When I was a young teenager, I used to skip gym class and go hide in the library to read Tamora Pierce’s fantastic books. Back then, digital reading devices such as Kindle’s were just starting to appear as the latest cool technology. I don’t think anyone would have predicted that they’d really take off, or that many people would have an e-reading device in their home within the next decade or so.
I remember confidently declaring to the school librarian that e-readers like Kindles were the future, and that in the future no one would read paper books anymore, only ebooks.
The librarian scoffed and didn’t believe me.
Was I wrong? Well, yes and no. Since then, we’ve seen the invention of the Kindle and the Nook and the Kobo and many other e-reading devices. Ebooks have grown in popularity and accessibility, and have created a whole market of opportunities for self-published and indie authors. There are many online stores where you can buy ebooks, not just Amazon, and the great thing about an ebook is that you can quickly download it to any digital device, including your phone, your computer, and your tablet. Just one click, and you have a whole new book! You don’t need to leave the house and trudge to your local bookstore, and even libraries offer ebook collections now too.
The Case for Ebooks
Why are ebooks great?
Ebooks are generally cheaper than their physical counterpart. They’re a lot easier to handle than a massive 800+ page hardback and no trees are harmed in the making of these epic adventures! For some disabled readers, ebooks are accessibility friendly and many e-readers come with options to tailor your reading experience, such as increasing the font size or darkening the background so there’s less strain on your eyes. Some are backlit too, which makes it easier to sneak under the bed covers and red in the dark.
With an e-reader like a Kindle, you’ve basically got an entire library in your hands. I personally love carrying a whole heap of books in my pocket, especially when my dusty shelves run out of space and my TBR pile becomes tall enough to threaten danger. But for me personally, I love reading digitally on my phone because then I can literally read anywhere. Stuck waiting in a queue? I’ll just whip out my phone and read.
Let’s Get Physical
Whilst I love ebooks, physical books aren’t going anywhere yet!
Sales for physical books are stronger than ever and book stores are adapting to modern times by doubling up as coffee shops, and there’s no greater pastime than enjoying a nice coffee and cake whilst relaxing with a book. And whilst no trees may be harmed in the creation of your ebook, the creation of an e-reading device is a different matter. The carbon footprint for any technology is worth considering. One key advantage that physical books have is that they’re easier to recycle, and also easier to donate. I’ve found many fantastic books in charity shops, and that’s a realm you’ll not find an ebook. Ebooks are often loaded with DRM so you can’t share them with family or friends.
Fact is, I think my old school librarian was right. There’s nothing better than holding an actual book in your hands, and nothing beats that fresh new book smell. You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we all do, and books old and new have pretty covers. It’s immensely satisfying to create a colourful bookshelf of my favourite books, and collecting books is a great hobby!
Let’s not forget the important rule that libraries play in society. A library with nothing but ebooks and e-readers would be dull indeed.
Ebooks or Physical Books?
Honestly, all books are great!
I also remember a time when readers were berated for choosing ebooks over physical books, as though choosing to read an ebook didn’t count as actual reading. I haven’t heard that argument in a while since, from my experience, many people read a mix of both digital and physical books. However, audiobooks are now a big game changer in the way we read stories, and I do sometimes come across people arguing listening to a book rather than “reading” it counts as reading. Turns out, the brain doesn’t differentiate between reading and listening anyway!
Whatever you read and however you read it, the important thing is you keep on reading.
And don’t forget to support your local indie book stores and library!
How do you read your books? Physical, ebook, or audiobook? Drop me a comment below!