I bought my first e-book in December 2016 when I was in Tenby. I had nothing to read and there is no bookstore in Tenby. So I bought my first ebook, which I did not read right away, because I had in the meantime found a book in a charity shop and later another book at a second-hand bookstore that opened whenever its owner felt like it. I made the decision to keep the e-book for the trip back to New Zealand, it would lighten my bag. The trip was more exhausting than expected, due to a one-hour race in Dubai to catch a 14-hour flight to Auckland. When I arrived in Nelson, I could not wait to get Proulx’s book from the library and it was only a few weeks ago that I finally read my first e-book.
In fact, I did not really want an e-book, because I like not only reading, but books too. I like the paper, the smell, the object. I was also resisting the purchase of another gadget (Kindle or other), it seemed to me that I already had enough electronic toys, but I more and more often thought that it could be useful when traveling. When I was in Capri last year and saw the lady in front of me, who was quietly reading while waiting for the ferry to leave on her little gadget, I was slightly envious. I finally found Kobo, a platform that can be used for free and that’s where I was able to buy my first e-book.
I quickly concluded that is not my favorite way of reading, there is almost always an unpleasant reflection on the screen, I can not turn the pages, the division in chapter does not let me see where I am in my reading and holding a tablet is not as enjoyable as holding a book. In spite of myself, I am forced to see some advantages. First of all, of course, is the cost (almost half), and the obvious advantage when traveling. So far, I’ve always brought one, two or three books on a trip, but I probably will not do it anymore. On the other hand, what I had never thought of before but which now seems to me quite important, especially after reading Proulx’s book on deforestation, paper economy is not negligible and the -book represents a greener choice in this respect. The main advantage, however, for me, is that it will allow me, I hope, to read more often in French, because having a book in French delivered in New Zealand is overpriced. I do not know yet how to do this, because when I try to go to a French site to get a book, I can not get the app to read it because I do not have a phone number of the country (but I will get there one day). Moreover, I already have hundreds of books in storage, and I do not know when I can relocate them on beautiful bookshelves (of which I often dream). In the meantime, I am afraid of the moment when I will get my books back, because I do not know in which state they will be (and some of them are old). The purchase of e-books will perhaps allow me to wait a little more serenely for this moment, although I can not help thinking that these e-books will never be on my shelves (but one may not have everything I suppose). That did not stop me from going to my local bookseller in Nelson to buy a book of poetry (by J.R. Prynne), which I was very fond of. This book of poems is a sort of bible of poetry and I take great pleasure in reading one or two poems from time to time, which I would not at all like to read in e-book form. I also want to support this independent bookstore, and its two booksellers who work for their love of books and not for profit alone, and I would like them not to be forced to close their doors because of a lack of customers. I will return to them, for books that I particularly like, or rarer. I will continue to go to book fairs (greener), or to the library (but the Nelson library does not have all the books I want). E-book will now be part of my literary life by giving me quick access to new, sometimes hard books to have here, without taking the place of the traditional book.