The traditional book vs. the e-reader

I know that this has all been covered before, but I thought that I would share a few of my thoughts regarding paper books versus e-readers. Just for reference I have lots of paper books (many, many of them), I am on my 2nd Nook (I have had the 1st gen. and now have the Simple Touch) and I just got a Kindle (the basic one that is e-ink).

Why e-readers are better

#1 Space saving

My biggest reason for using an e-reader is that the books do not take up any space other than memory.  The husband and I already have a ton of books so most new books are purchased in ebook format rather than add to our already substantial library.  Also, as we find really good deals on ebook versions of books that we already own we are usually getting rid of the paper copy (there are some exceptions).

 

#2 Decay of books

We have a lot of books where the paper has become acidic and potentially fragile.  I know that any computer file is not going to last forever, but I figure that the computer gods will come up with a way to convert old formats if they move away from epub or mobi.  If not, I will hoard old e-readers so that I can always access my books.

 

#3 Portability

When my husband and I would go on vacation we would bring “the library,” which is a small-ish rolling suitcase entire full of books. My husband and I feel the same way about books:  you never know what you are going to feel like reading at any one time so you need options.  With my e-reader I can bring 300+ books with me and I could always buy another book if the mood strikes.

Even when not on vacation it is easier to lug around my e-reader than the book I am reading at the time.   George R.R. Martin writes some thick books but they are all the same size on my Nook and fit easily in my purse.

 

#4 Font size

I feel like an old lady to admit it, but I simply love that I can easily change font size to as big as I want.  I have been known to get large print books out of the library too, but now all of my books can be large print!

 

#5 Easier to handle while reading

It may not sound like a big deal, but if you read while you eat, or pet the dog, or drink a beer, it is easier to hold and turn the pages of an e-reader.

 

#6 Privacy

Sometimes I don’t mind if people see what I am reading, but most of the time I don’t want people to know, if only for the fact that I don’t want to discuss it.  I am reading.  Let me read.  Can’t you see I am reading?

 

#7 Instant delivery

I do not usually push for instant gratification, but in the case of books I find this to be a plus.  As long as I have wireless connectivity I can get any book that is available at a discount at any time. 

 

Why books are better

#1 Library books are free

I try to get most of the books that I am reading from the library, especially if it is an author that I have not read before or it is something that I think that I will read once and not want to read again.   I know that you can borrow e-books from most libraries, but the one time I tried it was very complicated and required me to download a program to my computer.  It took me over an hour to figure all of this out.  Then, once the books is expired, the cover remains on your device.  Perhaps there is a way to delete it, but I have yet to figure it out (I will admit that I haven’t tried all that hard)

 

#2 Discounts rarely apply to e-books

Yes, there are e-books that you can get highly discounted, but if you have a coupon for Barnes and Noble you cannot ever use it on an ebook.  That being said there are some pretty good deals on ebooks. My husband subscribes to Bookbub and we also both follow authors and publishers on Twitter and we hear about deals that way.

 

#3 You cannot give an ebook away

Sure, you can use the “Lend me” option on certain books, but that requires your friend to have the same device as you and you don’t really want to do that with a stranger (at least I don’t. Stranger danger!). You also can’t mail e-books to a friend.  Suffice to say, I have never loaned an ebook.

 

#4 You cannot sell your ebooks

Yes, I know that there was something where you could sell ebooks, but I am not entirely sure if that is legal.  Perhaps one day this will be mainstream, but for now I can’t go into my local used book store and sell the books back. 

 

#5 You cannot buy used ebooks

Same as #4.

 

#6 Maps on endpapers

If you have the e-ink e-readers it can be very hard to see the maps in books.  There are many illustrations that show up just fine, but maps are hard to see. I believe that it might be better on a Kindle Fire or Nook HD, but I have yet to get one of these devices or try them out very much at the store.

 

#7 Just another computer screen

At my job I stare at a computer screen all day long.  Every weekday. For 7.5 hours.  This causes me to not want to look at a computer screen again on my break or when I get home.  Sure, I am writing this on a computer, but I do not want to read looking at a backlit screen after doing so all day.  Both of my e-readers use e-ink, though I fear that the technology is going to die (the manufactures of it had a huge loss this year).  I will be interested to see, when the e-ink technology leaves, if the dimming feature on some e-readers will be less like a computer screen than I imagine.

 

#8 Books are wonderful to look at

Books are great!  I love to look at them, and smell them, and browse through them at the library and the bookstore.  There is not much of a thrill scrolling through screens of e-book cover.

 

#9 If your battery dies you are SOL

With a book you do not need to make sure your device is charged, nor do you have to pause to charge in the middle of a marathon reading session.

 

#10 Come the change, you will have no books

Did you buy that survival manual on your e-reader? Too bad, come the change! When our world is plunged into darkness and there is no electricity you will not be able to access the wealth of knowledge that is stored on you electrical device.  Buy those books in print. 😉

 

I truly believe that books are not going to become extinct any time soon and that there are definite benefits to both formats.  There are still many bugs to work out (and trust issues on my end) but overall, I will buy most of my everyday reading as an e-book. Things like reference books are better used in paper copy, at least with the versions of the e-readers that I use.

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One Response to “The traditional book vs. the e-reader”

  1. wilsonburn Says:

    Some good points here. I personally like print books better as well, but the e-ink and the effort to make e-readers more like books than computer screens is comforting and it is convenient for my storage. 🙂

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