The downside of e-books

Last night I was in need of a new novel to read. I decided that I had not looked at my Kindle in a while, and should see if any of the 190 books I have there might catch my fancy. Kindles are nice that way - kind of like shopping in a bookstore - especially when so many e-books have been offered free for a time or you download the sample chapter to see if you like what the cover has drawn you to read. When I opened my Kindle to do just that, however, I discovered the battery empty. Again. I had charged it a few weeks ago, I think, and hadn't used it. The wi-fi was not turned on, but somehow the battery drained anyway. I should have known. But I was reading a paperback at the time and didn't think about the Kindle.

So my browsing turned to my bookshelves instead where I found a novel on the to-be-read shelf that grabbed my attention. The first chapter made me realize that this author was one I wanted to learn from - her prose is exceptional! I look forward to sitting down with this one for the next few weeks. At which time my Kindle will probably be out of battery again.

It occurred to me that this is the downside of e-books. (And cell phones and computers and every other electronic we depend on in this society.) But if we lived on a deserted island with little more than daylight, food, and a book, at least we could read! A Kindle wouldn't do us much good without electricity.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my Kindle. It's especially nice when traveling as it makes the carry-on luggage lighter. (My back thanks the creators of such tools for that!) And I love technology - my laptop, my cell phone. But when it comes right down to it, I would rather have a paperback. I would rather have my faux leather-bound Bible than read it on my iPhone (though the speaking device that lets me listen while I work is nice). There is still something wonderful, something that allows me to better connect when I am holding a physical book.

I do hope that as e-books become more popular, which seems inevitable, that readers and buyers won't let the hard copies go by the wayside. You never know when you might find yourself out of battery and in desperate need of a good read. If all of the books were gone from the house and all we had left were Kindles or Nooks, we'd end up reading cereal boxes in a power failure.

So, have Kindle, will travel. But the real book is more reliable!