My name is Lindsay Ferrier and I like to read my books on a screen. Deal with it.
If you haven’t already noticed, I love books. I’ve loved them since I was a kid. I buy them up at used bookstores and library sales and fill shelves and nightstands with them, imagining I have my own personal bookstore. I’ve done the same for my children over the years, quietly adding books to the shelves in their rooms since they were babies — As a result, today both of them almost always carry a book with them wherever they go. Books are everywhere in our home, and we like it that way.
It took a while, but all the bookshelves in our house are now completely filled. We literally don’t have room for any more books, not without ending up on an episode of Hoarders, anyway. Fortunately, I came up with a solution:
I bought an e-reader.
A few years ago, I broke down and ordered a Kindle. When I connected it to my library’s ebook catalog, a whole new world of reading opened up to me — Suddenly, thousands of books were literally at my fingertips, available to download and read instantly. I still love reading actual books, but in most cases, my Kindle is far more practical. I can buy or borrow practically any book out there within seconds. I can read at night in bed without disturbing my husband. I can read while I work out on the elliptical at the gym. I can take my Kindle on vacations now and leave the big bag filled with books at home. And if I don’t have my Kindle handy, I can open the Kindle app on my phone and pull up whatever I’m reading from there- It even goes straight to the page I’m on. Thanks to my Kindle, I’m reading three or four times as much as I was before I started using it.
Unfortunately, none of these things matter to the book purists out there — They are adamant supporters of reading actual books with pages, their numbers are legion, and they delight in Kindle-shaming people like me.
“How can you read on that?” I’ve been asked more times than I can count. Apparently, the sight of a lit e-reader is a lot like a lit cigarette when it comes to attracting the criticism of strangers.
“I could never use one of those things,” others have sniffed, eyeing my Kindle with contempt.
Get two or more book purists in a room with a Kindle owner and it becomes a veritable ping pong match of abuse.
“I don’t understand why anyone would want to read a book on a screen.”
“I know. I prefer turning actual pages when I’m reading.”
“If you ask me, e-readers are contributing to the death of the publishing industry.”
“How anyone could use a Kindle in good conscience is beyond me.”
“It’s just another excuse to stare at a screen, and that’s the problem with America!”
“Exactly! An e-reader is not a real book! It’s not really reading!”
It’s bad enough when acquaintances and strangers give me Kindle grief — Now, my family has gotten in on the act and the stress is almost too much to bear. Despite the many Kindle benefits I’ve enthusiastically shared with them, none of them are buying it. My husband laughingly disparages my Kindle habit, and while my daughter once seemed on the verge of coming around to the Kindle side, a horrifying anti-e-reader incident several months ago caused a severe setback.
On a Caribbean cruise my family went on in January (It was technically a work trip, but yeah. It was more like a WERK! trip), the maitre’d commented each night at dinner about my daughter, who always brought a book with her to read once she’d finished eating. On the last night of our vacation, he said he had a special surprise for her. With great ceremony, he returned to our table accompanied by a waiter carrying a large domed platter.
“All week long, I have watched you reading,” the maitre’d said grandly. “Not reading from a screen, but reading from a real book. I was a child who loved to read, and I believe that children who read real books should be rewarded.” With that, the dome was lifted, revealing what happened to be one of my daughter’s favorite desserts: ginormous, impossibly red chocolate-dipped strawberries. Punky gasped.
And just like that, months of hard-earned headway in my e-reader battle were obliterated.
“Kindles are real books, too!” I whispered furiously as she chowed down on her chocolate-flavored anti-Kindle propaganda. I don’t think she even heard me.
Friends, the rampant Kindle hate so pervasive in our society has become too much for me to bear. I’m tired of cowering before those who view my Kindle habit as a public scourge responsible for everything from global warming to Restless Eye Syndrome. I believe I’m part of a silent, e-reading majority, just one more downtrodden, literature-loving member of the huddled masses yearning to read free. We must unite and make our voices heard if we are ever to have any hope of reading our Kindles without experiencing potentially devastating side-eye from the traditional book readers among us.
Together, we are the #KindleProud. Or the #NookNerds. Or the #FREereaders. Whatever. Abandon your shame, oh ye readers of books on screens. Stand with me and hold your Kindles high. Our futures (not to mention our eyes — I mean, is it me or is the font size on ‘real’ books getting smaller?) depend on it.