I completely empathized with this post...and with the dilemma of a book lover considering the move to an eBook reader.
I love love LOVE my books. I love the smell of them. The feel of the pages. (I won't buy a book, if the paper doesn't feel "right" to me!) I love the covers. I love reading the inside cover and seeing print information and the name of the cover artist. I love the way walls of books warm up a room...and make handy "platforms" for objets' d'art. I love knowing that when I read "Man's Search for Meaning" on the bus, Harvard PhD students will hit on me. (Best intellectual "pick up" book, EVER! ;)) I love having thousands of books, and the conversations that are started when people visit me, and see my bookshelves. They can tell I'm "smart", because I have lots of antiques, and classics--and I know they're "smart", if they tell me their favorite Austen character, and don't say anything like, "So, you READ all these books?" ;)
And despite working in IT, I LOATHE reading things on a computer screen...so I was very, very anti-eBook reader.
But the reality is...I read approximately 45 books a month...and not only is finding a place to put all those lovely books difficult, but when faced with a recent move to a new city--where I knew I would be stuck in temporary digs for about three months, possibly more, and there was simply NO WAY I could bring the 300 or so books that I really felt were the bare minimum to make life worth living during that time--I realized I had to make some difficult decisions.
I did the math--and realized that for $139 I could tuck more than 1,000 Project Gutenberg books in my purse--the world's best security blanket!--and decided that even though I didn't WANT an eReader, it was the best way to go, to make it through that 3 month period of time.
What I didn't count on was the fact that the Kindle is SO comfortable to read on! And I regained time and lost stress each and every morning, by no longer having to go through my bookshelves, trying to figure out which book to read in the bath...and then which book to read to get me through the commute to and from work, and on my lunch break!
There were no more worries if I wanted to read Auntie Mame--no more careful planning to make sure I read the first 80 pages at home, since all those pages and the front cover are falling apart! I no longer found myself in the position of being ready to start home, and finishing my book BEFORE THE BUS CAME--and having to turn to the front of the book, and start all over again--just so I'd have something to read!
Nope--suddenly, I had most of my favorite books with me, at all times. Including many books that I loved, but hated to take out in public to read, because they were 100+ year old first editions. Autographed. And they were FREE!!!!
Previously--I'd only been able to read John Halifax, Gentleman, and The Little [word that means crippled] Prince, by Dinah M Craik--getting my hands on anything else was too hard. NOW, I had close to *20* books and stories by her--again, FREE!
I was able to read ALL the Five Little Pepper Books, and confirm that I hadn't been missing ANYTHING. Phronsie was ALWAYS annoying, and Grandfather was ALWAYS an unlovable, hair-brained martinet. And I found it out for FREE.
Vistas opened in front of me.
And so did my pocket book--as after making the final move to the new city, in permanent digs, I realized that I had WAY too much stuff, and I never, ever wanted to have a move that complicated again.
Many many many hours and dollars later, I'd managed to replace every single book I owned that was available on Kindle, with a Kindle version...and took all but the antique books and the coffee table books to the second hand bookstore.
I still have several bookshelves of books. Manuals are still more practical in print, than an ereader. And you can't beat a book for "looking" through--so all the coffee table books stay...and the antiques are too much a part of my soul to go...and poetry books and children's books need to be read aloud, from a book, for full enjoyment--so there are many, many reasons to keep my books--but there's also about another two to three boxes of books that are on a "waiting for Kindle" wishlist at Amazon...and as soon as they're available on Kindle, they'll go, too.
I miss having them all around me. I miss all the questions I used to get, when reading in public, about what I was reading (now the question is, "Is that a Kindle?). I miss the secretive, smug glances that I can exchange with other readers who are reading "your kind" of books--the camraderie from seeing someone reading your favorites. And I feel a little lost, sometimes, now that information I used to wear on the outside is no longer as readily available--as a monster copy of David Copperfield commands a lot more respect than a slim little Kindle! (On the other hand, I don't miss feeling vaguely ashamed, when I wanted to take a book out in public that didn't satisfy my Inner Intellectual Snob: true, no one knows when I'm reading The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire--but they also don't know when I'm reading a trashy romance! ;))
But mostly, I am happy and satisified...because my books are always with me, no matter where I go. It's a marriage made in heaven.
(And we all lived happily ever after.)
[Edit: apparently this forum subsitutes silly acronyms for certain words...hence some rather clunky workarounds of mine, in this post!]