I never thought I’d want an e-reader.
I was one of those kids who always had her nose in a book. One of the things I liked about those books was the variety in design—the heft of the Oz books, the slim elegance of Alice in Wonderland. I savored classic drawings by Tenniel and Shepard, end papers with exotic maps, and the occasional volume with deckle-edged pages. All my life, I have loved the feel—and smell—of a book in my hands.
Economic necessity, for starters. As an independent author, I network with other authors. Many, like me, are not well known. My local library doesn’t stock their books. I wanted to read and discuss those books, but the cost of buying them all was prohibitive. Enter the e-reader—and a world of freebies and low-cost promotions.
I chose an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite because it’s a well-established brand and touted as easiest on the eyes. (No, Amazon didn’t ask me to say that!) A friend recommended the Kindle Fire, but I wanted a dedicated reader, not another mini-computer that needs to be charged every night like my smartphone. Amazon claims the Paperwhite can run eight weeks on a single charge. That hasn’t been true for me—my usage is probably above average, and I keep Wi-Fi turned on to facilitate downloading. But I still charge it weekly, not nightly.
I requested the Kindle as a gift for my sixty-sixth birthday. My husband bought the reader, my son supplied the case, and I solicited gift certificates from others—to buy books, of course!
I love the convenience. I read in bed without another light source. My reader slips into my purse for a solitary luncheon or a stint in my doctor’s waiting room, and I can’t wait to travel with it. I have the Kindle app on my smartphone, and I switch between e-reader and phone. The system “knows” how far I’ve read and takes me to the latest page.
I heartily recommend e-readers to my contemporaries. Best-selling author Anne R. Allen wrote a blog post in December, Why Your Grandma Wants an E-Reader for the Holidays (Even Though She Doesn’t Know It). Ms. Allen cited three physical reasons why e-readers are ideal for older people: adjustable font sizes, lighter weight, and the ability to download books instantly without traveling to the bookstore or library. You can read her entire post at http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2013/12/why-your-grandma-wants-e-reader-for.html.
Another thought: For boomers who are downsizing their homes, an e-reader is an alternative to a library of bulky books.
One of the best parts is discovering a myriad of websites that provide links to free and discounted e-books. Here are just a few:
In addition, I purchased an Amazon Prime subscription. One of its many benefits is a free, not yet released, Kindle book every month. I can borrow a second book monthly.
With minimal cost and maximum convenience, I’ve stacked up hundreds of books on my Kindle. Some are efforts from newbie authors who hope I’ll review their books favorably on Amazon and Goodreads. But others are classics and best-sellers. I’ve downloaded Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, Stephen King’s The Shining and Doctor Sleep, and the Anne of Green Gables books I loved as a child.
The only problem now is finding time to cook, do laundry, or keep up with my own writing—anything but sneaking off to download and read books. This feels like an illicit love affair.
Have I changed your thinking about e-readers?