Thursday, January 24, 2013

3 Important Reminders About E-Books

By 2013, even the most traditional of avid readers has been exposed to the digital revolution of the e-book. Whether you’ve bravely embraced the new literary medium or are still partial to the spine and dust jacket world of tangibility, you’ve had the time to scope out several different e-readers and form an opinion on where you stand. If you’re still unconvinced that the e-book is one of the best chances that the written word has to survive into the 21st century, here are 3 quick reminders to help persuade you into checking them out:

E-books Are More Durable Than Hardcopies

The first time you heard about an e-book, you probably wondered why you’d want to pay the full price of a novel for what is essentially a text file, something that could be lost in the shuffle as easily as any Word document or PDF that’s been buried in the depths of your hard drive. But in an age where every e-book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble is permanently stored in your online account with that company, you never have to worry about losing a couple dozen books at once if you accidentally drop your suitcase on the unsuspecting screen of your e-reader. Just register a new device with your account, and every book you’ve ever purchased is available in moments, like a Noah’s Ark full of John Grisham thrillers.

This kind of protection is unprecedented for bibliophiles, who in the past didn’t have the option of re-downloading their library of hardcovers if the moving company sent their boxes to Alaska by mistake, or if uncaring hands broke the bindings on every paperback on the shelf.

E-books Are Always The Same Size

This is something that you might not think would bother you, but after you’ve read your first 4 or 5 books on an e-reader, you may find it a little awkward or irritating that so many books—especially those in a series—come in a variety of sizes. You may have picked up the mass market paperback of Game of Thrones in a grocery store, gotten hooked, then gone to Barnes & Noble to get A Clash Of Kings and found that they only have the larger, bulkier trade paperback, or only the hardcover. You don’t want to wait until you can find one in the same size as the first book, so you end up with a series of books that look severely mismatched on your shelf, like you sent one of your kids to private school and the rest had to survive downtown with the public.

A comfortable e-reader gives you everything in the same size and dimension, and you never have to worry about lugging around an 800-page behemoth that you didn’t actually want in hardcover.

E-books Offer A Positive Form of Instant Gratification

Most of the things in our culture that are instantly available aren’t really good for you—fast food and reality television are within reach 24 hours a day, but make them too much of a habit and your body and mind will start to suffer for it. E-books, on the other hand, take advantage of your momentary desires, but won’t leave you feeling burned out afterward.

If you read a sample chapter of something on Amazon during the commercials for CSI, you may find yourself intrigued enough to want the whole book. But when you finally have some free time later in the week to hit up a bookstore or order a paperback online, you’ve forgotten all about that fleeting literary urge. With an e-book, you can start reading past that sample chapter in moments, and take advantage of that momentum to discover a book that you may have never gotten around to otherwise. Let’s face it: it takes quite a bit of effort to read a book these days, so you have to stoke that fire with whatever tools are available.

If you’re dead set against the approaching digital tide, than these points probably won’t offer anything new to convince you. But if you’re on the fence about e-books and e-readers, then you owe it to yourself to take advantage of this incredible new medium. You’ll read more, you’ll ultimately save a bit of money, and you’ll have a personal library at your fingertips anywhere in the world.

John is a tech blogger who cherishes every moment with his Kindle. He writes for a variety of companies, including gadget insurer, who can help protect your e-reader from theft and damage.