Techie Saturday – eBooks vs Paper

This week in our series about eBooks I want to show you some of the advantages and misunderstood disadvantages of going electronic. If you missed last week’s post you may want to go back and review it by clicking here.

One of the most obvious advantages is that it saves trees. I don’t know how many, but I suspect it is in the millions. Fifteen years ago I got most of my monthly bills in the mail. I would then write a check and post it back to the mail. I think you get the idea. The world is going paperless, and that is a good thing.

Another advantage is as I mentioned last week, it saves shelf space for those of us who are avid readers. 95% of my books from the last at least five years now reside on a device that is about half the size of an average paperback. I have about three hundred books that now reside there.

Note taking is drastically simplified with ebooks. No longer do I need to scribble out unreadable notes about what I read. I don’t have to worry about earmarking pages and highlighting paragraphs in hopes that I can find them later. Highlighting text for retrieval later is done with the flick of the wrist and then stored away for easy search and retrieval.

Ok, now let’s look at a few perceived problems with ebooks. One is that you have to buy them instead of just getting them from the library. I know Kindle books pretty well so I will talk about that, but I’m pretty sure there are others who provide similar services. If you don’t want to buy a book just take it out of the Kindle Library. With Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, there are about almost 1.5 million books you can borrow for free with no due dates, including current and former best sellers. I get about half my books in this mode. You can keep ten library books at a time. When you reach that limit you have to return a book in order to borrow a new one. To see more about this click here

One of the biggest perceived negatives is that some of us just don’t like to do extensive reading on what we see as a glaring computer screen. I personally spend a lot of time in front of my Mac and understand that problem. But there are now ebook readers that are pretty much the same as reading a paper book. The technology is called e-Ink. It was originally introduced in 2010 but has been improved drastically since then. One of the distinct advantages of reading ebooks is that they are subtly background lit so you can read them without having to turn on a light. That’s pretty important for us old guys, and for those bed reader who don’t want to keep their spouse up at night. Another is that you can make the text size as big as you want!

Next time I will close out this series by discussing the tools that make ebooks possible and what I consider the ultimate secret advantage of ebooks.