To e-read or not to e-read?

I love books. I love the smell of their pages, the weight of them in my hands, the tactile experience of reading them. I love the look of books on my bookshelf – each unique shape, each coloured spine evoking a memory of its story. I love the feeling of a brand new book, chosen carefully, pages crisp and spine unbroken. I love the promise of a library book, chosen on a whim, cover scratched and pages worn soft. I love the gift of a borrowed book, passed from friend to friend, gaining meaning with each lending and each discussion. And I love revisiting a favourite book, its passages familiar and comforting, its pages falling open to the best bits, the ones I reread again and again.

I have always loved reading. As a child, I was the kid reading under the covers with a flashlight. “Just to the end of this chapter Mum, I promise…” I would have four or five books on the go at any given time. I would lay them all out on the carpet in my bedroom and use the eeny, meeny, miny, moe method to choose which book to read a chapter from first, to ensure a random selection. (Of course, if I just happened to place the books on the floor in an order that would guarantee the best one of the lot being selected first, it was still random, right? Pure coincidence, of course.)

Reading is still a favourite pastime, though there doesn’t seem to be as much time for it anymore, what with the small tornadoes living in my house. Another byproduct of the small tornadoes is that it is difficult to bring them to the library for enough time to really browse the non-children’s section. Same with the book store. So I’ve begun borrowing e-books from my library’s fantastic selection and reading them on my computer, but there are challenges. The only chance I get to read is at bedtime, when I love to burrow into the pillows and turn the pages until my eyes are closing (or until my husband pointedly turns out his light and turns his back). It’s tough to cozy up in bed with a laptop, so I spend my pre-bed reading time at the dining room table, which is not so cozy.

That brings me to the question of the day: should I get an e-reader? I’ve always been adamantly against getting one, because for me, nothing can match the tactile experience of reading printed books. But at the moment I’m not reading much at all, and the convenience of the e-reader is tempting. What if I get one and it’s so convenient that I stop borrowing and buying printed books? Does that even matter?

Thoughts? Any other time-starved book-lovers out there with the same problem?