Seven Days without Paper

I have a confession to make. Even though I bought an ereader (iPad) a year ago, and even though I made the decision to have Church Street sell ebooks, and even though I’ve written about how I think booksellers should embrace digital reading … I still don’t really like to read ebooks.




Drawback #1: It’s harder to hide behind an ebook.

There’s something magical about a paper book. All my life, I’ve associated paper and ink with escape. I’m a shy person, and reading has always been my way of testing the waters before I leap into something new and different. Books help me to be brave, and they comfort me when I’m not. I carry them everywhere, even when it’s inconvenient … mostly because I’m a book addict and I want to be able to sneak in some reading time, but partly because a book is a kind of security blanket — the simple act of holding or opening a book makes me calmer. I just don’t get that feeling from running my finger across my iPad.


Every day, customers come into Church Street and share a version of this story, saying they’ll be dedicated to paper books forever. But it makes me wonder — how much of our distrust of ebooks is justified, and how much is just because it’s not what we’re used to? I suspect that it’s really story and knowledge that we love, not paper and ink. If we become more familiar with getting our stories from screens, will we like them just as much?


So, I’m going to do a mini experiment: Starting Monday, I’m going to go for seven days reading only on a screen, and I’ll blog here about the pros and cons. My laptop, phone and tablet are fair game. Newspapers, magazines, and books printed on paper are not. I hope you’ll follow my little adventure, comment about your thoughts here and on Facebook, and share the journey with me.


See you Monday.


Carrie Rollwagen is co-owner and book buyer at Church Street Coffee & Books.

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