15th April 2020
An Open Letter to eBooks
In the midst of an (almost) entirely digital reading experience, one of our SURLY patrons has written a letter to the only thing keeping us readers going at the moment – ebooks.
I’m sorry, I really am. It’s not you, it’s me.
Nope, scratch that, it’s definitely you.
I’m a traditional reader – a romantic, if you will – I just love the smell and feel of paper. The act of reading isn’t just about the words, it’s the entire experience. And I’m sorry ebooks, but you’re just not cutting it for me. It started with a dislike for scrolling. Pure simple hatred. I just didn’t understand it; am I meant to read to the bottom of the screen and then scroll, or do I scroll as I go? No one even knows the answer. Then there are so many buttons, and options, and extra features. Honestly a physical book is just so much easier – you pick it up and away you go, no additional assembly required.
On top of that, my kindle has to be charged in order for me to even open the ebook. What if I decided to go camping in the outback (highly unusual, I hate the outdoors, that’s why I’m a reader – but still hypothetically) what would I do? I’m sorry ebooks, but you were just too much drama.
Don’t even get me started on the fact that you seem to think it’s a fantastic idea to return yourself when you’re due. No thank you. Personally I like to live life on the edge, with the threat of overdue fees hanging over my head – it motivates me to read faster and actually get through the giant pile of books on my shelf. Speaking of, your shelves are unlimited. It’s an infinite online space. There is just no way to control my obsession. I could have a million books and never have to trip over piles that have coagulated on my floor. At this rate, I would just keep stocking up on books without ever being reminded that I already have a hundred other books which need reading. I just needed a sense of stability and you couldn’t provide that.
Then there were the lies…
I believed you were better than a normal book because surely there would be infinite copies of an ebook. I would never have to wait months for books to actually show up. You were always going to be there, on time, when I needed you. But that just wasn’t true! It’s a regular occurrence now. I go onto the website and there isn’t a copy available for issue. What’s the point of that?
And what about giving a book to a friend, this has to be the most thoughtful gift anyone could receive. But what am I meant to do, email you the link to an ebook I bought you? That hardly carries the same meaningful sense of friendship. Like happy birthday, here’s this url, I hope your wifi connection is stable.
But, in times like these, when I can’t go to the library and my reading pile is dwindling, you’ve got my back. When everyone else is gone, you’re the only one left standing in my corner. So I suppose I could forgive you. I could look past your many faults. I still don’t love you, but… I guess we could be friends.
p.s. if you want to give ebooks a try for yourself, check em out here.