How to Love eBooks: Slice of Life 19/31 #sol20

Yes, I can use the Kindle to read a literary novel, or a business bestseller, or a sci-fi thriller, but they all come out tasting like Kindle. 

Alexandra Samuel, 7 Ways You Can Learn to Love Reading eBooks

I wish I could learn to love reading on a device. The convenience–and the pricing–is so tempting. Thousands of books available right now on my library app to download for free? Thousands more available at low prices to purchase online? It’s a book lover’s dream.

Only I hate reading on my phone, iPad, or laptop.

That’s not entirely accurate. I read–very happily–all day long on both my phone and laptop. But I don’t read books. I read tweets and posts and blogs and articles and poems and instructions and recipes and news and reviews and academic articles with ease. But not books.

I have tried so many times, but it just doesn’t feel right. I wonder if Louise Rosenblatt’s two types of reading come into play here. Reading on a device is mostly efferent reading for me, reading for a purpose, reading for information. Reading physical books is mostly aesthetic reading for me, reading for absorption and appreciation of literary merit and craft.

Digital reading, for me, is more bite-sized and less demanding of full attention. It’s the reading I do when I only have a few minutes to read or I know my attention will be called away unpredictably and frequently. My brain seems trained now for these conditions. Even when it’s quiet and I’m alone, I can’t seem to rein in my wandering attention when I’m reading on a device.

And then there is the fact that I am constantly trying to talk myself into putting down the phone and shutting the laptop. I don’t wish to add even more time to the time I already spend glued to a device.

Still, I long to be a more flexible reader, able to access all those wonderful ebooks, to shift between paper and screen easily.

If you are an ereader, how did you learn to love (or at least tolerate) it?


This post was inspired by an exercise Amy Ludwig VanderWater shared in her video, Keeping a Notebook 2: Learnings: make lists in your notebook of things you’ve learned and things you’d like to learn, and then select one to write about. Learning to love ereading was on my “Things I’d Like to Learn” list.






19 responses to “How to Love eBooks: Slice of Life 19/31 #sol20”

  1. mrsday75 Avatar

    I have learned to love my kindle app on my ipad–not as much as I love a real book, but love it for different reasons. I started using it when we traveled. I can always get a book, I don’t have to lug a bag of “real” ones with me. I usually read beachy things on the ipad. It automatically saves my page! I can read with the lights off, which is great when my husband is still sleeping in the morning.

    I did turn off all notifications for other apps. I’d be reading and then those dang things would start popping up and I would be distracted.

  2. Adrienne Avatar

    I am with you. I d not like reading ebooks. I will happily listen to an audiobook, but, if I am going to read, give me print. My teaching partner and I don’t let our student read on devices – we insist on a print book for independent reading. They can read on a device at home, but not at school

  3. melaniewhite2014 Avatar

    I have wished the same and know some voracious readers who love their Kobos. But when I was doing my Masters in Education, I read this article about the kinaesthetica aspect of reading and that there is a physicality at play when we read a physical text. There is a place, an experience of setting where we are with the book, that takes place. I thought about moments where I came across a favourite line or something critical happened in a novel; I could remember what side of the page it was on, where I was in relation to the front cover and the back cover. The research indicated that the physical aspect of online reading is lost – there is no spatial awareness. I wonder if this is what you miss?

  4. TammyB Avatar

    I do not love the ereader but I do like the ease and price. There are times when I wanted…no needed…the next book in a series and ordered it at midnight. I have moved several times in the last couple of years and it was not lost on me that I could pack the Kindle in my purse and the bookshelves required many trips and many boxes. It is sometimes easier to get certain books through ereading. I do not enjoy it as much. The size does matter though. My larger kindle is easier to read on that my phone or the smaller one. I lose books in the ereader as well. It is a mixed bag.

  5. arjeha Avatar

    Although I enjoy the feel of a book in my hands and being physically able to turn pages, I do enjoy reading books on my Kindle and my phone. I always have a book handy this way, especially when I am sitting in a waiting room somewhere. I don’t have to worry about putting a book own an forgetting it. I guess I like the idea of having a whole customized library in my hand.

  6. Juliana Ellington Avatar
    Juliana Ellington

    When I bought my Kindle, I believed that I would love it, but love has never happened. I do think my issue is two-fold: aesthetics and ownership. I love books in themselves–their covers, their heft, their mystery. To read a ‘page-turner’ is just not the same on a Kindle. I so often read the end of a book before I read the middle, and I cannot do that with my Kindle–or if I can, I don’t because it seems like too much trouble. I also want to own the books I purchase. Owning a book on my Kindle does not seem real. I want to hold the book, flip through the pages, find the perfect spot on my bookshelves for its home, see it and remember it when I stand in front of my shelves trying to decide what to read next.

  7. livinglife816287820 Avatar

    I love reading on my ipad (it’s a booksized one). I quite like the way the pages flip (I’m constantly amazed by technology). I can’t get hold of books here, there are no libraries and few bookshops and as we travel back and forth twice a year, it’s great to read on a plane and in airports. Our luggage is usually stuffed full of tools and second hand kids’ books. I have not bought any ebooks or books on kindle. I would draw the line at paying for them. I do like the feel of a book though and being able to flick back to remind myself of something I missed earlier on.

  8. margaretsmn Avatar

    This rings true for me. I’m on my phone a lot, and even more these days. I love reading blog posts on my screen, but books need to be books. I get it!

  9. terierrol Avatar

    If you get any help with this topic be sure to post it for the rest of us also struggling with this digital age.

  10. edifiedlistener Avatar

    Feeling very with you on this one. I *can* read on my kindle if I have to but my joy is in buying, reading, shelving and sharing physical books. I’ve even have boxes of my own book (waiting desperately for someone to finally market, sell and distribute them.) that remind me that there’s nothing quite like those complied words on pages designed to provide that particular coherence we find in the printed book. Location numbers will never make sense to me. Page numbers, dog ears – I’m here for those specific pleasures.

  11. Amanda Potts Avatar

    I, too, wish I could read on an e-reader. I even own one that’s not backlit so it’s better for my eyes. My husband uses his; my son uses his… Me? Not so much. Like what Melanie said above, I miss the physicality of actual books. I never realize how much I flip back and forth in a book until I have an e-reader, then I am forever wishing I could go back and double-check a particular passage or make sure that some detail is as I remembered it. That said, I have improved at e-readers over time, mostly when I travel. Maybe that’s the way to do it…

  12. carwilc Avatar

    I’m like you. I read ALL THE TIME on my computer and phone, but when I am going to read books, like novels or even professional books, I want to physically hold the book. I’m anxious to hear what other people say about this.

  13. Trina Avatar

    I’m SO much like you. I cannot get into kindle reading either. I enjoy physical books too much. I only use a Kindle when I travel (and I always have a backup real book in case the Kindle doesn’t work!)

  14. Susan Kennedy Avatar

    Love this format. Have to check out the inspiration. Having just read Reader Come Home, I feel like I should just say digital reading is all bad. Truth is I do it when I want a book immediately, when I borrow something from the library, when I read trash for free. I don’t love it, but it sure makes packing lighter.

  15. natashadomina Avatar

    I’m with you, though with all libraries and bookstores in my area closed, I’m feeling like this would be a good time to own a kindle, though I’m not that desperate yet. I love that idea of efferent vs. aesthetic. I think that’s sort of what it is for me as well. I hadn’t ever made that connection before.

  16. karpenglish Avatar

    I am learning to love my Kindle on my iPad. When it was just on my phone, I really could not get into it at all. However, I have a 12 inch iPad, which was much more huge when I opened the box than I expected it to be, and the experience there feels more like reading a real book. It is bigger than a real book, but I get to see a page that looks like a page, rather than a skinny column, and I set it so it turns pages instead of just sliding on endlessly. That has helped. Borrowing my sister’s Kindle password when I accidentally left my Louise Penny mystery on my desk at school over a long weekend definitely helped! A small handful of books that I could not actually get at the library or locally, but could get as an eBook helped. Some decent free options via my Amazon Prime account helped. Needing to read a digital book for a couple of different completely random challenges that I could not resist definitely helped. And, right now, I am relieved to have the option, because not being able to go to the library or the bookstore makes me itch. I am reading a stack of my own books right now, and I am in no danger of running out, but knowing that I *could* get more in eBook format if I desperately needed them right this second makes me feel calmer. (And less itchy.) Also, being able to get my son the books he wants to read right now, so I can keep him reading new and challenging material rather than rereading his home books over and over, is priceless. Like Visa cards!

  17. karpenglish Avatar

    I should probably add, though, that I totally PREFER reading actual books and holding actual books and looking at lovely shelved full of actual books. But I CAN read on the iPad and enjoy a book, even though it does not feel the same. But, given any sort of a choice, paper books win every time.

  18. Akilah Avatar

    I love my Kindle when I’m on vacation/traveling. That’s really the only time I use it.

    Also, the lack of backlight makes it MUCH easier on my eyes than reading on a laptop or tablet. Plus, it’s not a work device, but a book device, which makes it easier to separate from work-type activities.

  19. wbitler Avatar

    I love how you shared your experience with reading books digitally.. It is obvious that so many of us feel the same-myself included. I believe there is no reason to use tech to read a book unless monetarily as you pointed out. Just enjoy those tactile pages.

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