(I starting this out as a facebook post and realized after the second paragraph it might be better suited as a blog post…)
If you are an avid reader and have been weighing the pros and cons of picking up an e-reader, allow me to weigh in with my perspective and experience
I LOVE MY E-READER. To the ends of the earth. I have had it for two months and am already finishing up my 10th book. I’ve always been a reader with a book on the go, but I’ve never read as much as I have in the past several weeks. Now, this is to be expected in the initial blush of new gadget romance. However my reading has increased from a standard 1 book a month (maybe 2, if they were shorter or so captivating I couldn’t to put them down) to 4-5 books a month.
Here is what I like about my ereader:
Being someone who reads primarily in bed, I find paper books cumbersome to read. Holding the book open can require awkward positions, often resulting in the book flopping closed. If you are spine-bender like me and fold your books in half while reading there is only ever one side of the book that is easy to read with the other being awkward or outright difficult to read, particularly when reading while laying down (hmm, can we say ‘first world problems’!) My e reader, however, sits exactly were I want it and requires no complex or uncomfortable finger workout to keep it in the perfect spot. It’s light and requires only a light tap of the finger to change pages.
Right now I have 7 books I am either currently reading or planning to read in the proximate future waiting from me on my e-reader. If I’m on my morning commute and I finish a book it takes all of 30 seconds to call up the next book and keep reading. All without bringing any more bulk with me. On trips and holidays, I load up on books and away I go sans any worry about running out of material. My e-reader also has a light so I can read in any lighting condition. AND THE BATTERY. My first charge lasted three weeks. I learned some tricks for conserving battery life and the second charge is still going. It’s on its 5th week on a single charge and it probably has another week in it before needing another. And this is with reading every day for between 30 minutes and 4 hours
3. More readings
I am reading more, which is great for my brains. Not that I am reading classical literature or deep and philosophical non-fiction titles that stretch my perceptions and understandings of the world (at least not usually). Reading, even something light or just pure fun is a more active imaginative and creative experience for your brain than, say, watching tv (which i also love, and probably do way too much of).
4. FREE FREE FREE
While not all ebooks are cheaper than their paper counterparts, some libraries (including the Toronto Public Library) has a wide selection of ebooks available to borrow. Free books at the click of a button = Amazing. Half the books I’ve read on my reader have been free from the library. Toronto’s selection is pretty great, at least for my reading tastes. Many of my favourite series and authors are available (such as Gaiman, Vonnegut, Butcher, Armstrong & Rowling.) Most of the time I go look to see if they have a book that’s sparked my interest, it’s there waiting for me. It’s fantastic and has encouraged me to read more because the next book I want to read is waiting there for me, free at the click of the button.
5: Environments… sort of
Lastly, because I read a lot, and I’m the type to keep electronics for many years before replacing them, I think that I am making a somewhat more environmentally conscious choice. There is plenty debate about whether e-readers are the ‘green’ solution to physical books in all their papery glory, but I think it’s safe to say that in the case of individuals like myself, e-readers have less of environmental imprint… it’s a complex issue though, and I’m already procrastinating from my research to write this. I did some research prior to purchasing my reader and decided from what I could learn, for me it was the more conscious choice.
In conclusion, I seriously doubt I will (happily) read a paper book again. I loath the day a book I simply must read doesn’t have a digital counter part. So, for those of you who love the feel and smell of a ‘real’ book, you can keep your paper backs and hard covers. I’ll be over here with my e-reader, reading more books more comfortably for less money… and in the dark.