It’s Not You, It’s Me..

The subject of this Blog Post is possibly highly controversial, and no doubt I am going to lose a few (lots) of followers after posting it, but right from the start, I have always promised to be honest with you all.

Deep breath, here goes.

I can’t do electronic books. I just can’t.

I know that especially in these challenging times when the amazing and hardworking publicists I talk to have been kind enough to offer electronic versions of their novels without hesitation to help me blog, when it is environmentally a better option, that it seems the sensible and correct choice, but honestly, it’s not for me.

My head tells me that using Netgalley opens up a whole world of bookish possibilities, that right at the click of a button I can ask to read advance copies of hundreds of the newest releases. A whole new library of tantalising choices are mine, just there for the clicking. I can buy an e-book and it can be ready to read on my device in seconds, and yet the very thought of doing it turns me cold.

Believe me when I tell you I’ve tried. I fired up my old Kindle Paperwhite (after spending an hour trying to find the charger!), I have downloaded an e-reader app to all my Devices, and I even briefly re-instated my Netgalley account just for this reason.

I can do this, I thought, the book is exactly the same, it’s just the pages have to be swiped instead of turned, and I can’t use an almond magnum wrapper as a bookmark (might have done this once), but I was telling myself it’s just the same thing in a different format.

The thing is, no matter how much I tried to convince myself, and attempted to read the words on screen, for me, it really wasn’t the same.

I love everything about having a physical book in my hands. From the moment in the library or Bookshop you see a cover that pulls you towards it and you can’t help but pick it up and feel the weight of it in your hands. The feeling you get when you have it put in a bag (pre-lockdown) and handed to you or the parcel delivered in an appropriately socially distanced manoeuvre (during lockdown), the delicious sense of anticipation as you take it out and read the blurb, and check that the corners haven’t been bashed and that it looks even better than you remember. All of that is before you have even opened it to read it.

Why do I love reading physical books so much? For me, like lots of other people, the majority of my life is increasingly governed by my need to be in stretching distance of a screen. My husband jokingly refers to my phone and laptop as my office, and he is right. Every piece of my life is stored in these pieces of equipment, and they are undoubtedly a vital part of my day.

Truthfully, I just want to disconnect from the digital world for a while and lose myself completely in the act of reading. Snuggled up in bed, or lying on a sofa, mug of coffee and some biscuits in front of me, just me and my book is my idea of heaven. The only sounds are the pages being turned and the crunching of the biscuits, and that’s enough.

It’s also the fact that seeing all my books on my shelves is not only something visually beautiful, but that each one of them has a memory folded into their pages. I remember where I was when I read this book, or who bought me that one and why. Maybe the person who left me this novel may not be here any more. I can still open the book using the bookmark on page 217 when she had to stop reading because she didn’t have the strength to turn the pages. I can hold it in my arms and remember her for a moment, and how she was the one who helped me fall in love with books.

Do e-books bring the same memories to your reading? Maybe I’m missing something, and I’ve got this all wrong? Without a doubt having all the books on a device means you can access lots of books at any time, and it’s a lot easier to take on holiday. Yet one of the few joys of packing for me is going through my bookshelves and deciding which books I am going to squeeze into my case, and adding a couple (four) into my handbag just to make sure I don’t run out. Don’t even get me started on the joy that is finding a Bookshop in the place you are staying!

One of the many realities that has come to light during this strange time is that as we come out of Lockdown that it’s a real possibility going forward proofs of new releases may be only available to bloggers digitally. With my rational head on, that absolutely makes sense. Much less cost for the publisher, the ease of sending the book, and the fact you can start reading immediately.

It’s just not for me. All it means is doing what I’ve been doing for years – using the brilliant libraries, treating myself at a Bookshop or simply selecting one of my own books from my crowded shelves.

Book Blogging is just that – talking about the books you have read whenever they were published, and sometimes I have forgotten that and have put the Fear Of Missing Out above taking the time to look at the books I already have – and that’s another blog post entirely!

Reading is reading however you choose to do it, be it on an e-reader, on a phone or a physical book and this is only my opinion. What ultimately unites us all especially in these strange times is our love of books and the joy we get from talking about them, however we choose to read.

My name is Clare Reynolds and I don’t like reading e-books – and I feel so much better for telling you!

Love

Clare xx

40 thoughts on “It’s Not You, It’s Me..

  1. Annabel (AnnaBookBel) says:

    Dear Clare – you’re not on your own. I can’t be doing with e-books either! Staring at a screen half the time for work is enough, and with them there’s no joy in having a wonderful object in your hands and the experiences and memories that creates as you rightly say. It’s also tricky to flick back and forwards and mark passages etc. I’ve tried but can’t enjoy reading that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melanie’s reads says:

    I’m a book whore and will read in any format but totally understand about attachment to physical books. For this reason I will often buy a physical copy of a book I loved but read digitally. But you won’t lose me over it as I just love your opinions on books however you’ve read them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Christie W. (@theludicreader) says:

    Totally not on your own. Although I was gifted a Kobo several years ago, I gave it away. I want the book. Everything about a physical book is more palatable to me. The smell, weight, that I can see my progress, marginalia (should I choose to write in it), and ultimately the way it looks on my shelves when I am done reading. Even when I travel, I bring books.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. NatterBlog says:

    Haha, I would never unfollow someone because of their opinion. I am the complete opposite though. I got rid of all the books I had cluttering shelves which had hung around since I bought them pre e-readers. Books annoy me immensely. The pages won’t stay open, the writings too small, I get cold hands trying to read them in bed. If they’re old they might smell musty. I’ll browse books in a book shop, write down the title then see if there’s an e-book version. I still remember what time of year it was when I read a book, even if it is an e-book, I just wish they wouldn’t change the covers because then I don’t recognise having read them as it’s the cover I’ll remember and not the title or even the author.

    But I hear you, each to our own, we can all read happily together. I can’t get along with audio books, I’ve tried them but they just don’t do it for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lesley Hayes says:

    I used to say I can’t do e books but as a passionate supporter of libraries the facilities put on by local authorities during this pandemic for e books and audio books have been a lifeline to me ( including many of my friends) . I will probably go back to reading book books when things get back to normal but will never say again that it’s not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      The libraries have been amazing haven’t they? They automatically renewed my books until the end of June, and I think we would all be lost without them. How wonderful that you found that ebooks worked for you too.

      Like

  6. Karen says:

    I don’t know why anyone would unfollow you for sharing your opinion but I quite understand why some people prefer physical books to ebooks. I can read happily read both but if I had to choose with a gun at my head I would choose a print book. I love having a physical book on the shelf, to look at and admire the cover. To see my progress through the book as I read and this enjoyment isn’t the same with an ebook. Lack of storage space and convenience make an ereader a necessity for me though. Carry on enjoying your paper books Clare!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. C. J. Cooper (@CJCooper_author) says:

    I absolutely love my Kindle, Clare, so was surprised to find I did understand where you were coming from in terms of wanting to feel like you were switching off from digital life while reading. It occurs to me that I would *never* read a novel on a tablet, phone or laptop for precisely that reason.

    I love physical books too – I collect antiquarian books, in fact (that paper! those bindings!) but I now feel an affectionate attachment to my Kindle too. And I absolutely love finishing a book by a new author, loving it, and immediately being able to have something else they’ve written in my hands. Feels like such a treat! And it also means I don’t have to periodically try to decide which books to give away before the bookshelves get completely out of hand.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NatterBlog says:

      Your comment just reminded me, that for me, the only downside of e-books is that you can’t pass them on when you’ve read them which is a shame. My mum who is in her mid 80’s doesn’t have the internet, so during lockdown she’s struggling for books now, and I have so many e-books she could read.

      Like

  8. Kath says:

    Oh Clare, hopefully no one’s going to unfriend you for how you prefer to read your books. Their loss, if they do.

    I do prefer physical books, and have sometimes waited to review a book until it came out in hard copy despite having an ebook of it for that very purpose. But I will read an ebook, if I’m travelling or if it’s the best way of reading the book when I want to read it, without having to wait.

    You do you. I understand your FOMO on new releases but my much-neglected TBRs are calling to me, so I may well be mixing and matching more of the own shelf with the hot new arrivals for some balance in future.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Kath says:

        Ha! You’re welcome. Although you might not be so lucky next time… 😉

        It is whatever works for you & only you know what that is, or can come to that conclusion anyway. As long as you’re reading, it doesn’t really matter how you do it. xx

        Like

  9. jannercott says:

    I tend to alternate between physical books & kindle. I enjoy them both for different reasons. I also enjoy audio books too. Books, books, books….I’ll take them anyway I can get them!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. A Life in Books says:

    You’re far from alone, Clare. I’ve resisted Netgalley for years having read ebooks for work and not enjoyed the experience but I’ve read three during the pandemic with varying results. For me, if it’s the writing I’m reading for it doesn’t work. A good old fashioned bit of linear narrative is fine but definitely a second class experience. It’s simply not so immersive, and you can’t pass it on to your friends.

    Like

  11. nsfordwriter says:

    Such a good post! Thanks for airing your opinions 🙂 I still don’t enjoy the experience of reading e-books, but probably 50% of my books are read this way (usually borrowed through the library, which is for me the best way to get the latest books). If I want a book to keep and re-read, it will definitely be print. Weirdly now I have been known to look for a bookmark for an e-book… and conversely try to ‘switch on’ a printed book!

    Like

  12. Alison says:

    Oh joy! A like-minded reader. I have even been reluctant to fully engage with Bookstagrammers as I fear spending yet more time on screen. My books are like photo albums, each one brings to mind the place I found it, the person who gave it, the time I read it. Thank you for giving voice to my feelings. I have always felt that there’s room for both electronic and physical books. Is it just me or have books become more beautiful since the rise of e-books?

    Like

  13. Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café says:

    Look, I never thought I could give up physical books but when my husband bought me an eReader, it fit my lifestyle beautifully. I still love looking at my physical books on my shelves (they’re throughout my home, both levels) but I’m 100% digital.

    With that said, I hear you and admire that you tried to make the transition but ultimately stayed true to yourself. The publishing world needs both. I need you sticking with the physical!! The idea that they could disappear frightens me. So, you keep doing you, if no other reason than to cater to my selfish need to have it all!!!

    Thanks for a GREAT post💜

    Like

  14. Liz says:

    It’s great to get these things off one’s chest! Reading is such a personal thing – it’s fine if you only want to read physical books. I do both, I must admit. But whenever I am considering purchasing a new title, I wrestle with myself about which format to go for. Do I do the ‘head’ thing and go with an e-version for practicality (storage, searchability, ease of highlighting etc); or listen to my heart and get the physical copy. There’s no particular logic to my choices, but I usually go with the latter if I am ordering a small press publication because of the high production values. And all the advantages of an e-book can never replace the sensory experience of reading from a beautifully produced edition. I guess I like having the choice and the best of both worlds to suit different circumstances. But we are all different and all views are equally valid.

    Like

  15. crimebookjunkie40 | Noelle says:

    I’m a big e-reader fan, but to each their own. Books are wonderful, but I can’t hold them properly anymore, I find the print size incredibly annoying and I can’t carry as many around with me as I would like.
    I also work for a digital publisher and published by a different digital imprint – I think there is a lot of snobbery around ebooks (not in this post and a whole other debate which I have no intention of starting 😂😂) but books are books, no matter the format and what works for you is great, what works for me is great – I just prefer ebooks! Happy reading!

    Like

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      That’s the thing – I absolutely agree that it’s each to their own, and I know so many people love ebooks – my Dad included for some of the reasons you mention too! I would never criticise ebooks – I think the more people that are reading the better, and it doesn’t matter how you do it – they just aren’t for me!
      Have a lovely weekend Noelle, and I hope you are reading something fabulous! Xx

      Like

  16. Nan says:

    Loved all the opinions. I am ebook all the way, though. I had actually stopped reading when my grandson loaned me his kindle. I went straight to Target and bought one. I like the fact that I can make the type any size, adjust the lighting, and prop it up on a stand to read hands free. I have a lot of ‘real ‘ books and will read them but they have to really hold my attention for me to be willing to hold the book in my hands. So glad we have a choice of how to read!

    Liked by 1 person

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