I know some of you are purists when it comes to reading. You like the feel of a book in your hand. You like new book smell. You need to scribble in the margins, dog ear pages, and bend the covers back to get the full experience. I understand that. I am an avid reader, and enjoy many of those things, but hear this: you still need an e-reader. There’s nothing that says you can’t go back and buy books that really spoke to you. My husband and I like to have first editions on our bookshelf too. We also fight over who gets the Kindle tonight. Here’s why:
Reason # 5: No Arm/Wrist Cramps
Have you ever been really into a good book, one that you can’t put down, but then have to? This problem has happened to me more than once. I’m a pretty fast reader, so the longer the book, the better the value for me. Unfortunately, this means that half way through… let’s say Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, my wrists start to hurt from holding the 2.6 pound book (actual weight) for the last five hours. (When they first came out, I’d do all night reading marathons.) Of course, you can switch positions, wait for paperbacks, etc., but why would you if you don’t have to? With an e-reader that weighs between a half pound to one pound give or take a couple of ounces (I’m speaking about Kindles and Nooks,) the disparity in weight will make a huge difference on those all-night reading marathons. Need more convincing? Ever read George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones? It’s at least 1000 pages, and they only get longer. Ouch.
Reason #4: Unlimited Storage
My husband wants an office lined with bookshelves. Aesthetically, that’s great. For display purposes or collecting, awesome. Ever tried to move one? Having done both, I can say that 18 hours of labor might be easier. At least then you get an epidural. Plus there’s no chance of you falling off the table, where as the two bookshelves we have in our office now are just an avalanche waiting to happen. I briefly considered posting a picture of mine, but they’ve also become a hiding spot for anything we don’t want our three-year old messing with. And they’re dusty. Hello stock footage.
While e-readers do have limited storage on the actual device, they also come with cloud storage, or archives. This means I can still have access to the 50+ books on my Kindle wherever I go, and it still weighs less than a pound. The wrist cramp thing is starting to make sense, isn’t it? Oh, and did I mention you can still highlight, make notes, and look up words in the built-in thesaurus? That’s that much more you don’t have to carry around with you.
Reason #3: Instant Gratification
Maybe things are different where you live, and for your sake, I hope they are. As for where I am, you couldn’t pay me to go to a bookstore. I remember when you could go to a Barnes and Noble, get a cup of coffee, and settle down in one of those overstuffed armchairs to preview the book you were about to buy. Yeah, not so much anymore. The big box chain bookstores, which is all I have near me, have now become a depository for affluent parents to leave their little teenage darlings for the evening. Every evening. They run up and down the escalators hopped up on caffeine, playing tag, giggling at groups of boys, expressing their angst, etc. Sadly, this is not the stores fault, and while they’ve installed a cop for security, (do kids fight at a bookstore now?) you can’t arrest/kick out kids for being a pain in the ass… unless I manage to secure some kind of public office.
Thanks to my e-reader, I can go anywhere and enjoy my book. Or nowhere at all. You still get free previews of the book before you buy, and if the local teenagers invade your Starbucks, you can still find a bar. Not all of them are super noisy, they still have excellent beverages, and they card. Oh and did I mention that the books come to you in about 30 seconds? I can’t even walk from the parking lot to the door in that amount of time (our B&N is next to a movie theater, hence you park somewhere near Siberia.)
Reason #2: Money
The economy sucks. You know it, I know it. Thanks to e-readers, you can make you book budget go farther. My husband used to complain that he couldn’t afford to keep me in books, and when you pay a minimum of let’s say $12 a pop and can read it in two days or less, well… the man has a point. I’d like to announce here today that I have never paid over $10 for a book on my e-reader. Actually, $10 is rather high, but there are a few big authors that you might pay that for their new releases on release day. It’s kind of like buying a hardcover vs a paperback, but I’d call this the exception rather than the rule. most of the time, I pay between $3 and $7 a book, and the savings add up. When you take into consideration that you can snag and e-reader for around $100, the initial investment pays for itself rather quickly. Unless you read two books a year. But if you’re reading this, I doubt it.
Reason #1: More Variety Than a Bookstore
Really? There’s more books available in e-reader format, you ask. But not every book comes in e-reader format, you say. This is true. I’d also like to point out that there are many, many authors that only publish their work in e-book format. Like yours truly. Also, they’re cheaper. Like super cheap. Some are free, some are 99 cents. Now, I can’t promise you that you will get a Pulitzer Prize winning work of fiction every time, but for a dollar or less, what do you have to lose? There are some diamonds out there in all that roughage, some of which have been self-published despite having the option to be traditionally published. This means you get more of what the writer wants to say, and less of what’s selling right now. Take that you purist you!
So what are you waiting for? Get and e-reader! Have a tablet or an iPad? Even better! That means you can get multiple e-reading programs on the same device, and bargain shop for the best price on your favorite books. Only have a smart phone or an iPod? No worries, you can put e-readers on those too. Seriously, you have no excuse.
Happy e-reading, happy writing!