Confession: I am a bookworm. Literally, I was the child who walked to school with her nose in a book and couldn’t wait for her weekly trip to the library. (I was also a huge nerd growing up, but let’s save the discussion of my awkward childhood for another day.)
All grown up, and I still haven’t had my fill of reading. In the words of one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert: “Dear me, how I love a library.” I keep a paperback stored in my purse at all times in case of long lines, waiting rooms and rides on public transportation. I love the feeling of turning the page, the smell of fresh new paper, the way the binding cracks as you break in a new book.
My love affair with books doesn’t end when I travel. Needless to say, I stash books in my carry-on for the plane and extras in my luggage for when I arrive. I have a knack for finding English-language bookstores when I out-read my supply.
But as much as I can’t resist the allure of an old-fashioned paperback, I’m also a product of Silicon Valley. I adore any tech gadget that can make my life easier–and the more that I think about it, the more sense the Kindle (or Nook or perhaps the brand-new iPad, or any other e-reader) seems to make.
Despite how much I adore turning an actual page, I realized how an e-reader would make traveling easier for a reader. Lighter luggage? Check. Having another book ready to go when one is finished? Check. A supply of more than a million English-language titles– rather than two shelves in a bookstore? Check. Although I’m hesitant because of the pricetag, an e-reader seems to be a win-win purchase.
However, my mom made a good point when I mentioned purchasing a Kindle. The main reason I’m going to Nice is to improve my French–will having an unlimited supply of English books negatively affect my immersion experience? As much as I hate to admit it (again), I had to agree with her. I’ll be getting my fill of English through tweeting, blogging and Facebooking. I probably should spend my offline hours plugged into my French studies.
Yet to all my fellow bookworms out there, I ask you this: can you give up the traditional book buying experience? Wandering a bookstore, reading the back covers, snuggling into bed or curling up on the couch with your brand-new find, that feeling of satisfaction (or frustration or pure joy) when you turn over the last page. Can that be replaced with an online bookstore, scrolling instead of turning, a click instead of a beloved bookmark between the pages?
Have you taken an e-reader on your travels? Did you find it more convenient and travel-friendly? Or will you stick to extra books packed in luggage and magazines from the airport gift store?