I love eReaders and I love eBooks! I also think they are superior to paper books and that people don’t give them the credit they deserve (how dare you). And before you start talking to me about ‘that delicious book smell’ and beautiful spines, hear me out! Here are twelve reasons why eBooks are great and why they’ve conquered my heart and my personal library.
1. Easy for certain disabilities
I regularly have joint pain, and carrying that 800-page chunker around with me is simply not an option for my shoulder. Neither is reading a hardcover edition before bedtime while balancing it in uncomfortable angles around my head. EReaders have enabled me to read as much as I want to, without having to worry about my wrist joints. Holding books and especially keeping them from closing was a painful chore. EReaders have made that so much easier for me, and I think they could do the same for many other types of disabilities, whether you have trouble reading books because of muscle atrophy and tremors, or whether you temporarily have trouble reading, like when you break your arm.
2. Easy for the eyes
Big letter books are expensive and pretty rare. If you need a larger than average font size to read, you’re pretty much stuck with a magnifying glass on top of your book if you can’t find big letter books. But eBooks let you enlarge the letters and change the font. The font can be as big or small as you’d like. This is especially handy for people with bad eyesight and the elderly. There even exist special fonts for people with dyslexia! Now that there are eReaders with special e-ink screens, you don’t have to worry about the screen light for your eyes either.
3. Never out of print
I encounter books all the time that are temporarily or permanently out of print. Then I have to track down a secondhand copy. The chance to find it in a local secondhand bookstore is small, and the chance that I will find it ridiculously overpriced online is rather large. However, eBooks never have to go out of print. Once the file has been made, a publisher can choose to sell the product for as long as they like, without running out of copies and having to order a new print.
4. Takes up no space
EBooks take up space on your pc, tablet, phone or eReader, but nowhere else. You don’t have to ask someone with a car to drive you to IKEA for that twelfth bookcase. You can carry hundreds of books with you in your bag without having to literally carry hundreds of objects. You can finally save money by not buying another tote bag with the excuse that you really needed it because you need to carry books around somehow. No-one is going to grudgingly ask you ‘what are you bringing along?!’ when they carry your suitcase on your vacation.
5. Environmentally friendlier
To produce eBooks you need fewer resources. No trees have to be cut, transported and processed. No papers needs to be cut, printed and bound. No books have to be transported to warehouses, shops and front doors. The cost of producing an eReader that you will use for many years and the cost of the electricity needed to use it are small compared to the cost of all the mass processes needed to create bookcases full of books.
6. Survive a book-burning
This might seem a little melodramatic, but have you seen the 2016 US elections? Since reading The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries I’ve been a little stressed about keeping books alive. If there is a knock on your door to burn your books, it’s easier to hide your eBooks than your physical ones. You can file them in a hidden folder, change their file name, or copy them to a USB and hide the stick somewhere safe. So many one-of-a-kind books were lost due to Nazi lootings and their book burnings! Important and ancient books could be scanned and transformed into a digital file. These books could then become public domain and be spread online, so they can’t easily be erased from history completely.
7. Editable notes
It’s possible to make notes and highlights in eBooks, but it’s also possible to remove them, to edit them or to hide them. This makes rereading a lot easier if you don’t want to be bothered by your old thoughts, or if you’d like to expand on them.
8. Cheaper option
Libraries are always a great option for reading and borrowing books. However, if you’d like to financially support an author, a publisher or a certain store, or if you’d like to own a book so you can return to the story at any moment, eBooks might be a cheaper option than a paper- or hardback. Despite Amazon’s illusion, books are expensive! Most publishing houses have eBooks available for a smaller price, exactly because they require fewer resources and less space.
9. Find a book quickly
My parents have several bookcases in all of the rooms of their house. Combine that with their ability to forget what books they do and do not own, and you’re stuck waiting on the couch for at least fifteen minutes while they go around their house looking for that one title you just asked about. No control + F possible. With an eReader, you can find any eBook by just typing a few letters of the title or author’s name in the search bar. Done.
10. Dictionaries available
You would expect that reading a lot would give you a gigantic vocabulary, but alas, that is not my experience. Although reading certainly has improved my language skills, I still frequently have to look up the definition of a word. In my eReader I can simply click the word, and a dictionary definition pops up. No need to have my mobile phone or laptop close by. In my preferences I can even pick what kind of dictionary I would like to use. This is great when you’re learning a new language. I’m currently learning to read French, and whenever I encounter a foreign word I click it and read the French description. Still too hard to understand? Then I’ll change the dictionary to FR-EN so I can read the English definition.
11. Lasts forever
EBooks pretty much last forever. I can’t say the same of that book that I’ve reread a hundred times and that fell apart and that I had to repurchase. Twice! Your eBooks will stay safely in your files or an online account, ready to be redownloaded whenever you have accidentally deleted them somewhere.
12. No wait
When you’re excited about a book, you can’t wait to read it! It’s almost unbearable to order a book online and to wait days or weeks for it to arrive. But a download is almost immediate. After you’ve purchased the book or have chosen it in an online library, there is no need to check your mailbox every day. It’s ready to be read.
So, how do you read? Do you prefer physical or digital (and why)? And most importantly: have you finally realized the greatness that is eBooks? 😉