Several years ago, when I first heard about the Amazon Kindle, I didn’t think reading books on an electronic device would be for me. I have shelves and shelves full of printed books, and the idea of reading books on an electronic screen seemed…alien.
But the idea of owning an e-reader intrigued me.
I consider myself a voracious reader, I simply love books, and there is no better time to pour through a great story than when on vacation. A paperback doesn’t take up much luggage space, but a hardcover kinda does. And if you plan to read multiple books while away, space becomes a major issue.
About four years ago, I purchased my first Kindle while on summer vacation. There was a social media book that I was searching for, and I was hoping to find some tips for growing a community around a stock photo agency I’d founded. Even though the book was a best seller, Barnes and Nobles didn’t stock it in their nearby store. So I drove to Borders only to find that not only did they not have the book I wanted but they were going out of business. Anyhow, Barnes and Nobles told me I could order it and have it in less than a week, but I wanted the book NOW. In a week my vacation would be over, and my reading time would greatly diminish. It was now or never.
Feeling frustrated, I started driving back to our beach hotel and noticed a Best Buy. I pulled in, bought myself a Kindle, and drove back to the resort giddily. Once inside the room, I immediately connected my Kindle to the free 3G network (wifi works too). Within a few minutes, I purchased the book I wanted and began reading. Amazing!
Any book I wanted, delivered to me instantly.
The kicker was the e-book version was about half the price of the print version, and I didn’t have to pay shipping.
Not convinced? Here’s a quick list of the advantages I feel e-books have over traditionally printed books.
Cost of e-books versus print books
E-books are considerably less expensive to purchase than their printed brothers. To run a cost comparison, I typed “Stephen King” into Amazon, and listed the first five books with both a print and e-book version.
|Stephen King (7/16/2015)||Kindle|
|Revival: A Novel||$17.00||$12.99|
|The Bazaar of Bad Dreams||$30.00||$14.99|
|The Long Walk||$7.99||$5.70|
|A Good Marriage||$14.99||$4.99|
If I were to purchase all five of these King books, the print versions would cost $77.97 plus shipping costs. The same five books purchased on Kindle would cost just $40.66 with no shipping necessary. And while I might wait two to five business days for the print versions to arrive (even more for back ordered items), I could have the e-books delivered in a minute or so.
The cost differential between print and Kindle versions is even more pronounced when purchasing from independent authors. I won’t go deep into the reasons, but suffice it to say large publishers artificially hold their e-book prices high, even though there is little to no overhead incurred in selling an e-book. Let’s take a look at five books from indie horror legend, J Thorn.
|The Law of Three||$8.99||$3.99|
The cost differential is amazing in this case. The print versions will run you $43.95 plus shipping, while the Kindle versions are only $16.95, a 61% savings even without considering shipping costs.
If you read a lot of books, the savings from e-book purchases will pay for your Kindle in a matter of months.
Portability of e-books
One of the coolest things about owning an e-reader like the Kindle or Kobo is having access to ALL of your books, all of the time. It’s so cool to be chilling at the beach or sitting in bed and suddenly get the urge to revisit an old book. With an e-reader, it’s there waiting for you. How cool is that?
One time while watching the waves roll in, I finished a novel and immediately felt the urge to re-read an old Richard Laymon story. In a few seconds, I found it in my library and jumped right in.
I can’t imagine carrying twenty, let alone a hundred books with me. With an e-reader, it is not only possible, it’s easy.
Searching e-books and the Dictionary
Not only are e-books easy to search if you are wondering who that nefarious character is (did he show up in chapter two? what was his back story?), you can also learn all sorts of new words. This is exceptionally fun when you read someone like Dean Koontz. By touching a word on the screen, I get a definition box. No running back and forth to the dictionary (which you will do often with Mr. Koontz). This is fantastic for kids and teenagers. What a great way to build your vocabulary!
E-books and the Visually Impaired
Is your eyesight getting worse with age? Join the club. I’ve gone from no glasses, to reading glasses, to prescription bifocals in less than three years. The print stays the same size, but everyday it seems a little smaller to my eyes.
One of my favorite Kindle functions is the ability to change font size. It’s easy to make the print larger or smaller to meet your tastes. Try doing that with a printed book.
My Kindle Paperwhite has a back light, which negates the need for a book light. That’s important, because I love to read at night, and I don’t want to bother my wife.
E-books Defeat Censorship
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are just two of countless classic books banned from many libraries, schools, and book stores. In many cases, only censored versions of these books exist in print form. E-books provide an outlet free from censorship, allowing these classics to be read as they were meant to be read.
E-books are Environmentally Friendly
I don’t want to get political, but we should all think about how we use our resources. More e-books means less trees to cut down.
I could go on for pages and pages about why I love e-books. Please don’t get me wrong. I enjoy print books, and many adorn my shelves. But I’m over feeling romantic about print and paper. I don’t need to “smell the paper” to live the story. The magic comes from the author’s imagination and words, not from the tree which got chopped down to allow the book to be printed.
If you haven’t tried an e-reader yet and you love books, do yourself a favor. Try one. Don’t bother with the expensive Kindle Fire. Get a Paperwhite – it’s easy on the eyes, you can read it in direct sunlight (just like a book), and the back light works perfect when the sun sets.