E-books seem to bring out strong opinions in readers. Those who don’t like them will say they don’t smell like books do, or aren’t as attractive on a shelf, or that “real books” don’t need batteries. While those may be valid opinions, the truth is that e-books are just as real as hardcovers, paperbacks, and audio books. People have probably been complaining about changes to their reading material since writers switched from scrolls to bound volumes. And while there’s no reason to give up your preferred book format if you don’t want to, consider that there are several reasons to love e-books…
E-Books Are More Comfortable to Use
Comfort might not be something most people consider when thinking about books, but it can be a real issue. For one, books are heavy. It can get tiring, or even painful, to carry a book (or books) around, and if you like to read in bed, some books are simply too heavy to easily lift while you’re lying down. Eyestrain is another issue readers face. If you have an e-reader, the screen is designed to mimic a printed page– and unlike a regular book, font sizes are adjustable. As well, if you have dry skin you may have noticed that paper pages seem to leach every bit of moisture from your hands, which is unpleasant and can harm your skin (I’ve found that lotion doesn’t always help). This (thankfully) isn’t an issue with e-books.
You Can Carry a Library with You
There’s no way I’m the only person who always dreamed of taking their books with them wherever they went. With e-books, the dream is a reality because you can access thousands on your device. Besides the fun of being able to bring all the books with you, there’s a practical side too. Have you ever brought a book to pass the time, but were close to finishing it and had to bring another one “just in case”? Or have you ever had to take up valuable luggage space with books when going on vacation (I would always either take too many or not enough)? Or maybe you’re a student who has to take textbooks to every class. If you’ve ever needed to bring more than one book with you, e-books are the ideal option.
They’re Better for the Environment
As much as I love physical books, I do feel some guilt whenever I buy a new one. Books are made of paper, which means trees are cut down for them. In some cases the trees are farmed, which isn’t as bad. In other cases, forests are being cut down for paper, which isn’t so good. Some post-consumer recycled paper is used to produce books, but not nearly as much as should be. On top of that, books are heavy and bulky– they use a lot of fuel to transport. And they create a significant amount of waste too. Textbooks, for example, get outdated quickly and are replaced with new editions. What happens to all the old books that are no longer wanted? Some might be recycled– a lot end up in landfills. Same goes with unsold books at bookstores– often the cover will be torn off and returned to the distributor for a refund, while the rest of the book ends up in the trash. Although e-readers come with their own set of issues, you don’t actually need an e-reader to read e-books (see below). Overall, e-books have a minimal environmental footprint.
Books with Benefits
Imagine you’re reading a great hardcover and you come across a quote you really love. So you whip out a pen and underline the quote right on the page. Or you want to remember where you left off, but there’s no bookmark handy, so you fold the corner of the page down. Did you just shudder a little? E-books have some great features for readers. You can underline or highlight passages, bookmark a page, leave notes for yourself (or others, if you want), and instantly look up the meaning of a word you’re unfamiliar with. You can also report any errors you notice, which is a feature my editor brain particularly appreciates! Those aren’t the only convenient features, either. If you’re the type of person who really likes to interact with a book, e-books might be perfect for you.
E-Books Are a Great Deal
E-books are generally less expensive than physical books. Although it’s not always the case (especially with traditional publishers), many e-books are priced affordably, and some are even free. E-books usually offer free samples too (for example, you can download the first 20% of Love Lies Bleeding free). Because of this, e- books are a great way to discover new authors or try out a genre you don’t usually read.
Bonus: No E-Reader Is Required
You might not realize that you don’t actually need an e-reader to read e-books. Amazon offers a free Kindle app that you can download to a phone, tablet, or computer (or all three), allowing you to read any Kindle-format e-book (also known as mobi files). Apple, Kobo and others offer their own apps, as well. These apps have most of the same features as you would get with an e-reader. E-books also come in other formats, like PDF files, which generally can be read on any device. E-books are accessible to anyone with a device (and since you’re reading this blog post, that means you).
Can you think of other reasons to love e-books? Share in the comments…
Want to give e-books a try? Take advantage of the Smashwords Summer/Winter sale, on until the end of July (Love Lies Bleeding is 25% off!)
Aspasía S. Bissas