How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love E-Readers

David Fox

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Irent, which means I move a lot. And each time I pack up my stuff to move I think: maybe I should just get an e-reader. Packing box after box of heavy, heavy books is a real slog.

But then I would get somewhere new, unpack my books and arrange them on my bookcase (and re-arrange them a few times) and dismiss the idea. Why read my books on a boring, monochrome screen when I had scores of beautifully designed, great-smelling physical books to read instead?

Truth be told, I’ve always been a snob when it comes to e-readers, feeling that reading on a screen was somehow “lesser”. In fact, I was a hypocrite too, given how often I read the news and other articles on my phone’s glowing screen.

That opinion also ignored how vital e-readers have become for some disabled and older people. They are generally lightweight, you can easily change the font style and size (ideal for those with impaired vision) and many of them provide narration. Also, they can provide a more sustainable way of devouring literature.

What really changed my mind, though, was when my life changed.

Our daughter has been a blessing for my wife and me, but — at the risk of stating the obvious — once a baby comes into your life nothing is the same. And that includes free time. Or at least, free time without a baby in your arms.

That’s where the e-reader comes in. My daughter and I had an evening ritual that would end with the sleeping baby in the crook of my arm. With one hand free, I struggled to hold a physical book — but I could easily hold an e-reader. So as she slept I could do something other than flick through TV channels or listlessly browse Facebook on my phone. I could read instead, and I really enjoyed getting back into the habit. Before my e-reader, my reading pace had been about a whole year to finish a novel — and those are the few that I actually finished — and now it's really improved.

If I hadn’t overcome my “physical books are better” snobbery then I may have never finished another book due to the squeeze on my free time. And no matter how you choose to consume novels, reading them is better than not. So if you’re in the same boat as me, consider an e-reader — it might just change your life.

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David is an author and freelance writer. He has published two books of short stories and his first novel is due to be released in January 2021. He writes about parenting, relationships and life with a disability, as well as about pop culture, writing, productivity, politics and soccer. His work has appared in The Mighty, Apparently, Movie Pilot, WhatCulture, Vocal Media, What Millenials Want, State of the Game, FootballEye, Football Critic, The False 9 and Just Football.

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