I don't have an e-reader, and I should probably qualify that with the word "yet." I do have several e-books on my PC. I read one of them promptly and quickly because I had agreed to write a review. The others? Haven't read Word One, even though I'm a voracious reader and am interested in these books' topics. Why haven't I even started reading them? Because they're on my computer rather than toppling off my nightstand. Were the latter the case, I'd have finished them months ago. On my computer, they're not calling, "Read me." On my computer, I've got too many other priorities that come first. But the "read me" thing is really the bottom line: Because the books are on my computer, I keep forgetting I have them.
It seems an e-reader would solve this. An e-reader is dedicated for reading, and the device is as much a visual prompt as a physical book is. But here's my question: Can't individual books get lost in this vast e-library? When you pick up an e-reader, you're picking up hundreds or someday thousands of books all at once, if you've owned it awhile and are an avid reader. Surely you can just plain forget some of them, even though they're as present and available as all the others. Yes, physical libraries also contain forgotten or unread books. But a physical book has a chance to call, "Read me!" in a way that an e-book doesn't. For me, so far at least, e-books are "out of sight, out of mind."
As an aside, a couple of weeks ago I read a column by a college-age young man in our local paper. To my surprise, he listed e-books as one of "life's little annoyances." He said he already spends plenty of time with his computer, TV, and smartphone, and doesn't want another screen, thank you very much. Most people's reply to this objection is that an e-reader isn't the same because you can choose a model that doesn't have a backlit screen. But I'm not so sure this is answering people's concerns. Or that we should assume the young won't want physical books. None of my young adult kids or their spouses, five out of six of them readers, are interested in e-books. Not one.
What has your experience been? Do you think e-books are easier to forget or ignore than print books?