As I sit here surrounded by mounds of hardcover books from the library, I’m profoundly grateful that I’m legally required to drop them into a slot in three weeks when I’m (hopefully) finished with them. (Or in three weeks and four days when I drive them there in a panic, realizing I’ve once again wracked up fines).
I realize this sounds strange, considering I drove to the library, wrote down the Dewey decimal numbers with a cute little pencil, perused the stacks, and lugged my finds home in a barely-making-it Target bag. But, these days I do everything I can to avoid paper books unless they’re returnable. Here’s why.
1. Books are heavy. My epiphany moment came during the middle of a very warm summer day, when I packed up the fifth cardboard box of books in preparation for a move. Books are sweet, innocuous things when they’re decorating a shelf, but they quickly become the enemy when you have to hoist them down three flights of stairs. I stared at my many boxes of books, most that I’d read only once, and vowed that this would be the last time I lugged around decorative objects that had served their purpose.
2. The Kindle is magically light. This reason is similar to #1, except my realization came as I tramped through an airport, hooking my thumbs under my straining backpack straps. I simply can’t choose one book to take on a trip. I must take at least five, and five in a Kindle weighs the same as one.
3. I am no longer tempted to read the ending of the book before the beginning. Okay, well, I’m still tempted, but the Kindle format discourages that type of peeking. I like having that extra prod to my self-discipline.
4. Instant gratification. Out of books and found a great one online? No problem. One click and the book is in my hot little hands. No long drive to the bookstore, hoping it’s in stock. No week-long vigil at the mailbox for the telltale cardboard box.
5. Jealousy. I watched friends and family receive e-readers one Christmas, and I wanted them for me.
So there you have it. I’m no longer a reluctant convert to the digital age of books, and my back thanks me for it. It only took me three years — how long did it take you?