I don't read books...

...I read stories.

I arrive to work, early, as always.

I order my coffee and continue reading the novel on my e-reader. I've been considering making a new cover for it, but the softness and security of the last one I made keeps me from it.

The book is getting more interesting, and when this happens, I tend to ignore the world around me. But somehow at work I can't. I like my colleagues too much, but they know I like reading more. One of my colleagues approaches me and asks what am I doing.

I tell her I'm reading because the book is getting more intense and I can't stop. So I am reading until it's time to go change.

"It looks so fake!", she says as if never noticing someone using an e-reader before. She then asks me for permission to hold it and makes a face. To which I laugh.

"What do you mean fake?" I ask, quite knowing the answer. She returns the reader and apologize because she don't think it would ever replace books. Followed by an agreement of another colleague.

My answer, "I don't have the space to fill up with books at home, or before that, as my life involved constant traveling and a possible permanent move of continents. So an e-reader was my best solution."

I tell her how my first one broke and how I cried. Because seriously, I use it more than the phone. She gives me an apologetic look and resumes her work.

I found this event amusing. Mainly because people who truly read don't care whether it's a computer, a reader, a book, writings on the wall or scraps of papers. Whenever I hear the endless book vs e-reader debate, I can't help but feel sorry for the world's ignorance. What does it matter where you read, as long as you read? Where does it matter where you taste the words as long as you take them all in? To fall in love with a character, does it only have to happen in books? Why not in a blog, a letter, a notebook? Do they not count as literature? Do they not count as stories written by souls who needed to be read? As long as I remember I wished for books, endless books. And not for the physicality of them, but for the words they held. The stories. The lives. The hopes, adventures, terror and love. I didn't care about books, I still don't. I will probably end up bending them as I devour all the words in them. Leaving scars on them stating "I was read".

My boyfriend don't allow me to take his books in my purse. Just so you know. My books never look new. I wish for a bookcase fill with my favorite ones, but only because it’s the easiest way to pass on my love for them to my children. But other than that I do not care where is the story as long as it exist. And even though I wished for books, I could not afford them, nor retain them. I grew up with the idea of finding a way, somehow, to read. I began on the computer. Then the phone. And finally I got my first tablet. After that, the e-reader. And all of this knowing one day I would leave my birth home and with it, the books I consumed. So instead of doing that, I decided to make investment in those I could carry with me all my life. Paying extra for an extra luggage for 30 journals was already a lot. So my e-reader became my companion, my best friend, my favorite object and hobby.
Among the reasons I like the e-reader better are the followings:
  1. Considering my nomad lifestyle until two years ago, I could carry and read books without worrying about the weight limit at airports (or my own back for that matter).
  2. I have access to books all over the world, instantly and for free, instead of paying double of what the books cost on shipping plus waiting 4 weeks for them to arrive.  
  3. I can set the font I prefer to read with (Adobe Garamond Pro) and use the same on all books, allowing my eyes to adjust and read faster than printed books.
  4. I don't have to fight with how the book refuse to stay open when I try to read the left page at the beginning or end.
  5. I can keep track of all I read, time and pages.
  6. I can instantly look up definitions of a word I don't understand.
  7. It will always fit in my purse, sometimes even in my pocket.
What I don't like:
  1. It's fragile and it will die the moment I drop it without protection. (sometimes even with protection...)
  2. The screen will shine a bit if I use reading light at night... But I don't want the new ones with backlight as I barely read like that.
  3. Books can be easily pirated, lowering the profit of the writer's hard work. If we want them to keep writing, they need to eat and pay rent.
As you see, I can't really think of enough reasons I don't like the e-reader. I love it. It allows me to read more stories more comfortable. I don't read the book because it's a book. I read the book because it has a story in it, someone wanting to be heard and me wanting to listen. I read a story because I travel to far away places, even when I'm about to miss my stop. Meet circumstances I would have not met and live emotions I would have not otherwise felt. Because unlike watching TV, reading involves all my senses inside my brain, imagining every color, every texture, every smell, every heartbreak. Sometimes even wishing hard for the character to stop feeling so hurt. In my mind, they become real people.

The book I read, becomes a real memory, considering the writer is good enough to achieve this. About only 2% actually read for the feeling of a book in their hand. More than 50% of readers read for the content of the book, the knowledge, the worlds, the action and so on. So why is it people still fight about how e-readers shouldn't replace books? In reality, e-reader owners, actually read much more than normal book buyers. Buying physical books limits your budget, time of books to arrive and space. While e-readers allow you to have as many books as you want in minutes, consuming them one after the other. 72% of Americans still read printed books, and that includes us, digital readers.

Even with our gadgets, it's nice to have a physical book once in a while. But in my case it's if is a gift, or the cover it's just too beautiful to pass. I would probably buy like two books a year since for now my space is limited. Maybe in the future I will buy more, but for now I stick to my unlimited companion, my kobo touch. In the end don't ask why someone is reading on an e-reader instead of a book.  Ask them what are they reading and whether you should too. The e-reader vs books fight is overrated. If you really love books, you would care more about what it holds than where it is held.

she writes