Time to bring up a sticky topic: all the hate for e-readers and e-books. I can’t say how many times I see comics and jokes aimed to poke fun at people who use a Kindle or a Nook instead of a paperback. I am here to say that I use an e-reader, and I defend this new form of digital book formatting just as much as reading itself.
It seems that there is some epic, ground-breaking war between digital and paper happening on the internet:
I’ve seen this comic, and many others similar to it, pop up on various social media feed. I understand that the intent is humor and poking slight fun at both sides, but the comments that accompany such shared photos are not shared in the same jovial spirit. People have claimed that e-book readers are lazy, not “real readers”, and have fallen prey to hype and social pressure.
This makes my blood boil.
For the record, let me say this: I love books. I love shelves overflowing with paperbacks, hardcovers, library binding – you name it. I love the smell of books. I love book cover art and the feel of the pages between my fingers. I love reading over the credit pages and the giddy feeling you get when you find a first edition of a novel. I love the haunt local bookstores. Friends that come in from out of town KNOW that I am going to take them to the most awesome bookstores in the world. I love books. They’re my porn. My power, my pleasure, my pain.
But I also love my e-books. There are certain perks that come with an e-reader, and e-books have opened the field to a wider range of stories, readers, and authors. So what are these certain advantages? What edge do you gain with an e-reader?
Size and protection. My purse is a black hole. Things gets lost, and things get damaged. If I carry a book on me, more often than not, it ends up damaged. My Kindle is slimmer, and it is better protected than a book. When I am at work, I tend to read during lunch. If I drop food on the Kindle, I can wipe it up. I don’t get the pages dirty with my fingers, and physical books are spared any trauma that comes with travel and use. I can keep my tomes in good shape when I opt to carry my e-reader.
Privacy. Not that I read anything that would land me in the morning paper upon discovery, but I find that people are nosy and rude. That is just a fact of life. When I carry a book, I have had people come up to me and complain that they have no time to read, give me dirty looks from afar when I tote non-adult books, and people have even TAKEN MY BOOK FROM ME TO READ IT. No one bothers me when I have my Kindle. No one has tried to take it from me, and no one can soothe their bruised and bloated ego by deeming me as bookish scum.
Price and ARCs. Let’s face it – we are all always needing more money. I can’t eat my books. I couldn’t, even if I tried. Also, the apartment complex gets slightly fussy when I skip on payments. Can’t have a reading corner without a living space. Electronic books tend to be cheaper, and if something costs me less, the chances are higher than I will take a chance on it. I can keep up with my friends when they rabidly send me a recommendation that states something along the lines that this book is better than any physical action under the sun. Galleys and ARCs are also more available to a wider range of readers, thanks to the electronic movement.
Space. There are seriously only so many books I can own. I have already taken up as much free space in our postage stamp-sized living quarters as humanly possible. Do I need to share the horrible picture of my stacks of books again? Let’s just not go there at the moment.
Assistance. Not to beat a horse dead, or dead horse, or whatever, but reading can be hindered by certain conditions, such as bad eyesight, dyslexia, sensitivity to light, and other related conditions. Reading the electronic ink is easier on my eyes, and I can read a Kindle book faster because my dyslexia doesn’t pose an issue, like it can with printed books. E-readers can assist users with larger font, text-to-speech, built-in dictionaries, and other bells and whistles to promote reading.
There are numerous reasons to own and use e-readers. Even if it is “I like it more,” why do we find people taking offence to the electronic form of our beloved stories? When it all boils down, isn’t it better to tote to a wider range or people? If kids want to ready Harry Potter or Percy Jackson on the iPad, then doesn’t everyone win? Technology is a key part of our lives. Converting books to span this new development in our society helps ensure that reading isn’t tossed to the wayside in the age of outraged ornithology and decimating desserts. Our society is changing, and stories need to change to stand a chance. I want books to stay relevant and reverend with the public. I don’t want to see people confused how to open a page and witness children befuddled by the strange rectangular object. However, my desire to see people just simply read trumps these wishes.
Stop the e-reader hate. Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iPad users are readers, too.