It might have taken me a while, but I’m more convinced now than ever than electronic books like Amazon’s Kindle and Google’s Play Books are better than their real-world counterparts. Before, say, two or three years ago I wasn’t so sure, but having used e-books very regularly I can see a time where real books will be a bastion of old-time stalwarts doggedly holding on to old nostalgic tech much like how vinyl records are treated by recorded music enthusiasts today.
I used to take a certain pride in my home library, small though it was. Through high school and uni, I built a small but well loved collection of books including both fiction and non-fiction. I’ve had to cull a lot of books from time to time, mostly to keep my wife sane and happy. But I’ve kept a core books which I could easily say defined what I knew of the world and of myself; great reference books and timeless stories which both educated me and inspired me.
Since buying into the Smart-Phone market, I’ve been able to sell most of those books on ebay (not without a measure of emotion) and buy their e-book equivalents on Amazon Kindle and Google Play, even making a modest profit in the process. I’ll admit, it’s fairly hard going reading, say, War and Peace on a 4 inch phone screen but since investing in a Google Nexus 7 this year I’ve found myself reading a lot more than I used to.
There are lots of benefits to the e-book paradigm. In my device, I can carry THOUSANDS of books. If I’m stuck on the train or looking for something to do, I can reach out and have access to every book I’ve ever bought, no matter where I am. You always have a selection of books to read, and no weight to carry around.
And since they’re instantly delivered wirelessly, buying a book any time any place is a simple matter. No more disappointments from sold-out titles at book stores. No more dings, dents or dog-ears from other less thoughtful consumers who’ve previously handled those physical books. Nope. I enjoy the system of browsing, downloading and reading instantly.
I’ve even got some magazine subscriptions, which are a nice surprise to find waiting for me when I turn my device on.
If you’re short sighted, you can always zoom in or increase the font size. Things like changing the font or paper colour, or setting the screen brightness are a snap. Searching the book is a lot easier and more thorough. Kindle and Play also allows you to highlight parts of your e-book, much like using a neon highlighter, with the advantage of being able to remove unwanted highlights. Of course there’s also the electronic version of the good old bookmark so you can easily find the last page you were reading.
And if, Heaven forbid, I lose my device then I can simply re-download the books for free onto my new device. There’s even a system for “loaning” books to a friend.
So if you’re into books, I say “throw off the chains of the physical world” and invest in an e-book reader whether it’s a Kindle, iPad or Android device. You’ll be glad you did.