If you love to read, you’ve got to love books. Many avid readers have an affinity for bound, physical books. And why wouldn’t they? The pages of printed books have a distinct smell; physically turning pages while reading, has a special charm all its own; books can look nice on a bookshelf in a home office or study; and many readers like the weighty feel of holding a physical book.
Compared to printed books, though, eBooks have some distinct advantages. And, remember, when you buy an eReader and begin to build a digital library, you can continue to purchase bound books if you wish.
Ten Great Things About eBooks
- eBooks take up minimal space. You can literally fit thousands of books on your eReader. You’d need a significant amount of space in a home library to keep that many printed books organized and easily accessible.
- Trees love eBooks. Unless you decide to print out an entire eBook (and why on earth would you?) you’ll save trees every time you opt to go digital. Fewer printed books produced leads to a reduction in pollution from paper manufacturers and the trucks that then transport the paper to printers, etc.
- Portability. If you’re hopping on a plane or train, or even just heading out for a weekend at the beach, you can bring your entire digital library with you and, literally, have thousands of titles to choose from for your leisure reading.
- eBooks cost less that printed versions. Printing a book on paper, then binding it, and shipping it out to stores costs money. Add to that the cost associated with running a brick-and-mortar business incurred by the bookstore. All these things add to the cost of printed books. eBooks cost significantly less. You can buy more books when you opt for the digital equivalent. For instance, you could buy my new crime thriller, Chasing the Dead, in paperback for a little over $12, but the eBook is only $3.99. And, if you have Amazon prime, it’s free! What’s not to love?
- Seachability. You can search your entire library for a particular title, author, or keyword in minutes. You can also search the text within a particular book and some eReaders allow you to click on a word to get its definition. Try doing that in your home library of walls lined with physical books.
- Access to purchase 24/7. If you find yourself unable to sleep, or just plain bored, you can purchase an eBook whenever you want and you’ll have access to it instantly. I don’t know of any physical bookstores, or libraries, that are open at 3:00 am.
- Never damaged or lost. Even if you drop your eReader in the bathtub and ruin it, you’ll still have access to all your digital books when you get a new reader. Leave your reader stuffed in the pocket of an airplane? No problem. Contact customer service for your Kindle or other eReader to report the loss. That way, anyone who finds your reader won’t have access to your books or be able to purchase books on your account. After you’ve gotten your replacement, you’ll see that your whole library is intact.
- eBooks stay open. Ever had your paperback close when you take your hands off of it for a second? Or perhaps you laid your book upside down and open on an armchair only to find out that the cat knocked it off and lost your place. You can read an eBook with no hands! Prop up the eReader and enjoy your lunch while enjoying your novel.
- Lights and time. I bet none of your printed books light up or tell you the time (and if they ever do, I’d suggest running away as fast as possible). Most eReaders have backlighting, so you can read your eBooks in the dark on a nighttime car ride or in bed. While reading, you can always see the time and get a good idea about how tired you’ll be at school or work the next day because you chose to read into the wee morning hours.
- More free time. We’re always crunched for time in today’s world. While it’s always good, and recommended, to venture out into the world from time to time, you don’t have to do this by visiting a bookstore. No wasting time stuck in traffic on your way to the Barnes and Noble. No roaming around the store looking for your favorite genre or author or for a staff person to help you. You can use the time you save to start a new hobby or relax with family.
Did I miss anything? Share your thoughts and experiences with eBooks with me. Do you purchase eBooks exclusively, or a mix of printed and digital?
I have a Kobo and a Kindle and I love them both for all of the reasons you listed.
There are some downsides though:
1) If you take a paper book to the beach and get sand on it, no big deal. You address this somewhat in item 7, but aside from accidental total loss like dropping it in the toilet, you do have to be so much more careful in general.
2) You can’t loan a digital book. This is a huge downside for me. I love recommending and loaning books to friends. I wish I could temporarily “gift” my copy of an e-book to another account for a specified period.
3) The library systems are sorely lacking in material to borrow. In Canada, the Kindle doesn’t work with our libraries at all (which is why my first reader was a Kobo).
4) Running out of power just as you reach the home stretch in a book. My readers have amazing battery life, but it’s still something you have to keep an eye on. And if you’re travelling when the battery dies, you’re out of luck until you can get to a power source.
One big pro for me on top of the ones on your list is the connectivity between devices. If I have the Kobo and Kindle Cloud Reader apps on my phone, computer, and iPad, I can just pick up where I left off on any of these devices, which is amazing.
Great post, Joel.
You’re right on the downsides; although, I’ve heard you can lend books for 2 weeks with the Nook platform, but not certain since I don’t have one.
You’re right about the battery issue and that sort of thing always happens right at the most exciting part of the story, doesn’t it?
I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Patrick. Hope to see you around here again soon. Make it a great day! ~Joel