Ink or eInk?

Last week I talked about the process of refreshing my eReader with new books.  In spite of making it seem like a total pain, I am actually a huge fan of eReaders. 

Although there are advantages to both eReaders or printed books, in my experience people’s preferences tend to lean heavily in one direction or another.  I used to be a die hard paper fan, but when I bought my Kobo my attitude changed immediately.  I prefer eBooks for almost everything I read now.  The exceptions are things like glossy picture books, or books with a compilation or pastiche feel, where you just open the book anywhere and jump in. 

These are my personal feelings about having an eReader:

PROS

  • SPACE! – This can’t be emphasised enough.  I have gone from lugging around huge dog-eared chunky books to carrying them all with me on a device smaller and lighter than a single paperback.  It helps on a day to day basis, but also because I move country from time to time, it has prevented me from having boxes full of books that I have to give away or post to myself at unnecessary cost.
  • Insta-dictionary and other features – If I encounter a word I don’t understand, all I have to do is touch the word for a second or two, and the explanation pops right up.  If I encountered a new word in a print book, I don’t think I’d have the patience to stop reading to go look it up.
     
  • Quick to get new books (sort of) – To obtain a printed book I have to go to the shops or wait for it to arrive in the post.  To get a new eBook, I buy it online and then I have it (sort of – more on that later)
  • I can read in the dark!  And the book doesn’t snap shut on a spring-loaded spine, allowing me to read in a greater variety of comfy one-handed positions.

 

CONS

  • eBooks don’t have the same freedom of movement as printed books.  A lot of eBook platforms lock the books you buy through them to their particular platform.  Unless you find a way to break your ebooks out of that (hint), you can’t really lend, gift or sell them on in the same way you would with printed books.  Often that makes it hard also to transfer them between devices and locks you into one store, which may not be your preferred option.  It is especially silly and frustrating to have these anti-piracy measures levied against everyone at all times. The people who are going to pirate eBooks already know how to easily strip DRM and offer them up for free.

  • It’s harder to flip through the book or skim.  Especially when I get a good way through a book, I like to look at the pages from the edge and pinch the book, looking at the “thickness”  I have read so far.  I suppose an eBook has a percentage marker, but it doesn’t quite feel the same.
  • They are sometimes not much cheaper than printed books, in spite of the fact that there are practically no printing, stocking or distributing costs involved.
  • Oh look, I’m running out of CONS already.

 

I am limiting this list only to my personal pros and cons.  There are cool bookmarking features, I suppose, but I don’t use those.  There are other people I know who swear they will never try an eReader because it doesn’t have the same book smell, but that doesn’t bother me.  Likewise, something like the initial cost of buying the eReader is something you wouldn’t have to consider reading printed books, but it doesn’t feel like an issue to me, because the price tends to vanish when I think of how long I have had mine by now and the extra advantages it’s brought me.  Others might not even need an eReader when they could just get a reading app for their phones or tablets.

Okay, one more thing, I apologise for scaring you last week with a long list of trials endured trying to refresh the eReader.  It’s mostly my own fault for being the sort of person who updates everything once a year, or not at all.  I give myself the same pains with my music collection.  Overall, I have grown to love my eReader, and I would not switch back.

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