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Nadworny: Excited About E-Books

02/07/11 5:55PM By Rich Nadworny
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(HOST)  E-books are gaining in popularity.  This morning, commentator Jay Parini considered whether books-on-paper will become an endangered species.  But commentator Rich Nadworny thinks that all the recent warnings about the death of the printed word is just - pulp fiction.

(NADWORNY)  I'm not sure why we've decided that words printed on paper have more value than words in other media. Maybe we just love pulp products.

I have to say that ever since I purchased my iPad last June I've read more literature than I have in years. I haven't consumed this many novels since before I had kids. I'm just reading them digitally. I have iBooks and a Kindle reader on my iPad. And Google recently launched its own reader.

Last summer, when I was just heading out on vacation, I realized I did not have a good book with me, and it was too late to go to the bookstore. It was only then that I realized that I had, not one, but two amazing book stores right at my fingertips.

That started me on a book-buying binge that's continued unabated right into the new year. Honestly, I don't think I've ever spent this much money on books before. I've always loved second-hand bookstores and borrowing books from friends. But now it's so easy to buy books that when I need a new one - I just buy it.

So far, the only big drawback with e-books that I can see - whether they come from Apple, Amazon or, now, Google - is that it's impossible to share a book. And that's unfortunate, because sometimes I get as much joy from lending books to my friends as I do from reading them. The act of sharing something you love is something we should do more of, not less of.

Many of the best books I've ever read have come from someone else's library - sometimes this has started a lifelong loyalty to specific authors.  So I hate that I can't lend e-books I've read to my friends and family. Short of lending out my iPad - which I'm not crazy about - the only way I've seen to do this is to log into my accounts from someone else's device, which seems like a total pain.

I understand the copyright and piracy issues around digital sharing. But if the big guys can figure this out for music, surely they can figure it out for e-books. Actually, I think that, if you can't share it, we shouldn't call it a book. Until we can, maybe I'll just call them e-stories.

But whatever we call them, they do have one big advantage. I read when I go to bed. It helps me sleep better. With paperbacks, I was always falling asleep as I read them, dropping them on my face, losing my place and waking with a start. Now, there's no way I'm about to drop my iPad e-book reader on my nose in my bed. Maybe that's why everyone loves paper books so much!
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