed into consumption of passages of an e-book.
  • I typically read 2-3 books at a time, and having the ability to carry all of them with me always will be great.
  • I have a (bad) habit of folding down the corners of pages of books. I do this when the page has a nice line (or lines) that I would like write down at some point. With e-books this is another non-issue — I simply highlight the lines in the app. Though this does take out the fun of going back to a page I folded and trying to figure out which line caught my attention in the first place.
  • Reading in between sets at the gym is fun. Though sometimes I lose track of time and end up with unintentionally long breaks.
  • One of the more interesting things about having physical books on display, say on a book shelf, or lying untidily in a pile by your bed, is that they are a great conversation starter. Or even a conversation killer. With e-books this facet of reading is lost.

Overall I’ve quite enjoyed my first encounter with an e-book. I don’t see it ever replacing physical books for me, but I do see it augmenting my reading experience moving forward.


3 thoughts on “Halcyon”

  1. I suggest supplementing with a Kindle or an actual e-reader. I like the mobile to-go aspects you mentioned about reading on a phone, however, I _hate_ blaring an LCD into my eyes before bed. A Kindle is a nice in-between and the pages sync. Also, if you’re into audiobooks, Kindle and Audible’s integration is amazing.

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