Escape to an Island in the Sun

A New Adventure Every Day!

Expats and Ebooks

“Oh, I don’t like those new fangled things” she tut-tutted. “I much prefer browsing in a bookshop, smelling the pages of a newly printed book, feeling the cover, looking at the illustrations. There’s something about the smell and feel of a new book, don’t you think? You’ll never get that on one of these gadgets.”

Hmm, I thought. I used to think that too, but I have since learned. How else can you carry up to 4000 books around with you at any one time, with many of them free or costing less than five pounds to buy? Can you adjust the size and style of the font in a printed book to make it easier to read? Can you read late at night comfortably and without straining your eyes? What about being able to download almost any book when you want and where you want anywhere in the world? Will your book actually read the words to you if you are too tired? Forget the smell and feel. Personally, I just want to be able to read a good book.

Expats and Ebooks - 'Letters from the Atlantic'

I miss books! One of the most difficult things that I had to do when we left the UK for Spain was to cull my collection of books. We could neither afford to transport them all, nor was there going to be enough storage space in our new Spanish home to accommodate them. Book lovers will know the feeling, I am sure, that books become like old friends - always there to provide words of comfort and support in times of difficultly, laughter as well as endless sources of wisdom collected over the years. In the end, I had to make a decision and most of my collection of books found their way to the Salvation Army shop at the end of our road. It was heartbreaking. Even so, I just could not part with some of my earliest childhood memories and so some of my favourite children’s books are still stored in a box in my elderly Aunt’s garage in the UK.

How I regretted it. Somehow I felt that our home had suddenly been stripped bare of its treasures and within a few weeks I began to collect another small collection from several of the English bookshops in the Costa Blanca, or from one of the many car boot sales that were springing up in the area. Fortunately, before I had time to collect too many books we were on our travels again - this time to the Canary Islands. The cost of freight and the necessity of living in a small apartment for the first few months meant that the cruel process of disposing of books had to begin all over again.

In some ways, the lack of bookshops catering for the English speaking market in the Canary Islands has been a blessing because of the removal of temptation. Yes, I can buy books from car boot sales, charity stalls and the like, but somehow that doesn't have quite the same appeal as peaceful browsing in a bookshop. So, it has had to be browsing online from Internet bookshops and then hoping that the book ordered eventually arrives in the post, or to wait until the next visit back to the UK. My reading for pleasure days seemed almost to be over until I discovered Kindle.

Kindle from Amazon is one of a number of remarkably clever devices from many manufacturers, and is marketed as an ebook reader. These devices are able to download a large number of books via the Internet, and many of the classics are free. My own ereader will store around 4000 books; so plenty to take away on holiday! The choice of books is incredible and I personally find them easier to read on the eyes than a traditional paperback, because the size of text can be adjusted to suit personal taste. If you don’t feel like reading, then an ebook reader can read the text to you! I can read books loaded into the ereader in bright sunlight or in darkness by using the light built into the case. I have already downloaded the complete collection of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy for the grand sum of 72 pence for each collection, as well as books from a number of modern authors, including the latest best sellers and thrillers.

As an expat living on an island, with little in the way of English language bookshops on hand, purchasing an ebook reader has been one of my best finds, and one that I highly recommend. Indeed, I have to confess to some self-interest, as I have recently published one of my own books in this format - a great way for me to combine my love of writing, as well as my love of gadgets!

For the traditionalists, that lovely smell of a new book is missing with an ebook, of course, nor is there that special feel of the crispness of paper or a shiny new book jacket, or the stiffness protecting an unopened book. However, if it is content that you are interested in, as well as the opportunity to escape into another world, then I can highly recommend it. Protection Status © Barrie Mahoney