Why Not Ebooks?


The other day I heard someone proudly boast of never having read an ebook. This is not an uncommon sentiment, I have often seen people eschew ebooks as if, by doing so, they were dashing to the rescue of their leafy brethren.

"I wouldn't dream of reading a book on an electronic devise. I need to feel the pages turn, I need the smell of paper..."

Okay, okay, I get it, you enjoy the physical qualities of book. I also enjoy books, but I care more about the act of reading than I care about how those words are delivered. Can I still achieve lift off with an ebook? Can I enjoy the book without the nagging presence of form inserting itself into the experience? The answer is yes.

Every year my local library has a book sale because without it, the libraries shelves would be full of books by Dan Brown and Danielle Steele. Let's face it, we read a lot of junk. I am not a particular fan of steamy romances but I have read the literary equivalent of junk food. I am not too proud to admit that I once read The Da Vinci Code but let's be honest about where my copy ended up...the dump, most likely.

We are wasteful, this should come as no surprise, but lets be honest with ourselves about the 'value' of most of the books that we read. I guess if all you read are classics that you buy beautiful copies of to keep forever then you might find ebooks a bit worthless. The reality is, however, that we all read popular crap from time to time and some of us read it all the time.

So why not get an electronic reader for all the books you have no intention of keeping. The books you read quickly and discard. The books you don't have an odd emotional attachment too that make you want to sniff the pages. If it turns out you bought a book on the e reader that you love you can always buy a physical copy too if you want to have it forever, and if you like it that much you won't mind paying for it twice.

Not every book we read is crap and on those rare occasions when I stumble upon something truly great in electronic form I often buy a hard copy so that I can lend it to friends, and can feel that I'm doing more to support the author. Electronic books are not simply an alternative to real books, and sometimes owning both forms is ideal.
















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