I’m an old-fashioned gal — I much prefer reading a print book over an ebook. But I’ve never been one to pass up a good sale, so if there’s an e-book I’m interested in for 99 cents, I’ve probably bought it. That accounts for most of the 60+ books in my Kindle account. How many of those had actually been read as of early 2020? Well, that’s none of your business.
Also, most of the time, our clients send us early copies of their books in e-book format, so early on in my career at Books Forward, I got an e-reader to accommodate that. That was pretty much the extent of the dealings I had with e-books.
And then the pandemic hit, and the library closed, and I couldn’t check out any book that sounded good on a whim. Do I have a home library full of books waiting to be read? Yes, but that’s besides the point. Luckily, I could still access the library’s vast collection of e-books.
I do have a bookstagram account, and I was worried about how photos of e-books would turn out. But reading whatever I want was more important to me, so I started checking out as many e-books as my account would allow. And gosh, it’s opened up new worlds.
I don’t have to drive to the library to pick up the book I’ve been anticipating—it’s often available with just one tap of a button. I read A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Wings and Ruin on my Kindle in the spring; not having to hold those giant hardbacks probably saved me many a hand cramp.
When I wake up before anyone else in my house, I can get a few chapters in by pulling up an e-book on my phone without having to switch a light on and wake up my husband.
It also has been a way for me to access a larger number of diverse selections — the library’s budget is only so large, and e-book copies are much more affordable than hard copies. If there’s a book I want to read that the library doesn’t have, 99 percent of the time I can request that they stock the e-book and have my wish granted in a matter of weeks.
Plus, there are so many good deals on e-books, and I’m actually reading the books I buy on my Kindle now! (Miracles never cease!)
I’m not going to lie to you and say I’m deserting physical books for e-books; that will likely never happen for me. But I will say that I’ve developed an appreciation for the ease that they provide.
As for bookstagram photos — it’s still a work in progress, but I’ve learned a lot by trying to take pictures of my phone. And honestly I use my account more for reviews than photos, and now I have more books to review than ever!
Ellen Whitfield is senior publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.