Welcome to the Chunkster Reading Challenge - a challenge which satisfies those readers who like their books fat and chunky!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Controversy Around Reading E-Books

Since I have gotten several comments AND some emails complaining about the rule re: no e-books for this challenge, I thought I would address it in this post.

First of all, this challenge celebrates REAL books that are chunky. It is about holding an actual fat book in one's hand and reading it. Dana (who started the challenge) felt strongly about this, and so do I. I am a traditionalist at heart when it comes to books. I do not think it is a bad thing to celebrate an actual physical book. In my heart, I believe readers who are giving up the real thing to read digitally are missing out on something wonderful - the heft of a book in your hands, the smell of the pages, the tactile pleasure of an actual book. Part of why I am hosting this challenge is to challenge readers to pick up a REAL book with some weight and read it. That's the challenge.

Secondly, I have no idea how to translate number of pages in an e-book to number of pages in an actual book, and I don't really want to try to figure it out (so please don't start emailing me with formulas).

Someone mentioned that it takes longer to read an e-book than to read an actual book. I have no idea if that is accurate or how we would go about proving it ... But, regardless, it doesn't matter because how long it takes to read the book is not relevant. It is all about the page count.

I am very sorry that some people are upset with this rule. I know I am not making everyone happy, but I also feel okay about the guidelines. I don't think that every challenge needs to have the same flexibility - the idea of a challenge is to challenge you. For some, the challenge may be to put aside your digital reader and pick up a traditional book.

I suppose if every single person said they would not join because of this rule, I'd have to think about changing it (or maybe I would just not host The Chunkster anymore). But so far 44 people have signed up and do not have a problem with no e-books (and last year 189 bloggers participated and quite a few non-bloggers joined)...so it seems that it is a very small percentage of disgruntled readers who are complaining about not being able to use their electronic readers.

Bottom line: This is supposed to be fun. I don't get anything out of hosting this (and all the work it takes to keep the blog current) except that it is fun to read books with all of you. It is beginning to bum me out that so many people feel it necessary to complain about something that is completely voluntary as to whether or not you join. No one is saying you can't read fat books on e-readers...they just don't count for THIS particular challenge.

If I sound annoyed it is because I worked a very long day today, came home and started reading complaints about something that really and truly is a minor thing in the scope of life. So please, if you want to be upset, okay be upset...but don't tell me about it anymore because I am not changing the rules this year.


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  2. While I am an avid user of an e-reader, and have had a kindle since they come out a few yrs back, I completely support your choice to exclude e-books from the challenge simply because it makes it more (drumroll) challenging. The very reasons that I love my kindle, lightweight and ease of use and transport, in essence, automatically exclude it from this challenge, which is about a big, clunky, heavy book. Again, I support the exclusion, and screw the haters

  3. I understand you point and I am not someone who has any issue with the requirement. Physical books are what I prefer to read, by far.

    But I wonder if there is some way to make an exception for people with disabilities. I know people who cannot hold books up well, especially big books, but do well with an e-reader. I know others who depend on the ability of an e-reader to blow up the font to a much larger size print (larger than even a large-print book).

    As for page numbers, you could just ask them to look up the pages in a physical edition of the same book.

  4. Rahdragon: Thanks for your support!

    Lifetime Reader: If someone really has a disability and emailed me to ask to make an exception, of course I would grant an exception...but I don't want people asking for exceptions just because an ereader is their preference or they just like the convenience of an e-reader. The truth is...if someone joined the challenge and read all their books on an ereader, I'd never even know!

  5. Go on with your bad self! ;)

    Translation: It's your challenge, do what you want with it! I agree with all you said, and think that if a challenge is too wishy-washy, it makes it not as fun, nor as much of a challenge. No one's forcing people to join this or any other challenge, so if they don't like it, don't join - or make their own that does fit their parameters.

    That said, I think I will be eschewing this challenge this year. Although I plan to read some chunksters (and yes, actual books, I don't own an ereader), I've decided to forgo challenges for the most part this year.

    Good luck and stay strong! :)

  6. LOL, Lesley - thank you for your comment...made me smile!

  7. I had no idea people were upset that you couldn't use e-books. It's actually shocking to me to hear this for so many reasons.

    I'm not a fan of e-books, I rarely read them unless a book I want to read has such a high wait list at the library for the physical book. I also find that page numbers differ from ebook to print, because you can make the print as large or small as you want (well for the most part). I'm glad you've stuck with your no "e-boook" rule. I agree with Lesley - "Your challenge your rules" if people don't like it don't join.

  8. I applaud all of your hard work in keeping up a friendly forum where book lovers can unite and share their experiences in reading chubsters. I agree, it is your endeavor and as such, you alone get to make the rules. I may follow along but will not be able to join as I live in Belize, Central America. We do have a tiny library, but it is primarily for children, with a little adult section that is stocked mostly with "beach books" that good hearted tourists have left behind. I currently get most of my reads from Kindle for Ipad or IBooks. Thank goodness for e-readers when one lives in another country, I feel like I finally have within my reach books that I can read that are of my choice. It's like being a kid in a candy store! I do agree, though, that the feel and smell of a book is a wonderful part of the whole experience of reading. I cherish the books that I do get, and also appreciate being able to read them while in the tub . . . :) Keep up the good work and thanks for creating a community where people can share great ideas for new reads and get encouragement to tackle some of the heftier books. Cheers!

  9. Wendy, I appreciated your wonderful championing of real books. There is something special about a big old behemoth, and we do well to celebrate it! Thank you for hosting again. I always enjoy this challenge.

  10. Jules, Island Girl and Sarah - I appreciate your support and thank you for your comments.

    Island Girl- I really do understand that sometimes e-books can be a good thing (as in your situation) and a part of me laments that this rule will keep some people from participating in the challenge...but, I am glad you understand my points!

  11. this is a very polemic topic about the author's rights and all, but I think that authors have to see this field of the ebooks as another way to spread and sell their work

  12. Bitacora - yes, of course...but this is a challenge that does not allow e-books.


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