Recently, a friend remarked that he still sees paperbooks at our home, and asked what do we enjoy using the most to read books—paperbooks, the iPad, the iPod Touch or the Kindle? My answer was the Kindle. I’ve meant to share my joys of using a seemingly unglamourous ebookreader for reading and reasons for choosing to do so…
My books with me where I go. This is what I love the most about owning an ebookreader. I carry around 800+ books effortlessly in my shoulder-bag and have the flexibility to read any of them sitting in a park or waiting someplace without the need for the WiFi.
No losing books from memory anymore. This applies to both my mental memory and the
hardware I use. I used to forget the books I had read if I didn’t see them on the physical shelves at home. Now with the combination of the ebookreader and the home computer acting as my main repository, I don’t forget my reads for too long. They remain on a computer’s hard disk or in my purchased archives on Amazon even after I’ve removed them from the ebookreader.
Annotation is beautiful. I was never comfortable in marking up a paperbook. But mostly I was concerned that my personal observations would be there for borrowers to know. With the ebookreader, I liberally annotate and highlight text and have it all there in a single file to re-read and be reminded of those thoughts. Further, the beauty of annotating on the Kindle is that one’s highlights remain in one’s possession even after the source book has been removed from the device. Lovely, isn’t it?
Interestingly, I’ve learnt that annotating while reading is a woman-thing! I see that at home too–my husband and son don’t feel compelled to use the Kindle’s keyboard as much as I do. I’d be keen to correct this impression if other males feel otherwise.
Multiple reads remember the last read position. I’ve said this elsewhere that the ebookreader remembers my last read position in my multiple ongoing reads so it takes away the pain of managing that aspect as one must in paperbooks.
Buying of books now a liberating exercise. Instant gratification isn’t a bad thing when it comes to reading. I acquire books more frequently and swiftly on the ebookreader than I ever did through brick-n-mortar shops. I don’t have to make calls and urge the local shops to arrange books I seek as I can buy them instantly for the reading device.
So much that is free is mine to read. This aspect thrills me like few others do. Gutenberg or Feedbooks have all those classics for me to read that either I never got around to reading in my youth or found too expensive to buy as paperbooks. It’s all there for me to acquire painlessly now and read. And, I’m trudging along slowly through such wonderful resources.
In-built dictionary good to beat inertia. I was always interested in broadening my vocabulary but now cringe even less at stopping at a word long enough, to bring the cursor to it, and know it better.
Distraction free reading. No glamour of a backlit screen or lure of multitasking means that I use my ebookreader to simply read books. Even though it allows me to turn on the WiFi to browse the Amazon store or the Net, its purpose is clear—reading straight text. Therefore, I like the focus it’s helping me maintain.
Then, to those readers who already use ebookreaders but remain skeptical about their value:
Share reads, not the device. An ebookreader like the Kindle is a single-owner device. You get one to share with another member in the family and you’d always be apologizing for using it. Figure out ways to share your ebooks with other family members but do go ahead and acquire an ereader specifically for your own use.
Don’t banish paperbooks. It doesn’t have to be a case of scoffing at either paperbooks or ereaders. We can adopt both in our life and use what works most effectively. I haven’t given up on paperbooks. Not yet, anyway. Strangely, many times they’re priced far cheaper than ebooks and easy enough to order from Flipkart so why wouldn’t I avail of that option? Then, many books are still publishing only as paperbooks…and why should my preference for e-resources preclude paper material from my purview? Won’t that be a ridiculous logic to keep?
But paperbooks will go away! Yes, I too miss colourful and glossy covers of paperbooks like many people but I’m not willing to forsake so much flexibility just for cover art. And, no I do not buy the argument of paperbooks promoting socializing—I do not travel by public transport regularly to make friends through my reads. I’m happier to make friends, and stay connected to the old ones, by sharing my impressions of reads on Goodreads or elsewhere instead.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on paper vs. ebook reading, and whether it should even be a matter of concern for readers.