The Emotional Stages of Transitioning to E-Books

The march of progress never ends, no matter how much we may fight it. I should know. I was still buying cassettes and video tapes long after my peers had switched to CDs and DVDs, then took my sweet time in switching to iTunes and Netflix. I was the proud owner of a basic slider phone until the summer of 2014. Hell, my car isn't even from this century.

But you can only try to outrun advancement for so long, and Lord knows I'm not very fast (I have short legs, and anyway, why run when you can read?). Modernity caught up with me this Christmas, when I crossed that final threshold of the digital age, the one I had refused to approach for so long, amid the encouragement of my contemporaries. I, Kristen Scatton, got an e-reader.

Anyone who knows anything about me knows what a big deal this is. I am nothing if not devoted to my print books, and my quest to one day have a library that rivals Belle's from Beauty and the Beast (minus the Stockholm Syndrome). The e-reader was an extremely generous Christmas gift from my boyfriend's mom, who couldn't believe that a reader as voracious as I didn't already have one (and let's face it, I probably still wouldn't if someone didn't finally cannonball my ass into the 21st century).

Of course, as an indirect result of getting gift, I now have a whole host of emotions to process about making the switch from print books to e-books. I'm determined to do it, though. After all, it is 2015; it may have taken a decade and a half to join the new millennium, but better late than never, right?

1. Disbelief

Hey, it's the holidays! Let's exchange gifts! Awesome sauce!

And then you start to unwrap it... and you see the WiFi symbol.. and the mock-up of the device on the box with the selection of book covers that were probably carefully chosen by a team of marketing specialists to maximize mass-market appeal... and you realize: You just got an e-reader.

2. Fear

Wow, it's so light and fragile and expensive-looking. This will definitely not withstand being slept on, shoved in a backpack, and being smudged with food when you combine reading with your other passion, eating.

Better put it back in the box before you damage it.

3. Curiosity

But... after being part of the E-Reader Haters Club for so long, don't you owe it to you own intellectual curiosity to see what it is you've been dissing? You should at least turn it on to see what all the fuss is about. That's the polite thing to do, right? Yeah, do it.

4. Confusion

How do I turn it on? Why is it blinking at me? What is it downloading? Wait, did I just buy something? How do I charge it? Where do books go when I buy them? Why is it telling me to connect to a computer? NOW what is it downloading? Ok, turn it off, turn it off — HOW DO I TURN IT OFF?

5. Guilt

You can feel the accusatory glares of your books, those loyal companions who have been with you through thick and thin. They know you've strayed. They sense the presence of an electronic interloper. They know you're flirting with the dark side, and it's all you can do not to throw yourself at their mercy and beg forgiveness.

6. Shame

For so long you've resisted. You've championed print books as the only source of literature you'll ever need, even in the face of perfectly valid arguments about why an e-reader would be perfect for you. "Nope, not for me," has been your stance when friends and family encourage you to make the switch, and you've held to that. Until now.

7. Temptation

But the books... you keep thinking of ALL OF THE BOOKS that you have access to. Instantly. With one click. Without having to put on pants. Really, isn't this your dream come true? You're a smart person, surely you can figure it out. Go ahead, download one book, just to try it.

8. Cynicism

You create your account, download your first book, and relinquish your soul to Amazon.

9. Restraint

Must... resist... urge... to... buy... all... the... books... need... to... save... money... for... food... and... rent.

10. Acceptance

This... this isn't so bad. You can do this. You will learn how to work this e-reader. It will come in handy when you travel, or need to get your hands on a book quickly. Your print books will still love you, and you will still love them, because after all, that's where your love of reading began, and whatever technology comes and goes, that is forever.