Out of Sight, Out of Mind

~ By Toni Linenberger

So for my birthday / Christmas last year mom and dad bought me an e-reader.  Since I got to pick out said e-reader and spend mom and dad’s money, I opted for an iPad.  I’ve never been one for anything proprietary.  I know, there are ways to break the proprietary ones, but that takes work.  I wanted EVERYTHING and I didn’t want to work very hard to get it.  This is many people’s philosophies for life.  Generally, not mine, however.  I tend to work very hard for the things I have.  That being said, I am very fond of options.  And comparison shopping.  Coupons, too.  Lions, and tigers, and bears:  oh my!  Besides, I was spending mom and dad’s money; since mom likes to help me spend my money I thought turn-about was fair play.

New iPad in hand, I gleefully began downloading reading apps.  I made sure I had them all:  Adobe, Amazon, Borders (now Kobo), and Nook.  Then I started downloading the books to go with them.  Many free, most not very expensive.  Anything with the words free and a description that was remotely interesting was mine.  Authors I’ve never heard of I suddenly became interesting since the price was right.  I did stick to my typical genres, but that has been about my only limitation.  My e-library grew by leaps and bounds in all different directions.  The free and 1.06 charges began to add up on my credit card.  Yes, it took me a while to track to the gift card concept.

At the same time, I was continuing to buy, and read, hard copy.  I love paper.  I will always love paper.  Most of what I was downloading was backlist stuff and things not available in hard copy.  I’d discovered several new authors over the previous year so I was hunting down their backlist, in hard copy.  Much of what I read my mom does also.  Hard copy is much easier to pass around (though we did buy her a Kobo for her birthday).  Then Borders went out of business.  Books on sale:  I’m there.  Maybe one too many times, but who’s keeping track?

My physical TBR piles were growing, as were my electronic ones.  I’m sure most of you have figured out where I’m going with this.  Though I’ve tried to move into the electronic age I’m just not there.  Don’t get me wrong, reading on my iPad is great.  But as the title says:  Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

When I go looking for a book, I look first to the physical piles that threaten to take over my house.  My favorite place in the world is still a bookstore.  I rarely go in without bringing something out.  Often that something it not exactly what I went in for.  If an ebook and a hard copy book are the same price, I go for hard copy.  My best book friend in the world bought me books for Christmas, in hard copy.  Hard copy covers are brilliant, vibrant, and exciting.  They bring color to my office.  And they remind me of old friends I’ve enjoyed and new friends yet to discover.

Yes, there are many, many things on my iPad I want to read.  However, when the choice is between what I can’t see and what I can, what I can see always seems to win.  So the virtual languishes; unread on a variety of platforms.  I suppose the good news is the protagonists have lots to read while they are waiting.  One day I will get to them.  I will be on a long vacation and they will come with me:  a wealth of new virtual friends to be discovered.

In the meantime, I think I need to find a way to print the titles in my various libraries.  Then I have a visual cue of what is waiting for me behind the screen.  Perhaps that will drive me to the virtual over the physical.  I don’t know.  Perhaps I will always be a print girl.

So, what do you do?  How do you drive yourself to the virtual selections over the physical ones?  Is it possible to stop filling your literal bookshelves?

Toni is an historian and published technical writer who is slowly venturing into the blogosphere with thought-provoking reviews on romance and mysteries.  One day she hopes she will be able to turn her attention to writing the Great American Novel.  Toni lives with the most spoiled cat on the planet (Lincoln) and his sister (Abby) in a house filled with wine, chocolate, and, of course, books.

3 thoughts on “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”

  1. It’s probably not possible to keep from filling your e-book shelves any more than your literal bookshelves. I read just as much hard copy (or more) than I do on my Nook. I “only” have about 100 books on my Nook. However, I try to show retsraint because my mother has to wade through these to find what she wants to read. I have started keeping inside my Nook cover a small typed (or handwritten) list of the books in my Nook which are on the top of my “must-read” list. This keeps me from wandering around through all 100 when I pick it up to read. I guess I don’t believe that e-books will ever totally replace hard copy because sometimes you just have to curl up with that good book, be able to re-read the jacket blurbs or look at the author’s photo while reading. But I am learning to love my e-reader, just not at much as my first love – books, all sizes and shapes.

  2. Having spent nearly 30 years in the library field, I (of course) love physical monographs.
    My TBR pile is, quite literally, multiple stacks in my small study. Most of my older books are boxed after two moved in the past 6 yrs and I don’t even have a place to unpack them. But among them are many I haven’t yet had opportunity to read.
    Then, like you, I got a reading device at the end of last year. I already have some 75 titles (most free) loaded. So far, I’ve read one novella and might have read one novel. And I’m about 1/4 way thru another novel. That’s for about 12 weeks since getting the Kindle.
    In other words, I’m hopelessly behind and won’t ever catch up.
    I also wish I could PRINT a list of the titles … or at least find a better way to survey what’s in the device without scrolling through numerous electronic pages.

  3. House full of wine and chocolate. Sounds delicious!

    I have a Kindle. I make my decision on the author. There are some that I hope to meet one day, and I’d love to get their autographs. So, I have their books handy and waiting.

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