Monday, September 14, 2015

The Beauty (and the Beastliness) of e-books

In this ever-advancing world of technology, it's easy for us readers to forget the magic that a book gives us.  I mean, it's much easier to read a summary or reviews of a book, or even just watch the movie to see what it was about, amirite?  And even if we do hunker down and read the book, do we go out and buy the physical copy?  Actually, most of us might.  Studies show that printed books are still the fan favorite, but e-book sales are rapidly increasing.  We've seen digital copies of music nearly destroy physical CD sales-- who's to say that books won't be next?

While e-books definitely have their advantages, physical copies (to me, at least) should remain the preferred version of books for as long as books continue to be released.  Here's why:

Pros of e-books:

  1. e-books are easier to carry around.  An e-reader is, at most, probably a couple of pounds.  And you can carry an entire library around on that thing!  You can also pick whatever book you want to read--you're not going to have to bring 3 or 4 different books to the beach with you because you can't decide which one to read first.
  2. e-books are easier to access.  Living in my small town, I only get the opportunity to go to a bookstore on the weekends--and most weekends, I don't have time for a 45-minute drive (both ways) just to buy a book.  With e-books, you can buy any book you want from the comfort of your own bed.
  3. e-books are easier to highlight text in.  With a physical copy of a book, you have to remember to bring your highlighter everywhere with you (and the ink sometimes bleeds through the pages.)  On an e-reader, you can select exactly where you want your highlight to go without it looking sloppy.
Cons of e-books:
  1. e-books are hard to read.  Personally, I can't read long bits of text on a backlit screen.  My eyes just can't comprehend the words and I end up with a killer headache.  And if you're out in the sun, backlit screens don't light well.  Also, your battery is bound to die quickly because backlit screens cause a short battery life.  I hate getting to the climax of the novel and my e-reader dying--trust me, there's nothing worse.
  2. e-books are nearly impossible to write notes in.  I love taking notes in my books, especially if I'm reading the book for a class.  With a physical book, I can just whip out a pen and jot notes in all the margins--on an e-book, you usually have to add a comment or a note and type it out.  Then when you go to review the book for a test or a paper, you have to scroll through the book and find little bookmarkers that show where you took notes.  It's inconvenient.
  3. e-books don't look as pretty.  You have to admit, a bookshelf with hundreds of differently shaped and colored books is just about as beautiful as anything on this earth can be.  e-readers are boring--they're just a gray block with a screen. 
No matter which way you go (whether it be an e-book or a physical copy), purchasing a book is better than nothing.  Don't be lazy and just watch the movie.  Invest yourself in a book.  It'll pay off in the long run.

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