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Sunday, 8 September 2013

E-Readers and E-Books - The Pros And Cons When Compared To Books

In February 2013, I bought my first e-reader, a Kobo-Glo. 
I thoroughly researched e-readers before deciding on that model.

I bought an e-reader for a number of reasons. Here are a few reasons that initially came up: I had started to notice that e-books are often less expensive than even paperbacks. Some books I wanted were just for reference or interest (non-fiction) and it didn't bother me whether I had a nice looking book or just an e-book. With the introduction of self-lit e-readers recently, this meant I could read in bed without disturbing my partner and without needing a separate book light (and the way the light is in the e-reader, it doesn't leak as much light around as a separate book light does.) And, you can adjust the font size and weight, choose different fonts, and adjust the light brightness on an e-book like the Kobo-Glo, so I don't need to wear my reading glasses either.

Some people say they will never use something like an e-reader, that they love the look and feel and smell of a real book. But there are some obvious benefits to using an e-reader.

Here are the pros and cons of an e-reader vs books.

  • Portability - Small and light-weight. An e-reader is smaller and lighter than some books (if the book is larger than the average sized paperback novel). Also, an e-reader can hold hundreds of books at one time.

  • Ease of viewing - No more glasses. If you need glasses to read, if the strength you need is not too extreme, you can increase the font size for a book on an e-reader so you won't need your reading glasses.

  • Built-in light - new e-readers (like the Kobo Glo and the Kindle Paperwhite) have built in lights so you can read in the dark.
  • Personal library space - No more bookshelves. This is an extra special bonus if you are an avid reader and you have limited space where you live. Since e-books are digital, you won't need bookshelves to store your books. e-books can be stored on an e-reader, your computer, or on a cloud (on-line storage). Kobo e-reader owners can store books acquired directly from them on their cloud storage (unlimited number of books). Digital books are relatively not very large (number of kilobytes/megabytes) so a vast number can be stored on computer storage devices. Some e-readers have an SD card slot so even more books can be stored in the e-reader. Current average memory is about 2GB (part of this is used by the system, but the remainder can hold about 1,000 books).
  • Price - Cheaper. e-books are usually half the price or less than the the price of the physical book. And, there are many sites with free e-books (mainly older books).
  • E-reader Extras - e-readers can do more than just act as a book. e-readers let you take notes, highlight, set multiple bookmarks, look up word definitions, translate words (all included in the e-reader – no need of pens or paper, etc.). Some also include these features: games, web browser (for those with a wireless connection and/or 3G connection), a sketch pad (Kobo Glo). There are other features too.
  • 24 hour purchasing – e-books can be purchased on-line at any time. You can also borrow e-books from your local library site, which can be downloaded any time.
  • Environmentally friendly – E-books don't require trees and ink.
  • Self publishing – It is easier for new authors to self-publish and sell e-books than printed books

  • After having an e-reader for a few months now, I've found that I read more – partially due to the fact that the e-reader is so small and portable compared to many books I read (which are often very thick/and or over-sized) – so I end up reading while I'm waiting, including waiting in long lines at stores, etc.

  • Cover art - With e-books, you don't get a physical cover with cover art on it. This situation is similar to the change from Vinyl albums to CDs and then to digital music files. There is the loss of the art-form that was the cover. (Yes, there is often a picture of the cover in your e-book, but it's not the same.)

  • Electricity – You need charge your e-reader every once in a while (but the battery charge lasts a long time).

  • Damage/loss cost – If you lose a book, it is usually fairly inexpensive to replace. If you lose your e-reader, it is fairly expensive to replace (around $100 to $200 currently – Feb. 2013). (Note: if your ebooks are from a seller like Kobo or Amazon and you only had the e-books stored on your e-reader, you can get those books back for free as they will have a record of what you bought and they will allow you to re-download them for free.)

  • Personal Library – You won't have a library to show what books you have/how many you have (except for books you had/have already). 

  • Colour – currently, e-readers deal with greyscale and not colour (Although if you read on a tablet you have colour)

  • Art/comics – if the book is available as an e-book, sure you can look at it on an e-reader, but you will have to look at it in a pretty small format, or, you will have to scroll around the screen. Currently, most e-reader screens are too small to use to properly appreciate comic books or books of photos/artwork. (Though, if you have a tablet that is bigger than an e-reader, it works better and it's in colour.)
  • Variety – There are far more books in paper format than currently available in digital format. However, more older books are being scanned in, and most new books are now released in e-book format (sometimes exclusively).

    Regardless of whether you decide to get an e-book or not, they do have their uses, and they are definitely here to stay. 

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