eBooks are a fascinating, convenient way to read literature nowadays, yet I am at a crossroad on whether to love or hate them. I, being an owner of an eReader, cannot help to feel like a hypocrite. The main reason for purchasing an eReader is because I have completely run out of room in my house for another bookshelf. Within the first month of owning the device, I have downloaded and read 9 books. Yes, I am a book-a-holic. Before I divulge in what has me all riled about this new technology, I just want to list what I view as “Pros” for eBooks:
#1 – It saves trees!
#2 – It saves space (don’t have to buy anymore bookshelves!)
#3 – For travel, it is a fantastic feeling not having a carry-on loaded down with 20 books.
#4 – Text can be highlighted and notes legibly made.
#5 – Easier on the eyes because brightness and text size can be adjusted.
#6 – Angry Birds!
Even though these are some commendable “Pros”, I cannot help to feel guilty about reading eBooks. Here I am, losing myself in the wonderful words that some author poured their heart into writing, and because I have either purchased an eBook at a heavily discounted price (or for free) that author is losing out on income. I hate the guilt in knowing that I am harming another writer’s livelihood. Let me give you a prime example of what has irked me into this rant. A friend of mine wrote a fantastic novel that has only been distributed in hardback, and his book would typically sell in the $35.00 range. I happened across the eBook for $.99. Now how is he to make money off of that? Without going into the details of what exactly the $.99 goes towards, he has pretty much deduced that he makes a few pennies off a sold electronic copy. Luckily, he is well liked enough that he is usually healthily paid in advance.
Another element that irritates me about eReaders is that devices do not give off that warm, antique, humbling smell of a real book. When I read, I love to smell the pages. I also enjoy rubbing my fingers over the text to feel the words printed on the pages. It makes the story feel alive. I am truly holding another world in the palm of my hand.
A final “Con” to eBooks is seeing young kids reading their story books off an eReader. Yes, the portability and colorful illustrations are wonderful, but children are going to be bombarded to electronic devices for the rest of their lives. Why are we over exposing children to electronics at such a young age? It’s bad enough that they get plopped in front of the TV or a video game. Now we are taking a way a final touch of reality by giving them an “electronic book”? I remember my childhood books best from the experience I have had while reading books: Hiding under the covers and reading by flashlight, sitting in a tree house and trying to hold the pages down as they flutter in the breeze, coming home from a long beach trip and the pages from a beach read smells like the ocean. Every time that book is cracked open, the wonderful memories flood in from a time when my eyes first graced the pages of Chapter 1. An eReader cannot provide any of these nostalgic feelings and memories.
So in the end, I have a love-hate relationship with eBooks and eReaders. I am filled with sadness and guilt because of what is being lost due to the technology, but I cannot help to enjoy the convenience. In the end, I do not think I will ever truly turn to the electronic side. Remember those 9 eBooks I bought this past month? Well, I also happened to purchase and read 5 paperbacks…
Please feel free to comment and discuss. I would love to read your opinion.
©2012, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative – visit Amanda Headlee — It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn for the original source of this content.
Well written my friend, I could smell an old book when you wrote about the feeling of a book in your hands, your story inspired the senses and gives a good argument for books in print and books of an e-nature:)
To me the biggest pro is the convenience. I do most of my reading late at night when I’m having trouble sleeping and if I finish a book at 1am, I’d want to start reading a different book right away.
Before I purchased a kindle, I would read about 2 or 3 books in an year not because I don’t enjoy reading (I do), but because I’m too lazy to get off my butt (especially after long days at work, or long bike rides) to go down to the local bookstore. After purchasing a kindle, my buying habits have change; I’ve purchased and read about 34-36 ebooks over the last 12 months (via amazon/kindle). As soon as I’m done reading one book I’m downloading another.
Since some books can be as cheap as $0.99, I find myself reading books from authors I normally probably would not have. Those authors aren’t going to make as much off of me compared to their hardcover sales, but the way I see it they wouldn’t have made a single penny off of me at a higher price point (I tend to stick to authors I’m familiar with or have been recommended) so the lower price point of the ebook format brings in new readers.
I completely agree with you on the convenience aspect. I love carrying 100 books at a time on one little device.
I honestly didn’t think about the fact that these e-readers are enabling people to read more. That is a great perspective that they wouldn’t have made a dime off you if it wasn’t for it being in an e-book format.
Thanks for your feedback!!