eBooks? No Thanks.

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October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Courtney Kilroy from Nebraska.

ereader_picI… am not a fan of ebooks. Never have been, possibly never will be. Why?

If you’re reading this, you must be a dedicated reader. Of anything. Newspapers, magazines, novels, chapter books, graphic novels, manga, et cetera. Why else would you be reading a blog about books?? And if you’re a dedicated reader, you know how exciting it is when your favorite author releases a new book, or when the next issue of your favorite magazine hits the shelves. And the build-up that makes it exciting.

  • The cliffhanger left at the end of the last book.
  • The nine months you waited until the title and sneak peek were released.
  • The additional month you waited until the book actually was available in stores.
  • The drive to the bookstore.
  • The speed-walk to the young-adult fiction aisle.
  • Then… you see it. You hold it in your hands, and you flip through the pages.
  • You have the thing you’ve been waiting for what seems like forever.
  • You check out, and read in the car (unless, of course, you’re driving, in which case you should
    be watching the road).

Does that sound familiar? It does for me. It’s like that with all the books I read, right now. Or
replace the bookstore with a library. Anyway, I feel like you don’t get that with an ebook.

  • The cliffhanger at the end of the last book.
  • The nine months you waited for the title and sneak peek to be released.
  • The additional month you waited until the book was actually available in the iTunes Store.
  • The opening of the iTunes app.
  • The typing of the name of the book into the search bar.
  • The clicking on the book’s icon.
  • The downloading of the book. 1%…2%…3%…

Kind of anticlimactic, don’t you think?

Not only that, you miss the experience with ebooks. Obsessing over trying to not bend or tear the pages, smelling the “new book smell” all new novels have (or even the “old book smell” of the classics), and the amazing feeling at the end of a book when you turn the last page, read the last sentence, close the cover, and begin to ponder what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. Where is that feeling of accomplishment? That feeling is satisfaction? You don’t get it with an ebook.

Now, yes, I own ebooks. But I feel like I don’t own them. I take pride in the books I own. To be able to physically hold them, and display to all you see, that you own this amazing masterpiece of literature. For those reading who’ve read The Book Thief, do you remember when Liesel first steps into the mayor’s library? And she spins around with her eyes closed and fingertips brushing across the spines of the books? The sheer majesty of a room full of books, a room full of things yet to be discovered, it’s so amazing, and I can’t explain it. And just shoving that majesty into hard metal box, limiting them to the mere covers so many people judge them by, it doesn’t seem right.

Teenager. What just popped into your head? Whether it way a boy or girl, with acne or a clear face, holding a Starbuck’s coffee or a bag of Doritos, it definitely had one thing. An iPhone. Or iPad. Or laptop. Some kind of technology. Definitely not a novel or a textbook. Guess what you need to read an ebook? An iPhone. Or iPad. Or even laptop. Even though you know you’re reading a book, adults take you as another phone-absorbed teen. So, shouldn’t we feel a certain pride in being seen with a novel, defying the definition of the word teenager? Showing the adults who write off all teenagers as “technology-obsessed,” that we can take joy in things other than the number of likes our selfie gets on Instagram?

By the way! I’m Courtney Kilroy. I live in Omaha, Nebraska. I have spent fourteen years on this lovely Earth of ours, the last month of which I’ve used to begin my high school career. When I’m not reading, I participate in trapshooting and I am an avid movie-goer. I have a sister, two nieces (Katie and Danielle), a nephew (Elijah), and a mom and a dad. So, that’s all for me. Thanks for spending ten minutes of your life on my opinions!

4 thoughts on “eBooks? No Thanks.”

  1. Great entry. I too like to build a collection that I can see and touch. I get that nervous thrill feeling when I walk into a bookstore or library with the knowledge that I will walk out with “that” book I have been eagerly anticipating. I admit I also enjoy the instant “gotcha” achieved by an ebook when I can’t get to the bookstore or when library but can still access a new book. There a place for both.

  2. I’m not the only one! My friends honestly don’t get me when I say I don’t like ebooks, and I can honestly say I’ve only ever read one book on an ereader, ever! (And that was a desperate measure…. the last book of a series came out in the middle of a school trip and I borrowed my friend’s kindle and stayed up until 12:00am reading)

    Anyways, thanks for making me feel less alone in this matter. I love technology, but not ereaders. Especially the ones that look fake.

  3. Excellent column. So very true. Thanks for teaching me – and reminding me why I love what I do :) Keep writing – and Keep reading!

  4. I’m guilty of the speed-walk through the bookstore. You’re right, nothing beats the smell of books! Thanks for the read and for representing Marian High School!

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