I am a fan of … eBooks.
I was once a fan of paper books. Back when nothing thrilled me more that the smell of a fresh, un-cracked paperback. Back when I would read late at night, well past bedtime to finish just one more chapter. Back when work, budgets and deadlines didn’t consume every minute of my waking time.
But then, one day I woke up in China. I was living in Beijing where I was totally immersed and thoroughly submerged in a different culture & language. Outside of work, everything was written, spoken and displayed in Chinese. It was exhilarating but mentally exhausting. Reading was a respite but English books were few and far between.
In my neighborhood there was a tiny book shop selling a small selection of English books for pre-schoolers, young adult, classical lit, popular lit and decade old current affairs – all located on a scant five shelf unit. Reading the web wasn’t an option. It was 2009 and the infamous Chinese fire-wall blocked social media … in as much social media existed then.
Amazon released it’s first generation Kindle in November 2007, followed by a second generation in 2009. On a home-trip to Canada, I purchased my first Kindle e-reader. With this device I suddenly had access to a treasure trove of reading. All my reading restrictions were lifted. Availability was what was in the catalog. Accessibility was a VPN connection away.
I still use my Kindle device today, upgraded twice since my original. I also read on my phone, tablet and laptop. Electronic books have served me well. Through countries, transit and travel, I’ve always had something to read. My catalogs are no longer limited to the Amazon library. Public libraries have digital libraries through OVERDRIVE and even streaming services through KANOPY. These digital services were lifesavers during Covid and I can only imagine them growing in use and catalog content going forward.
I am a Fan of books. Digital or otherwise. Always.
This post is brought to you care of Jez’s Fan of … #78 challenge. As he says, this challenge is for whenever you find yourself thinking “I’m a fan of …” Check out Jez’s instructions here on how to join and tell us what you’re a Fan of.
Toronto, Canada. September 2020