Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why I Love eBooks

I read ebooks on an iPod Touch. It's smaller than a Kindle, but it has the Kindle app on it, as well as many other ebook reading apps. I love my Touch. And though I like all the other cool things it can do, I love reading most of all. I love reading so much that, even though I bought the hot new game Angry Birds, I have not played it yet.

Why do I love reading on my Touch so much?

Convenience. It's a tiny little item, with a screen the size of an iPhone, but thinner and lighter (and cheaper). It has wifi, so I can download books just about anywhere and any time. I carry it in my purse everywhere, so I always have a huge selection of books with me, and I can usually get more.

More Conveneience. If I'm not near a wifi hot spot.... Heck if I'm not even near my iPod Touch, I can still send books to it. Say I'm at work, and a co-worker mentions a hot new ebook that sounds interesting -- I can go to Amazon, and with one click send a sample to my Touch and get back to work. Same when I'm reading blogs or the newspaper. One click, send a sample. (Of course, if my Touch is asleep, or out of range, it doens't send the book right then. It waits until I have wifi access, then as soon as I boot the app, it sends it then in the background. I don't even notice what it's doing.) I no longer have to remember the name of things that might be interesting. I don't have to buy them until I've looked them over carefully.

Leisure in Book Shopping. I like browsing around in a bookstore, but the selection is so limited these days. Sometimes the only books I find are those I'm not in the mood for. Then I have to remember them for later. And you always have to buy a book before taking it home. Your "to be read" pile not only can get high, but expensive.

With ebooks, you accumulate free samples. You can grab them any time you fancy, and then when you're curled up in your cozy chair with your cat, and your hot cocoa, and your Doritos and edamame, you can browse in comfort and find just the right book. And you don't have to leave out the books you weren't certain about. Since it's a free sample, you have that in your TBR pile too... and if it turns out you love it, you can buy it right then and continue reading.

Space! You don't need four hundred feet of bookshelves with ebooks. One electronic device will take care of that. You also don't have to pack and load and unload and unpack all those shelves of books when you move.

Privacy. Reading is a wonderfully private occupation in the first place. Instead of being on a screen in front of you where others can see and hear the fantasy going through your head, the story plays out _in your head_. Of course, with a paper book, people can still see what you're reading. With an ebook, you really are private. And if you want, so is your library. You can password protect your device even. (Some people don't think this is great, I do.)

Easy on the eyes and hands. Especially the hands. I think someone did a survey and found that one of the largest groups of Kindle users were people who suffer from arthritis. eBook devices are light weight and turning pages is easy. You can even do it when you're reading in bed, and a cat takes possession of one of your arms.

As for eyes, well, if you have eye problems, different devices work better or worse for different people. Some are backlit, some have purely reflective surfaces, like paper and ink. But you can always change the typesize on any ereader, and most of them let you mess with other aspects of formatting too.

Budget Friendly. While ereaders can cost money, you can get a lot of deals on the books themselves. Some major publishers are fighting the idea of cheaper prices, but slowly even they are coming around. The latest best seller may be at full hardback price, but an awful lot of other books are cheaper. Especially older books, and smaller press books and indpendently published books. Many authors are rushing to put their backlists up on Kindle for prices like 2.99 - 4.99. Some new authors are offering their books for 99 cents. Sometimes a publsher, or Amazon, will offer a book for cheap, or for free.

This is not to mention the Gutenberg Project and other efforts to make classic literature, which is in the public domain, available to everyone for free. And it's not just classics - pulp and genre fiction that has gone into the public domain are also available.

* * *

I love paper books. I still have many bookcases full of favorite old books. And I will probably buy paper editions of new favorites I come across in the epublishing world. There are things about paper books and bookstores that I would miss if they ever went away.

But I've got to say it, I LOVE ebooks.

(In the meantime, today's progress was mostly proofreading. I didn't get to the rewrites on Chapter 1 yet.)


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I totally agree with you, and for all your reasons. I was surprised how much I like my Kindle...and I'm buying lots of books. I was buying lots of books *before*, but not as many as I am now. :) Got to be good for the industry.

The Daring Novelist said...

I find I am buying more, reading more, and even though most of the books I buy are cheaper, I'm spending more.