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Going Digital

"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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