The Fragility of Ereaders

The debate between paper books and ereaders continues! Every time I think I’m swaying one way, I get a pull in the other direction. Most recently, a weird update and some slight ereader malfunctions created a fresh longing for paper books.

Some time ago the Overdrive option disappeared from my ereader Settings options. The Overdrive option is what allows me to login to my public library and borrow ebooks. This wasn’t a big deal because somehow my home library login remained. I was still able to borrow and download books for this system without issue. However, sometimes I borrow an ebook from a partner library that I would also like to access on my ereader. This is when troubles arise. Since the option wasn’t showing up on my ereader, my alternative is to read on my phone, which I don’t enjoy very much.

I finally contacted the company for some assistance. Turns out I needed to update my credit card information before the option to borrow books from the public library would appear. It seemed strange, some kind of weird arrangement that only after the commitment to pay was sealed would the option to borrow be released. To date, since I started using ereaders around 2010, I’ve purchased exactly one book. I only purchased it because I needed to read it right away and it wasn’t available in the libraries yet.

With the Overdrive option reappearing, I logged in to the partner library and got the new book. Shortly after, the ereader started acting funky. The screen had a wonky display, the book cover with text appearing under it. Then it got dropped on the floor. Incidentally, this is how one of my previous ereaders died. After some tense moments of restarting, powering down, recharging, and hard wishing, the ereader started working again. However, it left me feeling a bit irritated with the technology. Paper books just don’t experience these kinds of failures.

I’ve never had a problem opening a book, unless it was super old and fragile. Turning pages is easy, no accidentally skipping ahead or back random pages, or not being able to turn them at all. More importantly, paper books are always “on.” They don’t require charging or restarting. All you need is some light and a comfy seat.

I still like the ereader, but I’m glad to have paper books around as a permanent backup option.

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