Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On eBooks

Adam C. Zern shares a few thoughts on reading his first eBook:

"My book reading habits are not trendy.  I very, very rarely read new releases and am usually unmoved by the 'hottest' new books or authors in the public eye.  I don't do this intentionally.  In fact, I've been pondering as of late about making myself more aware of the new releases and the more popular books being published.  One trend in particular, the eBook, is one in which I am coming extremely late to the party; I bought my first eBook around two weeks ago.  However, I have some very important reasons for delaying my adoption of the eBook. 

To begin with, I am a highlight and reference kind of reader.  If I come across a passage, a statement, some powerful prose, etc., I highlight it with a blue pen (always a blue pen!) and have come back to it later—usually to use it in my writing.  Can you do this with eBooks?  Of course.  In fact, the 'Find' feature is an added and extremely powerful tool that doesn't exist in a physical book.  But there is something so much more real, in my mind, with physically picking up a pen and deliberately underlining certain passages rather than swiping and pinching in an electronic form.  That kinesthetic act of hand, pen, and paper has a tendency to place the passage in my memory in such a way that I'm usually able to recall it. 

Secondly, I simply love feeling the book in my hand.  I love placing a bookmark in its pages and flipping from one page to another.  Above all, turning that last page of a book is always such a satisfying experience.  When I was reading Divergent by Veronica Roth I didn't really have any tangible indication of when the book was about to end—this is especially true since I bounced back and forth between reading it on my iPhone and reading it on my iPad and the page numbers vary based on which device you're using.  When the last page of the book came and went it kind of caught me off guard and left me feeling a little crestfallen.  I absolutely love, love, love the experience of turning that last page of a book.  I usually flip back through its pages and turn the book over in my hands a few times, pondering upon its contents and the accomplishment of moving one book closer to my lifetime reading goal.

Having said all of that, my experience with my first eBook truly showed me how convenient they are.  I knew it would be easier and quicker to read a book in an eBook form, but I didn't appreciate just how much.  I read the vast majority of my first eBook on my iPhone, which allowed me to sneak in a few pages standing at the microwave at work, waiting for an appointment, and especially while sitting in traffic (only trained reading professionals should attempt the latter!).  I loved that feature of having an eBook, and recognize it simply cannot be duplicated with reading a physical book. 

Which is better?  Physical book or eBook?  Physical book, of course.  However, there are benefits of both forms.  Since there are advantages and disadvantages of both, the decision to buy an eBook or not I think will come down to one of the most basic economic concerns we know: cost.  I see many more eBooks in my future, but I'll never abandon completely the old-school way."

Other Topics of Interest:
3 Reasons Why You Should Read
What You Don't Know is the Reason
3 Rules of Book Etiquette


  1. Fast. You can read so much faster on an E-reader. I believe in reading any way you can get it.

  2. My e-reader is my best friend. This is not because I prefer e-books over hard-copies. On the contrary, I wouldn't trade my least favorite hard-copy book for my favorite e-book, but because when I'm traveling, or just going somewhere for a day or two it's so convenient to just take my e-reader, instead of having to pack all these heavy books, which will get damaged in my luggage. I don't think the e-book is going to replace the hard-copy any time soon, but I do understand the appeal.