Just over two years ago, in the beginning of my last fall semester at university, I made the decision to invest in an ereader. I hadn’t been reading as much as I used to, largely due to the limited selection in the English section of my local library, and thought that by going digital I would gain access to a much greater repertoire of books. I went into Chapters to take a look at their stock and fell in love with a Kobo Touch.
My absolute favorite thing about it was the ability to browse the bookstore from my home, either on the device itself or on the computer. I quickly began to learn the advantages and limitations of the ereader; I had a few unpleasant encounters with lying in bed reading and the screen blanking to a “Please charge ereader” message. Then I learned that I should check regularly to see the battery’s charge level and plug it in before it gets too far below 50%. That usually gives me a good week or two of reading.
I am often in public transit. Back in those days, it was getting to classes and back; now, to my job in an office downtown. I would often end up standing in the bus, making it impossible to read a hardcover book and uncomfortable to do the same with a paperback. My Kobo is light and easy to read one-handed. I also enjoy being able to highlight passages I enjoy, though the precision is not the same as I get on my smartphone. I would never dare highlight anything in any of my books, and libraries generally frown on patrons doing so in books they lend out.
A feature I adored in my early days of the Kobo is a count of total hours read. I would check it from time to time, watching the number mount higher and higher, feeling that my purchase of the device was well justified. The count is no longer accurate as I’ve had to factory reset the device once or twice, and I have already established that I read much more now than ever before. I wore out my first case within a year and went looking to eBay for a cheaper alternative to the $35 ones sold in Chapters.
In the beginning, I was saddened to be leaving physical books behind. While I realize that I do not have to read exclusively on my ereader, I would much prefer to. If I am reading a series, I can ensure to have the next book loaded to the device without making my bag heavier; I can keep old favorites with me at all times, complete with memorable phrases bookmarked; I can get the definition of an unfamiliar or uncomfortable word by tapping on it whether I have cell service or not.
I still receive physical books as gifts from time to time, and they usually end up on my nightstand as before-bed reading. I have no choice but to go physical for graphic novels and the like, the Kobo Touch doesn’t display in color and is too small for comfort for graphic content. Ideally, more books would be packaged like DVDs or Blu-rays and have a code for downloading a digital copy come with them. Of course, given the way books are generally packaged, it would be all-too-easy for dishonest folk to lift the codes out of the pages without ever approaching the till. Perhaps if some kind of code were printed on the receipt, then.
From time to time, I have considered replacing my ereader with a tablet, but that doesn’t work for me for a number of reasons. My ereader’s screen looks good even in full daylight, the battery lasts way longer than that of any tablet I’ve heard of, and I read enough to justify having a separate device for that purpose (generally 1-2 hours a day, often more).
Since I started writing with Scrivener, I can also create an ePub of my work that I can read on my Kobo. It’s really motivating to see my writing on my device like a proper ebook.