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As part of this experiment I have been borrowing my partner’s iPad to read a novel. I have always avoided any kind of e-reader, preferring to stick with books, but I thought I’d give it a go.

I used the websites weekly recommendation to choose my book. At first it was all quite exciting. There was a large number of titles to choose from and flicking through all the blurbs I was eager to make my selection and get reading.

I realised that you can sample an entire chapter without buying the book. This puts a lot of pressure on that first chapter. It had better be good as there is no commitment to buy and you can easily discard after the first read through. I wanted to read the blurb about the author – like on the back of the book cover but found that I could not. This was rather disappointing as I like to envision the writer as I am reading.

I settled into bed and starting reading my selection – maybe it was the newness but I couldn’t quite get used to the feel of the iPad. I wanted to feel the book I was reading. I wanted to flick through the pages, but I couldn’t. Well I could scroll through them one at a time but it wasn’t the same.

I persevered and there were advantages. I didn’t need a light to read by – which is great for me as I often fall asleep reading and struggle to switch off the lamp half comatose. Bugs however, did have a tendency to fly into the screen – perhaps not so good up here in the rainforest. I know for travellers it would be great too – not having to carry heavy books around.

Today I had finished my iPad book so I decided to go into a real bookstore to purchase my next real book. I loved strolling through the aisles, reading the reviews from the store workers. Each new glossy cover felt filled with potential. I gazed along the rows for ages, before I finally made my selection.

I did read the blurb on the book before I bought it – just not the whole first chapter. Buying it and holding it feels as thought there is more of a commitment to the book than compared to the iPad.

I don’t know whether e-books and e-readers are encouraging reading among our younger generations. I do know that it is putting strain on our already struggling Australian publishing industry.

I will always support the industry. As I get ready to curl into bed I don’t think there is anything that compares to the smell of a new book and knowing you are about to delve into a new world. I don’t think they will ever be able to replace it – and I hope they don’t. I will live with switching off the lamp.