Going Digital

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"iPod... I am Your Father", a funny ad for a classic rock radio

I’m going digital.

I had a Walkman until 2008. I know—it’s embarrassing. See, I never liked CD players: too clumsy, too big, to fragile. I hated burning CDs because there was always something going wrong. On the other side, my Walkman was virtually indestructible and I loved making mix tapes. I’m a child of the 1990s and the boombox.

But right before our trip to Latin America in 2008, I decided to splurge for an iPod Nano. Let’s face it, MP3 players are a bit more powerful than Walkmans. Not having to limit myself to two or three tapes (some spliced because you know, tapes occasionally get jammed or damaged) is priceless. I have thousands of MP3s and Podcasts at my fingertips and these devices are small, thus easy to carry.

I’m having the same kind of epiphany about eBook readers. See, I’m the kind of person who reads a book a day (and because OCTranspo is rarely on time, I have the chance to do so). Like most women, I carry my life in my bag, plus a couple of books (just in case I finish one, I like to have a backup). Some of my friends have tried to get me to switch to an eBook reader but I reacted like a granny. “It’s gonna hurt my eyes! It’s not the same as paper!” I protested.

Pretty much what my grand-parents say about me reading the news online.

To my credit, the first eBook readers were expensive and the choice of eBooks was somewhat limited.

But recently, while browsing Amazon, I realized eBook readers had become thinner, smaller and cheaper. The latest Kindle was sold for $109 (non-US price), making it an affordable tech gadget.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine lent me her Kobo because she had gotten a newer model. I started reading a book on it, not quite convinced.

Fifteen minutes later, I was sold.

Not only the screen wasn’t too bright and didn’t have any annoying reflection, but turning virtual pages soon became second nature to me.

On top of everything, I realized that I could finally get French books that are hard to find here. I mostly read in English but there are a handful of French authors I still follow and getting their books in Canada is always tricky. Amazon.ca doesn’t always have them and Amazon.fr charges an arm for shipping. But digital books are affordable—and no more shipping problems!

So I ordered my Kindle from amazon.com. I opted for a simple model, not a touch screen (touch screens usually refuse to obey me anyway) nor a tablet (much more expensive and the screen is tiring for the eyes I found).

I received it two days later and immediately adopted it. I download Calibre, a great free software to manage my eBook library, and I started gathering books and reading material.

I still like books and I will continue buying them. But not having to carry paperbacks everywhere I go is definitely a plus. And this time, for our upcoming trip, I won’t have to stack hardcover books at the bottom of my backpack and hope for book exchange opportunities on the way.

I’m going digital… and I love it.

 

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

20 Comments

  1. I was about to switch to the kindle when I realised that e-book are more expensive than the paperback versions I usually buy. Plus, I buy most books used for next to nothing and that is unfortunately impossible with e-readers.

    So sadly, I’m going to pass on buying one this year.

    • I know what you mean, I buy a lot of second-hand books too. But for me, getting ebooks in French is great compared to having to get them from amazon.fr. Shipping is expensive!

  2. Oh no! I still read paperback, and refuse to buy an e-reader. I dunno, somehow, I like the visual feeling I get as I move the bookmark through the book. I also worry about battery/power/charging concerns.

    Although yes, I have a mp3 player. Well, I have a phone that has a music player. I use that. But I usually find myself reading over listening to music nowadays.

  3. I love my kindle! Way better than reading on a tablet. I got mine for similar reasons, mainly I live in France and I had to give up on having tons of real books a few years ago. I wanted to be able to get books in English cheaply. But now I have trouble finding books in French for my kindle! Are there more available now than the last time I looked?

    • I haven’t had too much troubles finding French books, although it’s mostly new-ish books and translations of British or American novels.

  4. I’ve had an iPod for years, and I love it for all the same reasons you do.

    I got a Kindle for my birthday, and while at first I thought I’d miss the actual feel of holding a book, I haven’t missed paper all that much. I love that it saves my place, which is really handy when I fall asleep reading (which happens often) and I only need one hand to hold it and turn the pages. I also love that I don’t have an ever growing pile of books by my bed.

  5. Thinking about it more and more… When travelling, I simply stop reading because books are too heavy to carry. I already have all the travel guides to take!
    I’m still in love with the old fashionned paper books, and I think I’ll never get rid of it, simply because I read lots of comics and some art books (they don’t fit on a kindle, ahah!). I’m old fashionned on that. I love paper, the smell of it, the touch of it. I love losing my page, and I love having a pile of books to read.
    Though, I think I’m going to buy myself a Kindle, but just for travels! At home, I don’t really see the point for me, as I borrow my books at the library (where I’m working), and I love browsing books on the shelves and discover new stuff.
    But Kindles are really great, I concur!

    • I still buy the paper version of travel guides because it’s just not practical to do research on the electronic versions. But I’m glad that the bottom of my backpack will be free for once, I used to carry up to five books!

  6. I can’t agree more with you. I have an eBook since 3-4 years now and it’s the best purchase I’ve ever done. Of course I still buy a lot of paper books, but the wonderful things with eBooks is that you can actually now read books… that nobody wants to publish anymore ! Once I tried to find a obscure novel of Zola in France and couldn’t find it (!!!). On the Internet, I could.
    Maybe you already know these sites, but in case you don’t, you might want to check this out :
    http://beq.ebooksgratuits.com/vents/index.htm
    and
    http://www.gutenberg.org/
    (both are legal, in case you wonder 🙂

    • Thank you for the two websites! I got quite a few books from friends and from the library too. First time I’m not packing books other than the guidebook!

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