I think of July and August as the dead of winter, hibernation time, time to contemplate, meditate and cogitate. The death of the fiscal year is a time when we are forced to look back on what we’ve done with the year just gone, how much money we've made, and unfortunately how much we spent (and what we can grab back from the government which so happily takes it from us).
I’ve spent some money on printed books this year, I’ll admit. However, I’ve also spent not so much money on other books of the digital kind, ie eBooks. I’ve paddled into the shallow end by getting free digital books I can read on Kindle for iPhone or iPad (one of the books was The Sun Also Rises, which I found sexist, racist, kind of outdated – but very well written! Anyway, that’s another story… apologies to fans of Hemingway).
Here's my take on the eBooks vs printed books debate and the top 6 reasons an eBook wins over a printed book every time.
1. You can read anywhere
It’s always with me (or I should say they are always with me – I can get about 28,000 free books now!). If I have a few minutes to spare waiting for a friend or a meeting (but not at traffic lights), I can just click and read a few pages. Entertainment and knowledge is always at hand. This is strangely comforting.
2. You can access one instantly
If I see a post about a certain book, I can go to the site and get it immediately. That is huge in our want-it-now society. Also, if I move onto the next post, I've forgotten so I have to buy it when I see it!
3. They are easy to hold with one hand
It’s so easy. it’s not heavy like a book and you only need one hand with an energetic thumb. How amazing that you can read 'War and Peace' with an iPhone/iPad/iAnything in one hand and hold a margarita/soda/milkshake in the other! Not in bed necessarily but around the pool or in a hammock.
4. You have thousands of books at your fingertips
I like the fact that I can take 28,000 books away with me on holiday. I probably won’t even finish one, but it’s pleasing to know they are there, in the background, supporting me. And, if I get in an airport queue, I might just have the time.
5. You can customise your experience
You can adjust the screen brightness and colour of your device to use warm light and auto-brightness (so you can read in the dark), make the text bigger, and show reading progress.
6. Generally cheaper than printed books
This is a huge factor for readers. You can pay $30 or more for a printed book, with casebound books costing even more. eBooks can be as little as a few dollars for the same experience.
What about authors?
The Australian Society of Authors is working on the complexities of contracts for authors to include provision for eBooks. The ramifications also spread to editors whose work will only increase due to the dismissal of a large chunk of the production process, and the continuance of rigid content standards by respected publishers.
eBooks are our friends. Embrace them, give them a try. You just might like them!