The pros and cons of eBooks

Given reason I would like to write about an often discussed topic: printed copy vs. eBooks. Christmas is only a few more weeks away and an eBook reader would actually be a quite useful present. This year I was also thinking about wishing for one of those fancy gadgets.

On the one hand I think an eBook reader is very practical; it is light and space-saving, especially when you think about what women carry around in their handbags. Furthermore you will have your whole library with you at all times, so when one book has some boring parts or you finished it then you can easily start another one, either from your existing books or you buy it brand new from the store accessible through the reader. Great! On the other hand I am looking at a screen all day long at work and sometimes at home as well so do I really want to torture my eyes any more and read a book from a screen? Hm, that gives me something to think about. Moreover isn’t it nice to have your own little library at home in your living room with all the books you have read already? On top of that, the smell of new books is also something I don’t really want to miss. Well, I am going to list a few pros and cons of eBooks here.

Pros

1. Portability. An eBook reader is super light and can store hundreds of books. Taking your ten favourite hardcover books on holiday with you is not so easy but it is no challenge at all when having the electronic versions of them.

2. Brilliant, we even think about the environment here. When printing books there are a lot of resources used, such as paper, ink, electricity and more. For producing an eBook you simply need a few computers to edit the document and it’s done.

3. Naturally there are lots of books you can buy for a cheap price at book stores and in online shops. But you can’t have them for free usually. Luckily there are several websites who offer a bunch of eBooks at no charge. Excellent!

4. Sharing is caring! We do share a lot these days on pages like Facebook and Twiiter (and Google+ for the nerds among us). So why should we not share what we are currently reading? Exactly; when the eBook reader is connected with the Internet your friends can “read” with you.

5. 1 word: Technology! It evolves drastically and rapidly. How wonderful is it that so many books are available electronically? You can do the same things with an eBook reader as with a normal book: underline, mark and annotate.

Cons

1. Logically quite a few companies have entered this market already with all their different gadgets and eBooks and formats. Obviously all these companies use different formats so it is particularly difficult and confusing for the consumer to decide on which eBook reader and eBook to buy. The next question would then also be if I will be able to share my eBook with my mum, brother or best friend.

2. If you want to read a book then you go into a (virtual) shop, buy it and you can start reading right away. Ha, this is not possible with an eBook. You definitely need an eBook reader to do so.

3. If you are only reading novels and fiction the next problem will not affect you that much. But what happens if at some point books for school and Uni will only be available digitally. Then it is kind of difficult to read 3-4 books at the same time. Imagine doing that with closing and opening books on your eBook reader and go back and forth. A little fiddly.

4. You want to buy a new eBook. Sounds simple because you can buy and download it directly from the eBook reader. But you need an Internet connection (Wifi) to do so. If there is none available, well then, you can’t read! Hm.

5. And lastly here is a problem that all fancy gadgets have. Sometimes they just don’t work. A real book won’t break just like that, it doesn’t need to be charged, you can’t erase any pages or do anything else wrong with it (unless you throw it into a lake or tear out pages to use them as firelighters).

The decision was definitely difficult but at the end of the day the practical aspect of an eBook reader won me over. It is nice to have your favourite book (or books) ready at hand. Now the last issue is what model I am going for but I am going to spare you the product placement at this point.

What do you think about eBooks? Do you have an eBook reader already or is that something you would never consider to buy?

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