by Lesley-Anne Longo
Published at 2015-09-16
The concept of eBooks has been around for a long time now, and it seems the debate over "print vs. screen" has, for the most part, eased. With new developments in eReader technology, reading on a screen can be just as comfortable as reading printed text. However, I still find that, every once in a while, I come across people who are still just as vehemently opposed to eReaders and eBooks now as they were when the technology first debuted.
And honestly, for a long time, I was one of those people. But then, one Christmas a few years ago, I was given my first eReader. I hadn’t asked for it, but I suppose since so many people knew how much I loved to read, it was inevitable that someday someone would give me one as a gift. My very first eReader was a Kobo Touch, and while it did take some getting used to, I was soon addicted, and here are three reasons why.
At the time, I was a full-time student at York, and to keep myself occupied on the hour-long bus commutes, I would read. But, as every reader knows, carrying one or two books around with you isn’t always easy. They’re heavy, bulky, and easily damaged, and every bit of weight counts when you’re already lugging 20 lbs. of textbooks and notebooks. With my Kobo, suddenly I didn’t have to worry about whether or not to bring a second, backup book if I was close to finishing one, because I had 50 other books with me already—on my Kobo. And the space in my bag that was once taken up by books could now be used for other, more important things, like snacks!
I remember going into Chapter’s when I was a kid and choosing two books off the shelf to buy with my allowance. At the time, those books only cost me $10. Now, the price of a book has skyrocketed, which unfortunately means fewer books for your money. When I first started buying eBbooks to add to my Kobo, I was thrilled to discover that most of the ones I wanted were in the range of $7 to $9 each. Even the “pricier” ones were only $12 or $13. Today, if I bring $50 into a bookstore, I can 2, maybe 3 books. If I’m buying eBooks, I can buy 5 or 6 books with the same amount of money. I know a lot of readers like the ability to hold a book in their hands and put it on a shelf, but if buying eBooks means I can read more books overall, I’m convinced.
My original Kobo Touch had some strange extras, like Sudokus that I could never manage to figure out, a beta-testing Internet browser, and a weird drawing screen, the purpose of which I never really understood. My new Kobo H2O’s primary benefit (to me, anyway) is that it’s waterproof, which means anxiety-free reading at the beach or on the dock at the cottage! The device still has the Sudoku (which I’ve yet to try again), and Wi-Fi capability, but now I also have extras like my average reading speed, overall hours read, and how much of my library I’ve completed. I didn’t think it would, but it does fire up a little competitive edge in me, and it’s definitely got me reading more.
I can also use the device’s dictionary if I encounter a word I’m not sure of, and when I read non-fiction books with footnotes, having the footnotes pop up on the screen (instead of navigating to the Notes page and then back) always has me praising my Kobo.
I thought eReaders weren’t for me, but as it turns out, having my Kobo has only enabled me to read more of the books that I love. And, at the end of the day, I think that’s a great thing. Don’t get me wrong, I still buy print books (perhaps too many, if the state of my creaking bookshelf is any indication). But I believe there is a middle ground.
So if you’re still on the fence about trying an eReader, try taking the plunge! The water’s fine, I promise.
As a side note, another convert to eBooks is author Lauren Leto, who writes:
“Ask anyone with a big book collection, and they'll tell you moving them was the hardest part of the move. Take down a bookshelf and there's often no less than four, possibly up to eight, good Lord if it's over ten, boxes of dense material. This is the single greatest argument for welcoming ebooks. Abandoning print and having your Kindle on display instead doesn't sound like such a bad idea while carrying book box number seven to the car.”
― Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere