I can’t do without e-books anymore and here are my reasons:
1. Buying Foreign Books Is Easy
You don’t have to pay expensive postage for foreign e-books and can start reading straigthaway. The German satire novel “Look who’s back” – “Er ist wieder da” (translated into English by Jamie Bulloch) is an example: it is available as an e-book in different languages around the world.
2. Learning Opportunity Through Dictionaries
You may come across unfamiliar words while you are reading. Monolingual dictionaries are usually preinstalled – my Kindle has the Oxford Dictionary of English, the New Oxford American Dictionary as well as the German Duden Universalwörterbuch and some others. Dictionaries are particularly useful when you are reading books in foreign languages and you can buy additional bi-langual ones for e-readers.
In the pre-ebook era I rarely looked up unfamiliar words, because it would have been too invonvenient and I usually understood the vague meaning from the context anyway. This didn’t really improve my language skills, but now I am learning a lot more each time I am reading a book in a foreign language.
3. Further Learning Opportunity Through Wikipedia
Some books mention unfamiliar concepts that can’t be found in dictionaries and are often not necessary to understand if you just want to grasp the basic meaning of something, but I have a lot of information at my fingertips through Wikipedia on my e-reader when I am connected to Wifi. This would be another wasted learning opportunity with print books because it is the same as with dictionaries: I find it too tedious to use an external encyclopedia.
4. E-Books Are Often More Up To Date Than Print Books
Changes can be implemented quickly into e-books, especially if they are written by self-published authors, who are able to do everything themselves. New books can be launched faster as well. I am sure this will be even more important in future, since the information we rely on is changing more and more rapidly.
5. Benefits for Self-Publishers And Their Readers
Self-published e-books are usually cheaper than those from publishing houses, as self-publishers have lower expenses and are still able to earn good royalties.
In addition, self-publishers have more flexibility in various ways and are for example free to decide the length of their books. I read several good quality self-published non-fiction e-books that focussed on the essence of a topic and saved me some time.
Translators can be publishers as well, sometimes finding interesting books that nobody else would publish.
6. Special E-Book-Offers
Certain websites are featuring special e-book offers for limited time periods, for example bookbub.
7. Free Classics
A lot of classics are permanently free for Kindle, among them one of my favourites, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
8. Marking Text And Adding Notes Is Easy
I love marking text – whenever I want to read the most interesting parts of a book again, I just flick through the marked text. In e-books I can add markings and notes quickly and may change or delete them just as easily.
9. Text Passages Can Be Found Quickly
In print books, I can sometimes find certain parts of the text only after an extensive earch, if at all, even if there is an index. The search function in e-books makes things a lot easier.
10. Easy Relocation And Mobile Life
When I moved to the UK many years ago, I arrived with just one backpack and one suitcase, I left a lot of books behind and most of the weight that I carried consisted of print books as e-books did not yet exist back then. That was quite a pain and I am glad I will definitely take all my e-books with me when I am moving again.
Paper books can also take up a lot of space in moving vans. And just think of the modern nomads who are living without a permanent residence nowadays – unthinkable without an e-reader!
11. Spending Less For Accomodation
Some might think I am exaggerating now, especially those who don’t read much or who are lucky enough to live in a large home, but I am not joking: accomodation costs are an issue for me as well. London is one of the most expensive cities of the world, but I believe that those who are based in smaller towns can also reach their limits with print books if they cannot or do not want to spend more than necessary.
12. I Always Have My Whole E-Library On Me
When I am out and about reading at a cafe, a pub, in a park or wherever I go – I always have my whole e-library on me.
13. Convient On Holiday
On holiday, I can buy as many e-books as I want in advance and download more at my holiday destination, provided I have WiFi access. I don’t have to carry print books and on the plane I save extra charges for heavy suitcases.
14. Reading Comfortably With One Hand
It is easy to hold an e-reader comfortably with one hand, whenever this comes in useful.
15. Unobtrusive Background Lighting
The background lighting of e-readers is an advantage when you don’t have sufficient light. In case you are sharing your bed with someone and one person is sensitive to light and wants to sleep and the other one prefers to read late at night, this unobtrusive lighting may be very useful. But make sure you buy an e-reader that actually has background light or buy an e-reader cover with integrated lighting.
16. More privacy
I like the fact that people cannot easily see from the cover what I am reading, and I am not even talking about certain adult novels 😉
17. Cover Look
Some people say they wouldn’t want to do withouth those wonderful looking print book covers on their bookshelves. I have had a look at all my covers again and must admit that I do really like some of them, some are kind of okay but there are others that I find dull or ugly. With an e-book cover of my choice, however, I will always have one that fits my taste.
And then there are people who say they love to hold a print book in their hands and wouldn’t want to use an e-reader for that reason. Again, I prefer an e-reader cover of my choice. They come in many different kinds of of textures, even fluffy onves, if you fancy them.
Oh, and the smell… Don’t you think that print books emit a wonderful odour? I personyally disagree, as I read a number of books that smelled horribly, probably due to cheap paper, not to mention really awful smelling books from public libraries and I prefer the neutral, non-smelling e-experience.
20. Adjustable Font Size
And last but not least you can change the font size of e-books. When I showed my e-reader to my parents, this was the feature they liked best. It is very handy for people who have problems with their eyesight and might otherwise have difficulties reading any books at all.
So, that was me and my reasons. Did I miss anything that you find important? If so, I would love to hear from you.