Anybody who knows me knows that I love books. I felt nostalgic when I looked at a gigantic pile of paperbacks and hard covers, new and used, scattered on the floor. Every book did not just contain valuable information within its pages, but also carried with it a baggage of experiences—my experiences.

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 10.37.27 AM

I held in my hands a book of E.T.A. Hoffman’s tales, given to me by my soulmate, and recalled that he had given it to me during an enchanting Christmas Eve spent with wonderful friends. I recalled that I read the book just when the New Year’s Eve was approaching and that I loved how some of the stories actually took place during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season. I also recalled what I great winter break vacation it was and how we spent that New Year’s Eve. When the book was no longer in my possession, the physical reminder of all my experiences and memories would disappear, I thought. But it was too late. A used-book dealer was in the room, counting out the money for my entire collection. There was no turning back now. My husband and I were about to move into our tiny home, smaller than our apartment, and the decision had been made not to take the books along.

In the new home, no bookshelves adorn the pastel-colored walls and no brightly-colored book covers tempt me to open them up with excitement to see what’s inside. And it’s not because I suddenly lost interest in something I had treasured for many years, it’s not because of a relative lack of space in our home, and it’s certainly not because of apathy. The electronic versions of books, published on the iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc, are to blame.

The minute I opened my first ebook on my iPad, I fell in love with it and the experience of reading. When I used to read the printed books, the process was painstakingly slow. Being partially sighted, I did not see the print unless it was enlarged. I had to use a magnifying glass or a special, bulky, non-portable, microfilm-like device that would magnify the text. It was sitting on my desk and in order to read I had no choice but to read at my desk. On the iPad, I could magnify the text to my hearts content, just by gently touching the screen. Like scores of avid readers around the world, I finally understood what it meant to curl up with a book on the sofa and lose oneself in it. I was overjoyed and enchanted with this new experience of reading.

I also found it irresistible to download ebook samples the minute I heard about them. I’d listen to an interview with a fascinating author, type their name into a search box, and the ebook would pop up in the ebook store. Not only that, but I could actually download a sample and read it in order to determine whether the author was indeed as fascinating as he/she had sounded on the radio.

The easy access to books changed my attitude to instant gratification. While in the past I had been known to mock the consumers’ obsession for their desire to gratify their senses instantly, I too was now enslaved by it. I was hocked—while I could resist the temptation of buying clothes the minute I saw them, I’d download numerous book samples to my iPad the minute I heard about them.

My love for ebooks grew even stronger when I was packing for a month-long trip to India and Singapore. In the past, I had spent hours trying to decide how many books to take along on the journey and not have to pay the fee for my suitcases overloaded with books. Once I had decided how many books I could possibly fit in, I went through the painstaking task of choosing the books that would be going with me on the trip. “And what if I run out of books to read?” I wondered in despair. “And what if I feel like reading a book I had decided to leave behind?” With the ebook library as light as my iPad and as voluminous as I wished it to be, all these dilemmas simply vanished. I could take all the books I wanted, plus I could buy more books while traveling, so long as there was the internet connection.

As my collection of ebooks continues to grow, so does my love for it. As time goes by, my new collection of experiences accompanying the reading of each book expands as well. And as I touch the IPAD to enlarge the text before me, I am reminded of the first time I read the magnified text of the book. Any nostalgia I might have felt at losing my old books is replaced with awe for the present, for the ease of reading and the availability of books, and for the wonderful things to come.

Posted on 2/28/2014

karo_headshotWritten by Karo Caran

I am a poet and a fiction/nonfiction writer. I published a novel and am currently working on a poetry-based memoir. I have a PhD in Education. You can follow me on my Facebook page or like my page at Visit my blog at