When I first heard about electronic book readers (commonly known around these here parts as eReaders), my mind was officially blown. Over the years, my transient lifestyle did not lend itself to collecting things. I was never someone with boxes or shelves with keepsakes and mementos of trips or parties or special events. But I did collect books. Hundreds and hundreds of books over the years. To say I have always been an avid reader would be putting it mildly. I grew up with my nose in books, and it that never changed.
The problem, of course, was the constant moving. I would have two boxes of trinkets and things, and 20 boxes of books every move. Earlier this year, I really started to purge my books. There was no hope for a book I hadn’t touched in a year, with one row of exceptions. In one go, I got rid of 12 bankers boxes of books. During the second purge, I got rid of another six boxes. This left me with one full shelf (plus some I keep at my folks place that as far as I’m concerned can just stay there ’cause hey, they’re not hurting for space).
One shelf of books is fine at home. But what to do when you travel? What if I’m on the subway and I feel like reading The Prophet? What if I’m on a train and I feel like reading Eat, Pray, Love? What if I’m on a beach and I feel like reading The Beach? I solved this last problem by taking no less than 10 books with me the last time I went on a beach vacation. One week, 10 books. I had more books than bathing suits.
This brings me back to the eReader. You mean to tell me that I carry hundreds of books with me, everywhere I go, in something that is 4×6 inches and weighs less than a pound? It didn’t take long for me to get enrolled in that idea. I do love the romance of a book, with pages and a spine and all lined up on a shelf. But dude. Hundreds of books with me everywhere. I couldn’t get over it. This is Star Trek shit we’re talking about.
There have been eReaders on the market for a couple of years now, but they all seemed too fancy. Too much. I just want to read. I don’t need to take notes on my electronic device. I don’t need to surf the web while reading Anna Karenina. I just want to read. Plain and simple. And then I heard about the Kobo. Clearly, this was the eReader for me. Plain, functional, and with what I think is the most cleaver design feature – a soft, quilted back. Standing on the subway and holding this thing vertical, it won’t be slipping out of my hands. And the cherry on the cake was finding out that the Kobo is compatible with the Toronto Public Library website. Library books, downloaded to my eReader. Perfect.
I bought my Kobo back in July. I tried downloading a library book once, couldn’t figure it out, and put the device aside for four months. I thought it would be so easy, and I admit, I got really scared really fast when all of a sudden it wasn’t all sparkles and magic the way I thought it would be. Today I picked it up, tried again, and lo and behold, with very little discomfort, managed to buy a book and upload it to my eReader. Downloading library books will be tomorrow’s exercise, but for today, I’m going to relish in this small victory, hug my Kobo tight, and wrap my head around this Star Trek world I now live in.