Don’t get my wrong—I’m not a radical when it comes to either paper or digital books. Some have a strict preference for one format or the other, but most, like myself, can and do read both, depending on the situation. Still, among self-described hardcore book nerds, there’s a certain snobbery surrounding the eBook. There’s this attitude that “Literature” must be read in print, must be felt, and touched, and owned on the shelf.
Here are a few reasons I feel that eBooks far exceed their paper predecessors:
1. eBooks get nearer to the essence of literature.
I know, sounds crazy, especially considering the way the printerati goes on and on about how eBooks are diminishing the state of literature. But after reading this one New York Review of Books article, “E-books Can’t Burn,” you’ll come away with a completely different perspective. When you take the physical out of books, you get closer to what matters about books—not their ownership or collectability or the feeling you get when you’ve read X pages, but the very ideas present in the book. Everything else about books is just showing off.
2. If your house were burning down, you could only grab a handful of print books.
On the other hand, you could carry a library’s worth in your eReader, and you wouldn’t have much difficulty taking it with you while searching for your valuables like jewelry, collectibles, pets, family members, etc. In this sense, as noted in the NYRB article, eBooks are more durable. Even if your device broke, your collection is likely backed up in the cloud. You’ll never lose a book to natural disaster or lending to an unreliable friend again!
3. Who wants to carry a suitcase full of books when you’re on the go?
For me, this is one of the most important benefits of eBooks. I travel fairly frequently, and if I have to sit in on place without reading something, I’m liable to choke my flight partner sitting next to me. Still, traveling light is a goal I always aim for, and there’s no way you can travel light with a variety of reading materials at the same time. That is, unless, you have an eReader.
4. It’s just cheaper. End of story.
Again, this is another very important reason that I feel eBooks, even among the soi-disant “well-read,” should be considered with greater respect. Let’s forget about the obvious benefit of not destroying hundreds of trees in the process of printing books, and the entire, rather large, carbon footprint it would all entail. Let’s just look at the math—eBooks are almost always cheaper than print books. Getting an eReader has saved me hundreds over the years. Now that I have more money to spend on books, I read more. And that has to be a good thing, wouldn’t you say, Professor Old Fashioned?
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie-related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.
Blog images copyright Kirill M – Fotolia.com (reading figure) and Creative Commons upload by Elizabeth Thomsen (coffee & Kindle)
Yes, and because of the trend of eBooks we will see classic hard cover books becoming very collectible some day! Yay me for having a digital and a paper book library!! Now where did I put my caviar?