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Friday, January 13, 2012

Confessions of a Teenage E-reader Hater

A recent GalleyCat article highlighted a study indicating that kids prefer e-books. The study’s organizers obviously made a conscious choice to steer clear of my sixteen-year-old stepdaughter. Sure, it was a study for ages 3-6, but still. Wisely done, organizers.

Not a loner in the traditional sense of the word (she's on the phone or hanging out with friends too much to claim that), Q.C.L. has chosen to isolate herself against legions of e-book lovers across the nation and world. She is…not a fan of the e-reader.

She agreed to sit down with me for a few minutes to answer questions.

What do you love about reading?
It takes you to another place, and gets your mind off things. I love getting hooked into a story, and escaping into it. I definitely put myself into characters' positions, and think of what I would do in their place.

What kind of books do you read?
Fiction—Dystopian, historical fiction. Not so much contemporary. I like series~ I always finish them! Some nonfiction~ travel books, philosophy/religion books.

What are the last two books you read?
Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and Inheritance (Christopher Paolini’s final book in the Eragon series)

*She’s a big reader—an e-reader seller’s dream, in theory*

Do know know of people at your high school who have/use e-readers?
Yes. Teachers, friends, students—I see students in school with them—girls and boys—sometimes teachers encourage e-readers for textbook reading, because they’re cheaper. They’re definitely gaining in popularity. I see kids using them during assemblies, and in class.

You’ve never asked for an e-reader for a gift, but you ALWAYS ask for Barnes & Noble gift cards—what’s up with that?

First of all, don’t say, “What’s up with that?” like that. Okay, I don’t…hmm. I feel as if it’s not actually reading a book when you’re looking at a screen. For me, a big part of reading a book is turning the pages and holding the story in your hand. Like, having the whole story in my hand and feeling the weight of it. For me, I want a bookshelf, but when you have a Nook or Kindle, you can’t have that. I want a bookshelf—I don’t want a thing that can hold a thousand books. I want to look at them. They lose their beauty in digital form.

I know of people who agree with me, but they tend to be adults.

What do you think of e-readers?
I get them. I just don't like them. I don’t like looking at the screen. I like turning pages.

What are the negatives of e-readers for you?
If the battery dies, you can’t read your book. And what’s so interesting holding a silver tablet in your hand? It’s cold and doesn’t have a smell. I get that you still see the book and words, but I feel like it loses part of its value.

Do you think you’ll change your mind in the future?
No. I don’t. Maybe one day for convenience, and maybe because teachers are already recommending them. I don’t like taking notes and marking things with touch screens. But I think it’ll get to the point where e-readers are required like lap-tops basically are at school.

Do you consider yourself an e-reader hater at this point?
. Yes, I do.

There you have it, folks.

Frankly, I’m okay with Q.C.L.’s opinion of e-readers. As it is, we have to drive her to the bookstore so she can spend money. With an e-reader, where it’s so easy to keep downloading if Daddy happens to pass over a credit card (meant to be used on 2 books)…*shivers*…. Let’s just say our girl could do some damage.

Happy Friday!

Oh! And get your booty over to Kimberly's post on her blog, Meetings With My Muse~ she's handing out $100 to attend a Writer's Digest Webinar (or you can spend it as you like). No strings attached~ just follow her and leave a comment. I won this last year, and attended an awesome Mary Kole webinar.

Next Post: Mid-January Agent Tweets


  1. Good for your step-daughter in standing up for what is best for her.

    The Mrs. has started collecting well-loved children's book believing that they will be like dinosaur bones in a few decades.

  2. I used to be such a hold out for paper only. I love real books so much I couldn't see the point of e-readers. But, now that I have one, I can't deny: the convenience can't be beat. If I truly love a book, I'm going to want to own it in both formats (hardcover and electronic) but being able to take 50 books with me on a plane ... there's no other way to do that.

  3. For if you would ever get one, I like 'No. But...' haha. I agree that it isn't the same to read it on a screen, but when it comes to convenience with travel, an ereader can't be beat.

    Great interview!

  4. I saw that post and thought the same thing. My niece hates eReaders as does a few other teens I know. They weren't included in the survey. And my 12 year old isn't interested in them either. He prefers the real deal.

    I use my iPod Touch and it works perfectly for me. It even fits into my small purse. I prefer the real deal when I'm flying cause there's that long period on the plane when you have to stow ALL electronic device. I can't last that long before I get to read my book again.

  5. I preferred the real deal until I got my e reader. =) My sons don't really care if its in e form or not. But because they can't take the e reader to school they usually lean towards the hard copy. I also wouldn't want to exclude those families that can't afford an e reader. The library was my life. I don't want to imagine a place without hard copies.

  6. Loved the interview! You need to get her take on other 'writerly' stuff more often. She's obviously an ace reader, and we all love to hear from those folks!

    I think one key thing to point out in this instance is the value of experience, as in we don't know until we've really tried something if it is for us or not. I hated mushrooms until I tried eating them prepared in a way other than raw on a salad. I was totally convinced I couldn't stand them, when in reality I'd never really tried them at all. Once I'd tried them stuffed with bacon on top (BACON!) I immediately decided I could eat them other ways too. That wasn't until after I'd finished graduate school! What can I say? My taste buds were deprived for the first 25 years of my life...

    I don't think (hope) she'll ever lose her affinity for paper books; most of us who've grown up with them won't. However, until life throws you into a scenario where you're forced to explore certain things, I'm not sure you can be definitive. For your daughter, that might mean business travel (as the person above pointed out) or maybe cheap textbooks in college when it comes down to food/beverages or books and you have to do both.

    That moment came for me when I realized I looked like a 6 year old (I was nearly 30) when I insisted on holding the shrooms when we'd have pizza with friends. ; )

  7. I am a book addict, too. And never ever dreamed I would want or like an e-reader. I scoffed (scoffed!) at the very idea. And I'm, shall we say, "mature," so I'm pretty set in my ways. But things changed. I started blogging. Met a bunch of awesome bloggers, many of whom had written books. Well, natch I wanted to READ those books, right? But it turned out that many were only available in e-version. Ergo, my opinion changed. I wanted ... no, I REALLY wanted a kindle. Got it, love it, and am now able to read my blogger buddies' books. If some books your daughter wanted to read were ONLY available in e-versions, she might change her mind, too. Yeah, a REAL book is the best, but when it comes down to it, having access to the written words of a story is the most important thing.

  8. I was not a fan of e-readers when they first came out. For the same reason's "e-reader hater" mentioned. With the print in your hand, you feel the weight of it, turn the pages, doodle if you own it. But I've made a change to e-reading. Not exclusively. I still love hardcovers and buy them, but e-readers are so much more convenient...and kill fewer trees...I think.

  9. I like the e-reader. It just makes reading more of a pleasure for me.

  10. this was a really interesting interview, Jess. My 17 year would agree with her, while my 14 year old is on the fence. I don't use one myself, but as I find myself reaching for reading glasses, I can see how the ability to adjust font would be useful!

    Have a great weekend.

  11. I want a whole library...but my nook is more treadmill friendly.

  12. I'm not a fan of them either. But I make break down and get one so I can get my grad school papers on it instead of printing pages and pages (I can't read that much on the computer screen). It also means I can buy some of my textbooks cheaper.

    But I haven't bought it yet. I don't know...

  13. What an intelligent, well-spoken girl! And I agree with her on everything, because I feel the same way. I have a kindle I use for "research" but don't really enjoy reading books on it. Like your daughter, I enjoy the feel, the smell, the experience of turning pages and holding a book as I read it.

  14. I got a Nook for Christmas a year ago, and I love it. I still love my paper books, but when I do most of my reading is just before bed. Hubby goes to bed before me, so I try and keep the lighting low. With my Nook color, I can do that.

  15. I share your teen's feelings about books, but I need an e-reader because it's a safer way to get books into my country, since a lot of great titles never make it here until they're turned into movies. :-)

  16. Great interview! I believe it's not either/or. There will always be a market for print books, but I do enjoy the convenience of my Kindle--it fits in my purse, so I'm never caught without several choices of things to read. In a small house filled with readers, saving on shelf space is a plus, and I love ability to enlarge the font. Still, I totally agree with your daughter about enjoying the aesthetic appeal of books. With my favorites, I want to own the real thing.

  17. I've recently gotten Kindle for PC, and I like it because of free/.99 cent books. But unless they are either of those, I have to agree with Q.C.L. Books are awesome (and this is coming from a younger demographic, too).

  18. I like the look and feel of paper books. Also, it's easier to go back a few pages in an instant to review something. But my Kindle reader is undoubtedly better for my eyes, and it may just be more economically feasible to buy e-books.
    On the other hand, I like to sell books to used bookstores if they turn out to be disappointing. One interesting fantasy novel suddenly had an orgy about two-thirds through. I sold that one. Also, I like to photocopy pages from non-fiction works to show people important concepts for their lives.

  19. I'm still totally in your step-daughter's corner! I don't have an e-reader and I don't want one. I'm a librarian and we're meant to be all up on the latest 'gadgets' - it's just a thing with library folk :P - but I'm a bit of the odd one out amongst my work peers, 'cause I really hate e-books too. hehe

  20. I'm right there with Q.C.L! I love the weight of a book in my hands when I read it. Even though an e-reader does have the benefit of being able to enlarge the text when late-night reading stresses the eyes...I still gravitate to printed pages...and hard back! Great interview!! :)

  21. Great post. I am currently fighting myself over whether or not to get a kindle. I despised e-readers for a very long time, and so the idea of getting one is quite complex now that I'm weighing the pros and cons. Of course, this post pushed me back over the edge towards rebelling and not wanting one. Ugh!

    <3 Gina Blechman

    P.S. Thanks for the link. That's very generous of Kimberly. I'm now following her and set to enter the raffle. :-)

  22. It doesn't matter for me the way I read a book, as long as I enjoy doing it. I got an e-reader like Christmas present and from then I love to use it, rather than those printed books :D
    It's great that I found All you can books site... a place with hundreds of free eBooks and I can download them from there!

  23. I love this post! I love that a 16-year-old can have this attitude and perspective (and be so articulate about it.) I'm totally with her. I love books. I confess that I just bought a Kindle. I'm learning to like it (forcing myself, really) because I have no more room in my house for books. Seriously. It was either try a Kindle or build a new library wing, and i can't afford an addition right now :) I'm getting used to it. I can tolerate it. But I don't love it!

  24. Your stepdaughter is so right Jen, so so right. However adults are better at compromising right? like I did, finally, because I either get an e-reader or make my family move to a bigger place to hold my books. *sigh*
    Great post and thanks for the link too. :)

  25. Great interview! Love it. So awesome that at 16...she knows what she likes and is not afraid to be different. Refreshing!! Go Q.C.L!!!