Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Downside to eBooks

I have been an unapologetic owner of the Sony eReader for two years now, often having to defend the technology against my beloved low tech reader, the book. This Christmas, I saw more and more of my reading friends becoming proud owners of Kindles, Nooks, and the like. Most are enthusiastic.

I just figured out the downside, though. Short of lending my reader, I can't share my books. I've always participated in that highest form of theft--book borrowing and lending. I dare say I could match the books on my shelves that belong to others against those of mine that have likewise wandered off. It's a bittersweet loss. I most love to share with a friend a book that I've loved, then to have it return--along with the opportunity to talk about it.

Now I find that when I recommend a book, someone will no doubt ask to borrow it when I'm finished, and I have to admit I only have the electronic copy. The phenomenon is not limited to reading, of course. Now that we all have such quick and easy access to iTunes, no one borrows CDs anymore. I can only imagine what will happen when the technology advances and my reader (and iPod) are obsolete. Will I have a gap in my shelves--books and music? As a woman who still listens to her record albums and revisits favorite old books, I certainly hope not.


Amber O said...

I finally got my Nook today. It has a share feature-- I can loan a book to a friend for 2 weeks, during which time I cannot access it myself. Pretty sure said friend has to have a Nook as well (which is sad since no one else I know has one yet), but we should try it out sometime-- it says all I need is friend's email address.

Anonymous said...

I think that you can have multiple accounts with access to the same e-books in Kindle.

Marie Cloutier said...

I have a Sony Reader too and I like it for many reasons, but yeah. I love and will always love paper books.