Sarah M. Chenby Sarah M. Chen

I have done something that I swore I would never do: I have purchased an e-reader. Everyone who knows me has heard me say that I would never buy an e-reader. I am old school and printed books are the only way I will read a book.

So what changed my mind?

There are two reasons: the main reason, and what got me out of the house to buy one, was my need for ARCs (advanced reader copies). I’m an indie bookseller so obtaining ARCs is essential for me when writing reviews of upcoming books. The store I work for closed its local physical location so all the lovely ARCs’ supply became slim pickings. But I wasn’t deterred and instead found a new way to order ARCs directly from publishers. The only catch is they are digital ARCs. Gah!

The other reason for an e-reader is that author friends of mine have books out that are only available as e-books. This has been happening more and more lately so I knew one of these days, I would have to go against everything pure and good inside me and purchase an e-reader to support my author friends.

I absolutely love books—real books. I love everything from the feel of the book to the smell of them to the beauty of how they look in my hands and on my bookshelves. My pride and joy in my home is my “favorite books” bookshelf where I proudly display my first editions which are signed and brodarted. You can’t do that with e-books.??????????????

The other aspect of purchasing an e-reader that made me cringe is choosing between Kindle, Kobo, and the Nook. Of course, the popular and easy choice is the Kindle. But being in the indie book business for so many years, I was loathe to purchase a Kindle. It meant supporting Amazon, the giant evil empire. However, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that I’ve made plenty of purchases on Amazon. It can be convenient, cheaper, and easier. For reasons I won’t get into, I tried the Kobo first and discarded it pretty quickly. I then made the dreaded Kindle purchase. I gnashed my teeth and pulled my hair out while I did it though.getting to know your kindle

I hate to say it, but an e-reader isn’t so horrible. Although, there are things I really can’t stand like I can’t see what progress I’ve made in a book. Sure, the Kindle tells you what percentage of the book you’ve read but I’m a visual person and seeing that I’ve read 31% of the book tells me nothing. It’s more difficult in a Kindle to flip back in the story to where I think I learned something important but forgot, and I have no idea what I’m looking for, but if I saw it, I’d know it. But for the most part, it’s not so awful and hasn’t killed me yet.

I have high hopes that my Kindle, my gorgeous printed books, and I can all live harmoniously under one roof.??????????????



Sarah M. Chen has worked a variety of jobs, ranging from script reader to private investigator assistant. Her crime fiction short stories have been accepted for publication online and in various anthologies, including All Due Respect, Akashic, Plan B, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, Betty Fedora, Vol. 2, and the Sisters in Crime/LA anthology, Ladies Night. Her noir novella, Cleaning Up Finn, is slated for publication in 2016 with All Due Respect Books, proving she can write something over 6,000 words. http://www.sarahmchen.com

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32 Responses to I’VE GONE TO THE DARK SIDE

  1. Sarah,
    I had your trepidation about buying a Kindle but as you know I too am a lover of the printed book. But some author friends talked me into it and I also found it’s not that bad. I’m able to buy books inexpensively or for free of authors that I’d like to try out. If my friends have a printed book I try to buy that and get it signed by them. I like to support my local authors. I have yet to pay full price on a Kindle book. I do find it convenient to take to the Dr’s office or places that I might have some time to read.
    It’s not the worst thing in the world – and it’s not the best. But it will do.
    – Stephen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is convenient for those times I’m stuck somewhere waiting and have nothing to read. I even downloaded the Kindle app on my phone so I can read if I don’t have the e-reader with me. Kindle on my computer, at home, on my phone…I’m out of control!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy Jardine says:

    Sarah- I have a kindle, and a tablet, but I first read ebooks on my PC, so I’ve been reading the ebook variety for a good few years. I’m completely happy to read fiction on my tablet (when I find time) but I feel the need to have the paperback or hardback version of a non-fiction book for the reasons you mention about re checking something quickly by flipping the pages. Since I’m doing a lot of research these days my kindle book TBR pile grows larger and larger because I can’t resist buying yet another book when it comes out if it’s written by a new author friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the flipping through pages is the biggest hurdle with me with the Kindle. I do it so frequently (more frequently than I realized) because I’m writing reviews, I need clarification, or I want to re-visit a certain detail. It especially happens when a new plot point surfaces in the book and my brain clicks “aha!” – I want to thumb back to where we first learned about this person or that little detail that seemed so minor at the time. I did have Kindle on my PC for friends’ books that were e-book only, but ended up converting them to PDF and printing it out. That got me buying a lot of paper and toner!


  3. Joe Stephens says:

    I have a Kindle Fire that sits in my drawer, though I use the app on my phone. I buy books for Kindle sometimes, though if I read a book and really like it, I’ll probably end up buying a physical copy anyway. Having it on Kindle doesn’t feel like really owning it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ktkunsman says:

    I got my Kindle Fire for plane travel, but now I mostly use it for reading ARCs and “Indy Authors.” Plus if I see a book on sale I can make an impulse buy. I still buy paperbacks, so in my opinion it’s stimulating the industry, not taking away from it. And I still like getting hardcovers signed by authors.


  5. When the Kindle first came out I couldn’t wait to try it. It was one you could read in daylight, on the beach, or anywhere else. I downloaded lots of books. What I did love about it was checking how my e-book looked on the device before publishing it. I put it away for awhile while I was writing and read mostly paperbacks in my spare time. My daughter and son bought me a Kindle Fire for my birthday a couple of years ago. It’s heavier, I can’t read it outside, and I have no need to use the internet on it. I read on it for a few months and went back to reading books from the library. I totally agree that the feel, the smell and the deliciousness of holding a book in your hand cannot be beat. I do read on my Kindle when I’m reviewing for other authors and occasionally at night, but it doesn’t get much use other than that. I do have the Kindle App on my phone and I love that for when I have to wait somewhere. It’s also on my tablet but I rarely use it because I’m using the tablet either for my creative endeavors or research while I’m writing. I just love to read – whatever it’s on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so opposite about trying new technology. I drag my feet and balk. When I shopped for the Kindle, the salesman said the Fire is great if you want to watch and stream videos and go on the Internet which I didn’t care about. Another guy there said it was great. But I knew I’d just be strictly reading and wanted something light so the Paperwhite is perfect. But yes, I do like the app on my phone. I love to read wherever I am and it’s so handy when I’m stuck somewhere.


  6. Pingback: I’VE GONE TO THE DARK SIDE | Sarah M Chen

  7. I’ve had Kindle for my iPad for a couple of years now. I find myself turning to printed books more lately – they’re just sitting there staring at me, saying “Read me.” All the stuff I have loaded on my Kindle might be waving frantically at me, but I keep forgetting it’s there…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Welcome to the 21st century. Actually, many mainstream eBook readers such as the Kindle and Nook aren’t that accessible to folks like me who are visually impaired, but I have computer software and a portable device that will allow me to read many books in recorded formats as well as pdf or other types of text files. Happy reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Abbie. I often get that “welcome to the 21st Century” so that made me laugh. I am always the last of my friends to do anything like join Facebook, Twitter…even get a flat screen TV. Just a couple years ago, I finally traded in my fat TV for the flat screen.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mike Staton says:

    I’ve not bought an e-reader yet. But I have bought paper versions of novels from Amazon as well as taken fantasy genre novels up to the sales clerks at Barnes & Noble and Books A Million. Ten years ago, when a technical writer staying for long stretches in Baton Rouge (did consulting work at a paper mill), I’d walk across the parking lot of my hotel and peruse a Barnes & Noble several times a week — drink coffee and just enjoy the atmosphere and sometimes actually buy a book. I hated flying, and a good fantasy novel helped make the trips bearable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, trips to a bookstore are such a treasure for me. Which is why shopping on Amazon with my Kindle can’t even compare. I love the bookstore atmosphere which makes me sad that fewer and fewer stores are near me. I do love when I read about new indie stores popping up throughout the nation though.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Doris says:


    I feel your pain. I’ve an ereader, Kindle, and have used in on occassion. My novellas are only ebooks, but like you, I love the joy of handling the real thing.

    May you and your books learn to understand your cousin the ereader. Here’s to many storied, both printed on paper and digitally. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Craig Faustus Buck says:

    We have two Kindles we never use. I am reading ALL my books on my phone Kindle app, however. The only time I have to read is in the middle of the night. If I were to turn on the light to read a book, it would wake my wife, but if I grab my phone, which is light enough (as opposed to my Kindle) to hold up with one hand for long periods of time, I can read in bed for an hour or two before falling asleep again. I love it. Karina and I both do this, reading with white letters on black bg to minimize light. And that way I’ve always got my book with me if someone’s late for an appointment or I’m waiting in the doctor’s office or in line somewhere. I love paper books, but they just don’t work for my lifestyle anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never thought I’d read a book on my phone but I figured, what’s the difference between the Kindle app and reading articles or blog posts that I find through Facebook or Twitter? So I downloaded the Kindle app on my phone too. I don’t use it that much yet but I have a feeling I will. I’ve turned into a monster. Thanks for reading and commenting, Craig.


  12. katewyland says:

    I was slow to get a Kindle too but love my Paperwhite now. I can’t read off a computer screen for long – the backlight gets to me – but the e-ink technology works for me. When I read at night I actually darken the screen so there isn’t as much contrast and is easier on the eyes. And I can brighten it to read outside.

    That said, I do love real books and both our house and storage unit are full of books. Can’t seem to give/throw them away.

    Have fun with your new toy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kate. I feel the same way. Reading from the computer bugs me but so far, the Paperwhite has been good on my eyes. So much so that I end up not using my glasses or contacts. I lazily leave them in when I’m reading a printed book and it’s not good for my eyes since I’m near-sighted. But for some reason with the Kindle, I take them off and it’s much better. So in a weird way, I’m improving my vision with it. Ha!


  13. Travis says:

    I know how you feel, Sarah. I wrote a blog back in March 2014 when I bought a Kindle called A Deal With The Devil? I’ve come to buy and read stories on it and on a Samsung Tablet with Kindle software as well as my Nook. But I never read the same book on the different readers. It’s like the five or so paperbacks with bookmarks sitting around my house. They are much easier to carry and I finally got into highlighting text which I like for reference. Overall it’s good but occasionally the batteries run out or the software stalls, which never happens with a printed book.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Neva Bodin says:

    Seems a lot of us have to be “pulled” into the technology world in some areas. I too preferred “real” books with bindings and pages but lately read mostly e-books on my I-Pad which is really old and which I won in a drawing about 4 years ago. I put the Kindle app on it and belong to Bookbub so download a book or two almost every day. You struck a chord with a lot of people it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I figured the only way I’d own an e-reader would be to win it but sadly that didn’t happen (maybe because I never actually entered any kind of drawing for one because I really didn’t want one!). Thanks for reading and commenting, Neva.


  15. My husband and I bought a Kindle Fire a few Christmases ago, and though it was a difficult move to make, because like most, I’m a “real book” person. But, I love getting inexpensive and free books, and I love seeing my books go up on e-readers! I’ve been able to reach many more readers throughout the world because of the technology, so I’m embracing it as both an author and a reader. Great post, Sarah! I hope you begin enjoying your Kindle more and more every day!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve actually been finding myself using the Kindle app on my phone. If I’m stuck waiting somewhere – like today at Lenscrafters – I just pull up a book and read. It was great! So yes, I am enjoying it more. Thanks, Gayle!


  17. S J Brown says:

    I haven’t gone there , yet. I still like the feel of a book in my hand, actually turning the pages etc. I may one day be forced to go to the dark side, but not yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t go to the dark side! Stay strong! Haha. I would never have done it if it wasn’t for the ARCs I so desperately want to read. I would hold out indefinitely like you. I don’t mind lugging books around wherever I go since I’ve always been doing it.


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