Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Trying-to-read an Ebook Week

It is midnight, March 12th, as I type this. Read an Ebook Week has come and gone.

Did anyone get the chance to read an ebook this week? C'mon, be honest.

Yeah, I hear ya.

I hardly read an Ebook as much as I wanted to. I did get some Ebook reading done this week, but I wasn't able to read the whole thing.

In between finally getting a new set of wheels (which translates into LONG overdue errands finally getting taken care of), my daughter had a doctor appointment this week that involved getting three shots. Ouch. I literally got sick to my stomach during the shot-giving procedures, so much so that I just didn't have it in me to hold her down for the shots. (A nurse had to do it.) So I also spent more time with her and taking her out for treats. She got her first library card today and she fell in love with the place.

But Read an Ebook Week stayed foremost in my mind and, with any extra free minute I could grab, I plopped myself down at the computer to read an Ebook. It's the same one I'm planning to buy but I wanted to read it, anyway. Just because it was the one Ebook I had that I wanted to read now.

It's kind of strange reading an Ebook. Sure, it's like reading an article on the Internet, but seeing "this book" and chapter subheads remind me that I'm reading something that's on the shelves in a bookstore. I have read Ebooks before but they were mostly JUST Ebooks and not alternatively published as print books. And as I read this Ebook-that's-also-a-print-book, I kept imagining that I was actually reading it as the print book instead, curled up in a chair with it.

That's not to say it was a bad thing. Just that it was different. I don't read a whole lot of Ebooks, mainly because I prefer the print variety. One reason I like print books better is because I can put them down in between my many other tasks going on that day. You can't do that with an Ebook; just leave it open. (Is there some way to bookmark them??) I also like to carry books around with me. I like reading in different places; in a chair, on my bed, at the kitchen table after a meal. It's just more convenient. And of course there is always that "new book smell" I occasionally take note of (not to mention "old book smell" I often come across with some books in my collection). I know you can print out an Ebook (and get that "printed Ebook smell!") but it's just not the same. I mean, I'd settle for something in wirebound printing over a stack of papers to read through.

Still. Ebooks have their positives. I mean, they're great marketing tools. People use them as promotional freebies all the time. Their flexibility makes for an interesting variety of books to choose from, some as short as 7 pages. An Ebook is still a book, even if it hasn't passed the discerning hands of a major publisher. That's one good thing you can count on seeing, too, with Ebooks: More titles available because, even if the manuscript gets rejected by innumerable publishers out there just not interested in it, you'll have the chance to read it if the author decides to self-publish it as an Ebook. Of course it means some lousy writing is bound to crop up this way, and of course it compromises where the manuscript as-is stands in the printing process, but at least more people get to have the chance to read it. More people get to judge for themselves. And more desk drawers won't be overstuffed with material the author has given up on ever seeing in print.


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