Help! Technology is leeching the life out of reading!


Endless books, by Su Ai

Einstein is quoted as saying, “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal” and considering the way some people see indie publishing today, Einstein may not have been far wrong.

When Amazon introduced their Kindle and the 99c eBook, reading material was suddenly, seemingly endless. I could buy 10 books where before I could only get 1. It felt like a windfall. For many years, I would finish a book and twiddle my thumbs until the next one would fall into my hands. Now I could buy 10 at a time based on my regular “book budget” (as if anyone really has a book budget – if you are like me, you have to stay away from bookstores so you don’t empty your wallet in one visit). With websites like, that windfall has become even larger, opening up an even larger world to us. We can download eBooks for free.

This sounds like it would be a good thing, no? Well, it can be. An endless supply of books to satisfy an ever-increasing hunger for reading material. As you finish one, there’s always another to take its place. And that’s beautiful if you’ve got the time for it. At first, I was happy that I could finish one and move straight into another on my Kindle. I would spend an hour or 2 a week, loading a dozen new books onto my Kindle and serial-reading for a few days straight afterwards.

It has become more of a distraction now though. Where before coming home for a long weekend with four or five books meant four or five days of reading bliss, now I have over 20 books sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read. And I keep adding to that list! At this rate, I’ll never finish.

Technology has helped give us more reading freedom, sure. But Einstein was right, even though it looks great, it really is not. A pile of books used to energise and excite me. Now my never-ending list of eBooks, waiting to be read, is intimidating. I don’t know if or when I’ll ever be done. How’s that for technological progress?

How about you? Have eBooks opened up a technological nightmare for you? Or is it a dream come true? Let us know in the comments.

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  • I do like the feel of a book in my hands. Unconsciously I lick my finger to turn the page. But I am one who cannot ignore a printed word–cereal boxes with ingredients, book spines, road signs–words. words, words. I can’t resist. Don’t take the ability to read for granted. A stack of books waiting to be read is better than money in the bank. Waiting for the next book by a favorite author is like waiting for Christmas when I was a child. I love my Kindle too.

  • I feel the same way, only I probably have a hundred ebooks waiting to be read. I really like having them read to me while I am driving. Thank you Kindle for allowing that privilege.

  • My Kindle is my personal library. I have no problem entering a public library, checking out one book from the thousands stored there, and walking out without another thought about the unread books I’ve left behind. So to with my Kindle. I love the knowledge that when I’m ready to read another book, I have so many choices from so many genres.

  • I held out for a long time, but now we travel a lot and I can’t take many books with me. Far from being overwhelmed by the number of unread books on my e-reader, I start to feel a bit insecure if it drops below 20. I always knew that in my lifetime I could never read all the books I wanted to, so it is no different whether they are ebooks or hard copy.

    The best things about ereading are:
    – I can have as many books on the go at one time as I want, without having to find the space to put them

    – I can annotate books without feeling like I am defacing them
    – I can read in any light, even next to the campfire
    – I can borrow ebooks from the library

  • Don’t see why it should be a nightmare. Simply stop looking at it as a to do list and it becomes a list of endless possibilities.

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