I won't hide my bias, I love ebooks.
I love my Kindle, I love my Kindle app for iPhone, and I now hate paper books. I'm not being funny, I really fucking hate dealing with books. "Physical" books us ereader enthusiasts call them with scorn.
I simply do not understand why there are booklovers out there that aren't using ereaders. Oddly, most people not using ereaders are actually anti- them. Often times, virulently so.
But, after reading this Complaint Box piece in yesterday's New York Times (good thing I still had "clicks" this month)--"How EReaders Destroyed My Love Life"--I've now realize that when someone is vocally anti- ebooks, they're usually saying more about themselves than they are about this great technology.
Below, the four most common (and lamest) reasons people are anti- ebooks, and my quickie solutions.
1. "I like knowing what people are reading."
In the aforementioned Times piece, a woman talks about how the rise of ereaders have hindered her chances at soliciting dates because she no longer has her go-to pick-up line: "I love that book." She mentions how she once fell for a man because she saw him reading a book she loved, "Portnoy's Complaint," on the subway. With ereaders, her amazing opportunity to beguile New York City men has been lost!
Solution: Just go fucking talk to the men, you dweeb. It's not that hard. Even based on the carefully curated pictures you provide on your blog, you are certainly cute enough to probably land some dates regardless of what "pick-up line" you use while annoying a man who is trying to lose himself in a book.
Solution #2: Also, you might not still be single if you actually judged men on things more important than their reading preferences, such as "Portnoy's" which is essentially a book about a lazy Jew that masturbates too much (a better book on the topic: here). Some better suggestions for things to judge potential romantic partners on: total number of fingers, whether they actually grip the subway pole, dick size.
(My reading LIKES to judge me on.)
2. "I like the smell of books!"
I can't believe how often I hear this weird one. Like books have some unique aroma. Oh right, they actually do. New ones smell like pulp and cheap glue, old ones and library books smell like the homeless. People actually like this?!
Solution: Let a small baby or gutter bum play with your ereader for a solid week before you retrieve it.
3. "I like displaying books in my home!"
Move just one single time in New York City and you won't give a shit what is "displayed" in your home, as long as it's light. Unless you're the kind of sad person who has a strong need to display to people how "smart" and "educated" you are.
Solution: Print out a list of books you own to hand to house guests once they arrive at your apartment so they'll be impressed by your amazing ability to purchase important books (many of which, let's be honest, you've never read).
4. "I like the feel of a book in my hands!"
People that actually enjoy holding books are like people that actually enjoy anal sex. To most of us, we simply have no idea how you find it comfortable and hope to never have to participate in such a thing again. I don't know about you, but I always hated having to hold a heavy block of paper and cardboard just to get knowledge in my brain. Reading a hardcover while tired in bed? No thank you. While forced to stand on a packed subway? Impossible. Paperbacks are a little better, but still generally necessitate two hands and a folded back cover. With my Kindle, I just need a flat surface and a single finger to turn the page. I can read a book on my iPhone while walking the street.
Solution: Strap weights to the bottom of Kindle or Nook.
There are a few legitimate complaints, I suppose, for sticking with "real" books: price, artistry, and note-taking abilities. I'll quickly dismiss these.
Price: The Kindle App is free for your smart phone and both Kindle and Nooks are down to about $100 a piece. With ebooks anywhere from cheap to free nowadays, if you're even just a semi-regular reader, after a few months you'll be saving tons of money by going "e."
(By the way, "How to Fail" on Kindle, currently only 99 CENTS!)
Artistry: I get this one, ebooks are boring to look at. Kindle and Nook books are designed in no-frills HTML style courtesy of bland e-ink. Every book looks the same. But, as my friend Alex Miles Younger wrote in a great piece two weeks ago, shifting technologies actually mean that (e)books necessitate great, iconic design more than ever.
Note-taking: This is the only issue I have with ebooks at the moment. I used to be obsessed with underlining and notetaking while reading, especially with non-fiction works. I used to fill the margins of my books with about as many scribbled words discussing the material as there was actual text in the book. But, notetaking is tough with an ereader. On my Kindle it takes forever to type up a note on the clunky keyboard. So, for now, I mainly utilize the Kindle's underlining capabilities (quite useful), while taking notes in a separate Moleskine. I'm taking less notes, but at least I'm reading more books.
Get an ereader. By the end of your first book you'll be in love. You'll be obsessed. You'll be so focused on reading that you'll no longer be looking around your subway car for a man, any man, reading a dirty paperback so you can tell him:
"I love that book."