how to carry 100 books at once

I’m one of those girls who can’t leave her books at home.

I am forever judging the space in my suitcase by the number of books I can’t leave behind. I might forget my socks and toothbrush, but there’s little chance that I’ll forget my two or three or four or five or more books! My bags were always too heavy, and yet I always felt like I never did bring enough books.

Let me just say it out loud: I don’t like reading books on the computer. In fact, I only consent to do so if I absolutely have to. The screen hurts my eyes after a while and I’m always losing my place. I can’t curl up with my computer quite like I can with a book. I can’t take a laptop with me very well when I go hiking.  Books don’t have batteries that die at the worst moments.  Besides, there’s nothing like the smell of paper, the feel of the covers in your hands. And that is what it comes down to: there is nothing that can compare to the real thing.

I always said that, and I meant it, too. No matter how tantalizing the offers of free eBooks were, or how often I glanced longingly at the usually significantly lower prices of Kindle books, I turned up my nose at the idea of investing in anything that didn’t have two covers and real paper pages. I was determined that if it meant reading books on a screen, I’d do without. And I did without reading on my computer and without a lot of books I really wanted, but couldn’t justify spending the money on. I had seen nothing to convince me that anything but paper and ink was worth my time — or my money.

That was until about a year ago.

The door bell rang and I signed for a box that changed my mind and proved me wrong. That was the day our iPad had finally arrived.

From the first time I heard about it, the capabilities of this slice of technology had fascinated my techy side. As a tool, the possibilities were apparently limitless; if I wanted it, there was bound to be an app for it. Scott and I were both completely amazed and thrilled with our new piece of equipment.

We hadn’t bought it for reading, but my husband must have seen the look on my face after I saw the iBook app — that look said, “Maybe I could change my mind.” He generously searched out every major reading app there was and installed them all for me to try out. He even downloaded the first book for me — classic Winnie the Pooh!

I could turn the pages with a tap of my finger. I could hold it in my hands almost like a real book. The text on the page was easy to read and it didn’t hurt my eyes as much as a computer screen. I could read outside in the bright sunshine or at night without an extra light. It was light and I could carry it with me anywhere. And most importantly? Now I can carry not just three or five books with me when I travel, I can carry a whole library of 100 books (or more!) with me and only add a couple pounds of weight to my bags. (It makes both my husband and I happy, believe me.)

By the time I got to the end of that first book I read on my iPad, I realized that I was right and that I was wrong.

I was wrong that I would never enjoy reading anything but a real book. This iPad as a reading device is a capability that has slowly grown on me over these last 12 months as I’ve discovered so many classics I never could find at my library to read.  And since I connected the device to our Amazon account, I’ve been thrilled to find some wished-for books show up in Amazon’s free download specials once in a while, and be able to read them in a way that I actually can enjoy.

I was right because there is still nothing like the real thing. I still have a special place in my heart for book smell and the way real books feel when I read them. Nothing will ever change that. I still tuck real books into my bags. I still love nothing more than to browse the huge used book store in town and come out with an armful of old or new treasures. But this die-hard real book-lover learned a lesson that technology isn’t all bad when it comes to reading and books.

The iPad gives me the option to expand my library in an affordable way — or even for free, if I am patient enough. It gives me the ability to read Kindle books, Nook books, Google Books…and more books than I could have imagined — all with one small device. It helps me to narrow down books that I really must have a paper copy of from the ones I don’t really think I’ll read again.

As much as I didn’t expect it, I think I’ve come to the point where I can finally say a book doesn’t have to have covers and real paper pages to be worth picking up. And that is thanks to the iPad.

I’ve heard other lovers of real books admit to similar conclusions with their own introduction to the iPad, Kindle, or Nook. While each one has their preferred device, they all share common denominators, and they are all gateways into another way of reading. And they all are a tool that I’m beginning to appreciate more and more.

What about you? What do you think about reading on a device? What are some of your favorite things about it?

Where do you look for free eBooks?  Please share your tips and links in the comments!



Social Media Manager at Virtual Assistant
A born and raised country girl who is lucky to be married to her best friend. Mommy to our sweet baby Charlotte. Blogger. Virtual Assistant. Writer and Social Media Manager for @kindredgrace & Adornabelle


country girl married to my cowboy sweetheart. Blogger. Virtual Assistant. Writer and Social Media Manager for @kindredgrace.
@CrystalStine. I'm a VA working on a book launch. Was told I should reach out to you about the book. Where can I contact you? :) - 22 hours ago

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  1. says

    You may almost have me convinced! I have been very anti electronic books as i love “real” books and the feel of them etc… but I’m warring with my practical side – I can NEVER carry all the books i want to take with me. So i downloaded the Kindle app on my Iphone last night to give it a shot. (who can resist a free copy of a Tozer book?)

    • says

      Katie, check out the iBook app on your phone, too! That is actually the very *first* place I discovered it looked like an open book. I know there aren’t as many free books, but I so love the page turning part. 😉

      I don’t ever plan on going totally electronic. I just never could! But it sure is nice to pick up those free ones. :)

  2. MaySze says

    Hello Chantel,

    Think you so much for your sharing. I’m actually typing this on my iPad. It is a very smart device. I’m totally blessed with vast books collection that I can read on just one device. Although my love of the real book still very strong, now those paper books have become my luxury. This device can help me buying books without guit. Some times, when I face a mountain of books in my bookshelf or bedside, or when i was moving, that love and hate feelings do grow within me. iPad (kindle) doesn’t have every book that I want but it certainly helps me to vastly.

    • says

      Moving with books is very challenging. I can’t bear to get rid of any of them, and yet the are so very heavy! Thanks for the comment! :)

  3. says

    Chantel, a lot of my friends have kindles but I prefer good old fashioned books!
    I have several that I carry with me. I also love to write but I rarely have the time because I stay so busy.

  4. PAULA says

    Two places. I too use an iPad as my e-reader. I mostly use the Kindle app simple because it is so easy to find free books for Kindle.

    First, while many classics can be found for free through your e-reader site (Amazon, B&N, etc.), sometimes you can’t find it. I LOVE to find Kindle versions of those books. I have gotten some George MacDonald books that were not available at the time on Amazon but were available at

    Secondly, is AMAZING!! I import my kindle wishlist to it and get notified when the price drops (even goes free!)!! It is a free service and in the few months that I have been using it, I have been notified of 4 books going free (that were on my want to buy amazon wishlist) and 6 books that have dropped in price. It has been GREAT!!

    One other thing I really like about using the Kindle over other e-readers is that they have a website where you can following along with notes that others are putting in their kindles! not only lets you follow other people you like, but will allow you to follow authors who have authorized the sharing of the books they are reading. AND it will show you other people who are reading books similar to you. AND it is a great way to search all your books and the notes/highlights you have made!

  5. says

    uhhem. “This is my I just finished cleaning a house and playing with my niece” look. For some reason it didn’t occur to me to check my hair before I took the picture. 😉

  6. says

    Great post Chantel: I agree with absolutely every thing you said here. I still haven’t given too much time to reading on my ipad…I don’t know why. I just feel like, perhaps, I’m a traitor if I stop reading paper books. Silly I know. I do download lots of free books to my ipad, but I don’t ever read more than a few pages here and there of them.

    • says

      I still don’t read on it as much as I read paperbacks, but I’m getting more books I really want to read on there and am working on finishing them off this year. :)

  7. says

    I tried to use a kindle once. I almost got ADHD. Or maybe it just brought out my hidden ADHD? Regardless. It will probably be awhile before I try that again.

    Although, this idea of subscribing to blogs… that interests me. Perhaps I could handle a blog post (short and sweet.:) without dissolving into hyperactivity. There may be hope yet!

  8. says

    Yes, I too converted to “the other side”. I have a kindle and love it. It really does help me know if I want a book in print or not and it’s a great way to keep multiple books with me when I can’t possibly take them all with me!

  9. says

    I honestly don’t know what I would do without my e-reader. Another great site for free books (all the old classics) is Project Gutenberg. Their books work on all e-readers and not just the kindle.

  10. says

    I, too, have crossed over to the “dark” side…I was given an old Kindle, and even though it won’t connect wirelessly any more, I can still download books to it via USB. I still prefer a real book–but it has its advantages, like the ease of holding it with one hand, and the fact that a little person can’t turn or rip your pages as you’re reading!

    I use for audio books, and have noticed a lot of free Kindle downloads on there, as well.

    And? I love using Google Books when I’m searching for a quote from literature on a specific topic. I input my search and specify which authors I want it to search the books of!

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