Holding It in My Hand

Most of my friends use some sort of e-book reader. Not all of them, but most. So does my 78-year-old mother. Of course, she also has an iPhone, and I am not yet that advanced.

When I am forced to explain why I don’t have a Kindle, my explanations sound defensive, even lame. I like holding a real book (but hate lugging tote bags full of them). I dislike looking at a screen (but stare at the computer for hours). I have a book collection (which is why I don’t have any shelf space left).

Every so often I start to think it’s time to relent and buy an e-book reader.

In a related subject, I submit my poetry to literary magazines. Increasingly, the magazines are “ezines,” or online versions.

But I love being published in actual magazines. The other day I received my two contributor’s copies from The Antigonish Review. They accepted my poem “Vintage Doll Buggy,” and they even paid me for it. I waved the check under my husband’s nose to prove poetry pays, whereupon he laughed so hard he started choking.

When I pulled the copies out of the envelope and held them in my hands, I knew why I am reluctantly to turn this business over to the virtual world. The heft and weight of the books in my hand proved their existence. They couldn’t be ignored or clicked away. They are a near living artifact of the poems and stories inside. My poem is one of many, and it represents hours of toil and years of living. If the poem isn’t in an actual book or magazine, does it really exist or does it fade out of the mind?  Is it “over” too quickly?

I’m going to hold off on getting an e-book reader. I’ll get an iPhone first.


Filed under Essay, Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing

38 responses to “Holding It in My Hand

  1. I was reluctant, too. I feel like these gadgets are but nails in the coffin of our civilization, actually.

    But ALL the bookstores around me have closed but one I live in the DC area and there are only a handful of stores within 50 miles. It is horrible.

    I do recommend an iPad though when you do get one. It has many more uses.

    • Luanne

      Elyse! That means the devil is lurking in my house! I have an iPad. I hope I don’t get tempted to try out a book on it . . . .
      So sorry about the lack of bookstores around you. It’s such a shame. I fear that one day people will be so sorry about how small their worlds are.

  2. Despite recently breaking down and purchasing a Kindle, I’m with you, a real paper book or magazine is so much better! I’m so happy to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t own an iPhone. I still have the prehistoric flip phone…it’s enough for me. 🙂 Congratulations on your recent publication and sale!

  3. Congrats on your published piece!

  4. I like to hold a real book but I have to admit, I love my Kindle.

    • Luanne

      Ugh, you’re breaking my heart, Anneli! Now that Elyse (above) has let on that I can use my iPad for reading, I am that much closer to heck’s door.

      • It’s great for when I’m waiting in the car while hubby is in the hardware store, or waiting for an appointment. Light and portable with unlimited reading on it if you want to download to it and be prepared. You can still take a book to bed or to your recliner if you want. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can still have both.

  5. jeannieunbottled

    While the virtual text world offers speed and convenience….it just is not REAL enough for me. Congrats on your poem being published!

    • Luanne

      Thanks so much! Yes, it’s not real enough. I like real. That’s why I tend to print out long blog posts to read, in fact.

  6. First congratulations…and like you I held out until I decided to try the publishing of an ebook of poetry on Kindle. Needed a Kindle to check my own work, have since purchased five eBooks; I too like the feel of a book and still go to the library often. As for proof poetry pays…I am still waiting! Your sale is encouraging to me and I am certain others. Ann

    • Luanne

      Thank you, Ann! The library is such a magical place that I would hate to see it become just a computer den. Good luck with your writing!!

  7. I’ll admit I have an iPhone ( am using it right now) but haven’t taken the e-reader plunge yet, for the very reasons you state. I do see it coming though….

  8. It’s not either/or….you can have it all, let your mood be your guide. 🙂
    Paper or pixels, audio or print, iAnything or not. Handheld, it’s all there for you..ebook to library book. Who doesn’t love choices?

  9. I feel similarly Luanne, but because of my remote location I bit the bullet a couple of years ago and got a Kindle. Here are the pros and cons as I see them.
    LIke you, I like the feel of a book in my hands and to be able to see it on the shelf after I read it and be reminded of the story. I do not like the fact that while reading a book on Kindle, I don’t get that sense of progress that one gets from moving the book mark forward through the book. And if there are photos including in the book, they are often distorted or hard to view on the Kindle. Perhaps that is not the case with an iPad. The upside, especially for a traveler, is that you can carry many books with you at once, and that’s a real advantage over carry such tomes around as Don Quixote and The Three Musketeers. Pro or con, I like the instant gratification of being able to download a book and begin reading it in minutes. Kindle has several useful features as well – you can underline passages that you want to be able to return to, make notes at a specific point in the book, and there is a dictionary that allows you to look up any word just by moving the cursor next to it. And there is a handy search feature that I admit using to quickly determine if a friend had included me in his book (he had)! Not all books are available in e-book format, but most are and I like that e-books are usually substantially cheaper than their hardbound brothers. Hope that helps.

    • Luanne

      Dawn, actually it is good to know that Kindle allows underlining and has other interactive features. But I am so afraid that all this will make real books disappear and with them a little of my mind.

  10. It is the beauty of the poem that will resonate with the reader, whatever medium is used to read it.

    • Luanne

      That is true. But will I remember it as well once it’s off the screen, rather than seeing the book on my table and remembering?

  11. I recently got a Kindle and I’ve been enjoying it, but I too still prefer something to hold in my hands. I like skipping around through books too, and sometimes go back and forth, and that’s harder to do with an e-reader. I also agree that holding a magazine with your work in it is so much more fulfilling that simple seeing it on the computer screen. Congrats on your latest “sold”–it really was a purchase! I sometimes still say I “sold” a story and what I really mean is someone agreed to put it in their magazine or on their website. Not the same.

    • Luanne

      Thanks, Deborah! Yes, it was a sale–so nice! Don’t you worry that once most of us succomb to ereaders real books will disappear?

  12. I am still a “holder of books,” too. I also like to flip through pages of my favorite magazines, folding over corners and placing ‘bookmarks’ in them for future reference. I am on “the same page as you, Luanne!” Smiles sent your way!

    • Luanne

      Robin, yes! So important to be able to interact physically with what you read!!! Even if I bookmark something on a screen, it’s not the same. Out of sight, out of mind.

  13. A recent study showed that people retain less from reading on a screen than from reading a paper copy. Their attention wanders from one item on the screen to another, and they often do not read the complete document. Like you, I have avoided buying an e-book reader. Much of what I need to read is on pdf files, but when possible I print them out before reading. Being able to write comments on the page is a big plus.

    • Luanne

      Now that is a fascinating study result. Do you know where I can find an article about the study? I believe it! And that is a big concern for the eventual elimination of actual books.

  14. Way to go on the publication! And I will admit that I do not yet own an iphone either…I’m also with you on preferring actual books to have and to hold (and turn the pages of). I feel this is especially rare for someone in my age bracket (I’m 29), but I guess I just can’t justify the switch yet…I like things how they are for now!

    • Luanne

      Thanks, Lindsey! To me it makes a lot of sense that at your age you would feel that way. It’s like you see a goal from the time you’re little and then just when you get there to reach it, it dissolves!!

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