Are ebook readers worth it?

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

Perhaps it’s just the direction society is headed, but everything seems to be going digital these few years: be it electronic camera pens, butter warmers, or LCD sunglasses. Even the tradition of reading from paper did not escape this revolutionary conversion as the e-book reader fascinated people everywhere in 2008.

A decade ago, an e-book reader might have seemed out of place. Today, it’s the perfect solution to huge bookcase worries. Keeping a thousand or so books in your backpack isn’t a bad idea, is it? Why didn’t we think of this earlier?

So should one make it a member of the household?

PROS
1. Convenient: saves time and space
I love the e-book reader for the convenience it brings: how you can buy a book and read it right away, right in bed, and how you can carry an entire library around with you. First, time is precious. Time saved on buying books in physical stores can be used to do other (fun) stuff, like BLOGGING! Second, I’m lazy. I don’t like walking the full (half?) kilometer or so to the bookstore to buy a book: I’d rather stay at home.

2. Dictionary function (optional)
Some readers come with this program: when you move the cursor to a word in the text, its definition will appear at the bottom of the screen. For those who don’t usually look up unknown creatures in paperbacks, it’s time saved and knowledge gained.

3. Searchable
Sometimes you just want to read a particular section in a book, but you’re unsure of which page it’s on. E-book readers allow you to search books with much more efficiency – no more of those lengthy flicking bores!

4. Promotes reading?
It’s questionable whether e-book readers promote reading: one might say that the added convenience is an incentive, but e-book or not, when you decide to read a book you still have to commit time to reading it. The main reason people don’t read is because they feel they have no time to read the book. Can e-book readers really solve this problem?

5. Others
It’s better for the tree community. (Amazon, rejoice!) Some readers also come with lighted displays, so lighting conditions become irrelevant to whether you can read your book or not.

CONS
1. Battery life
It can be extremely irritating when you’re in the middle of an exciting novel and your reader goes flat. Preventive measures? Remember to charge it every night. Which brings us to another possible con – increased electricity consumption.

2. Less variety
Most readers are provided by platforms, and only read books from that platform. Which will you choose? Plus, not all printed books provided by [company name] will be available in e-book format, significantly reducing the number of books you can access.

3. Liquid disasters
Common tragedy regarding electronic products. Need I say more?

4. Software bugs
Another common problem with electronic devices, though I doubt they occur frequently with e-book readers: I haven’t heard of any cases of reader bugs so far.

The verdict? If you like reading books, then go for it. I would. If you’re a passive book-reader (if you read less than a book a month) and you won’t use the reader for magazines / newspapers, I suggest you invest your money somewhere else. Christmas trees, perhaps?

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Author: Jessica Y

Economics student at the University of Cambridge. Aspiring data scientist.

2 thoughts on “Are ebook readers worth it?”

  1. jessica,
    appreciate this 🙂
    first, there’s actually one reason i am VERY VERY against ebook readers.
    it’s because you can’t borrow a book. like for real books you can borrow it out of a library, you can “try” to see if it’s good. but for ebook readers you have to pay for the book.
    and you can’t lend people books…reduces amount of socialisation.
    lastly, i prefer turning the pages. the pages smell good. personal opinion only 🙂

  2. haha thanks Vanessa! I agree you can’t try to see if it’s good all you like, but you can still read an excerpt before you buy (though it’s decided by the platform how much you’re allowed to read.) In bookstores, you’re not always allowed to try either: shops like Popular always wrap their books. Bah.
    As for your other two reasons, LOL. 😀

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