"I'm not much of a reader, but since we've had one of these ..."
This is not me talking, you will have guessed. It's the lady from the couple I got talking to while looking at the demo e-readers.
I'd reached a tipping point. As always with these things, it was an accumulation of forces which led me there. Recently, I heard from two friends who are going to be published electronically later this year (ec newman, and Kim Donovan's St Viper's School for Super Villains) and I need to be able to read them. I also remember a respected YA author answering a question at the Kids' Lit Fest last year. Of course he liked e-books: his house was full of paper ones, and the overspill in the garage was getting damp.
I don't have that impressive a library - each time I've moved on in my life I've taken only the books that meant most to me, leaving the rest behind - but our house is small and when the piles start growing on the landing you realise you have to do something. That something could of course be giving some away, and I weed fairly frequently, but I went through them a couple of weeks ago and managed to find two I was prepared to part with. I use my local library extensively, but some of the books I want are not available without expensive inter-library loan fees. If I got an e-reader I could buy more without adding to the piles; I could even make space by replacing some battered classics with free downloads.
Enough worthy reasons to give myself permission to start browsing scrummy on-line bookstores full of inviting titles, and playing with tablets and e-readers... it's a toy! I want one!
Back to the lady in the shop. The really interesting thing about that couple - besides the fact that they had been turned from non-readers into readers - was that they already had an e-reader, but one was not enough. They were shopping for another, fancier one so they could both read at the same time and stop fighting over the one they already had.
Video didn't stop people going to the cinema. I have no statistics to prove this, but my sense is that it gave the film industry a boost, allowing people to develop their taste for movies. I've had my first personal experience of how e-publishing may do the same for our appetite for reading.
Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not ...
Sorry. Could never resist a bit of Caliban.