Thursday, 29 August 2013

Ode to Kobo

I always thought I would be the last person to have an eBook reader. I grew up at the public library, worked at the public library, and became a library technician because being anything else was almost unthinkable*. You might think that library folk swore a sacred oath to protect books and all knowledge because discarding or cutting up books for collage produces such a visceral reaction in me. Someone once gave me Wreck This Journal as a Christmas gift and I gave it to another friend because I could simply not...wreck this journal. 

Eventually my nerdy love of gadgets overcame my nerdy love for dead tree books and I'm still fond of the original Kobo Touch after two years. Any gadget, however, comes with its own special anxiety - What if it goes obsolete? What if the format is incompatible? - and so forth. Plus there were so many choices - Sony, Kindle, Kobo or Nook - always knowing that a new and better model was surely just around the corner. Since I could find a Kobo at Chapters or Indigo, touchable, tappable and thoroughly examinable, my mind was made up. And yes, the Vox came out right after I bought it. Funny, the new, recently announced Kobos don't seem as wonderful as my Touch.

Indie author Scott Hunter shared a great link last month about a book dealer who can't go back to dead tree format. The all or nothing attitude strikes me as extreme...but as someone who dearly wanted an SLR, finally got an SLR, and then donated the SLR after experiencing the convenience of digital, I can understand. The Touch has made me appreciate paper books, but also the good reads that can be had online.

It really is foolish to think that paper will ever go away. The proof is in how much paper my office goes through in a week or how much snail mail still gets delivered. Art books, comics and technical manuals don't have the same feel on a small or colour display. Oddly, what has gone away for me is the anxiety that my books will be damaged. Call me a nut (go ahead! right now!) but somewhere along the line I developed a preciousness about them. Books were (and are) an expensive luxury, hence why I lived in the library. The fragility of the printed word was readily apparent - water, food, creases - why, sending a book out into the world was a dangerous business. Even more so if a friend borrowed it and bent or scuffed the cover! Or made it limp by cracking the spine. 

Oh, then of course, there is space. Our combined book collection takes up six Billy bookcases. An eBook reader has kept a seventh at bay. It fits in my purse and I never have to hem and haw over which book to take with me. Usually convenience will trump all, but it's still good to breathe in the particular fragrance of a favourite read. To each their own, and to each a good book regardless!

*Actually, I wanted to go to art school, but was too afraid to let my folks down - at least I would have marketable skills, I guess?