Erotica author, aka Elspeth Potter, on Writing from the Inside

Monday, July 20, 2009

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.


  1. 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. Perhaps we need furry e-readers....

  3. 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.