To E-Read or Not to E-Read? That is the question I asked myself a few months ago when I first considered purchasing an E-Reader. When they first appeared on the scene, I immediately said, “Well, that’s a new toy I don’t need (and I do need most new toys). Why would I want my books digitalized? I love my books, hardbound with beautiful covers.”

My books line the shelves throughout my house. I often visit my wonderful collection of classics and current best sellers. When I dust the gold-leafed spines of my special books, I remember when I first read each one, how old I was at the time, what the story meant to me. I remember the book that took me back to the Middle Ages, the love story I’m embarrassed to admit I read and cried over; the historical novel that taught me about the birth of our country.

I love the feel and texture of the pages of my books. I like to hold them and turn the pages as I experience my latest reading adventure. I like to see at a glance how many pages I’ve read and how many pages I have left to enjoy my new fictional friends.

My bookshelves tell some part of the story of my life: what I have loved and learned over the years. Why would I want to give all that up? Forget E-Readers. I’m sticking with my beautiful, paper books.

The Price and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Then one day my daughter bought a Kindle. She brought it home and suggested I give it a try. I felt like a traitor. “No, that’s OK. I like my books,” I said.

“Just take a look. Your books won’t mind,” she says.


She puts the Kindle in my hands. I fall in love. I have to have one!

No, I’m not a traitor to my books. I still love my books, but now I also love my E-Reader books. Here are three good reasons why:

First: E-Readers are so lightweight. Last Summer I read a book that was over a thousand pages in length on the life and times of President Teddy Roosevelt. One night I fell asleep while reading and dropped the book on my face. What a shock! I almost broke my nose!

Then one morning I woke up and found the fingers of one of my hands were stuck in a folded position. I thought, “Oh no! I’m not getting arthritis already! Without revealing my age, let’s just say I’m somewhere on the backside of middle age. Not young, but not quite ready for the old folks home. I experienced this issue with my hands for a few months; just beginning to think I’d be living with stuck fingers for the rest of my life when I realized one day my fingers weren’t sticking any more. What happened? It occurred to me my finger problem was directly linked to the size of the book I was reading. I was holding my hands in an unusual, tense way for at least an hour every evening. My book reading was cutting off the circulation of my fingers!

After a few months of Kindle reading, all was back to normal. I can read a two-page book review or a thousand-page book with my Kindle and the weight in my hands for either one is the same seven ounces. What a gift.

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Second: What happened to my perfect 20/20 vision? I had perfect eyesight forever. Could read anything, anywhere. Now, the dollar store doesn’t even stock the thick magnification I require. Can’t read a thing without my glasses. I recently sat down with a new book. Opened it up and immediately became depressed. How am I supposed to read this? The type is only 8 points! Even with my glasses it’s a struggle to see clearly. I’m not going to enjoy this read. It’s too strenuous, too much trouble. Then it occurs to me: “Get the book on my E-Reader!”

I go online, purchase the digital version of the book. It’s emailed to me in seconds. I access the book on my reader. Then it’s up me: “What type size would I like: 14, 16? What the hell, let’s go for it, 20 points!” I have to swipe the pages more, but that’s easy. Wow, I don’t even need my dollar glasses. What a treat!Kindle type size adjustmentThird: … and probably the most important. E-Readers are good for the environment. Just think of all the trees we can save when we read digitally and remove the need for all that paper. The good news is it’s not an either/or situation. We can have both. For those of us who love to save our books or collect old editions, we can still do that. But we can also download all those books we just want to read and don’t feel a need to display or visit once in awhile.

To recap, E-Readers save our hands, save our eyes and, most importantly, save the environment.

So the answer to the E-Reader question? A definite YES! Enjoy.