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The Ups and Downs of e-books


Throughout college I moved from dorm to dorm and later to student apartments. Each move I would be muttering curses under my breath for bringing so many books! No more books, I would tell myself. I didn’t have much room to store them, and I certainly didn’t want to lug around all that dead weight! Lets face it. Unless you’re settled down in a nice house with plenty of space and bookshelves, the less you have the better. So for a nomadic person like me, e-readers are a saving grace. You can have hundreds of books in one small portable device.

To begin with, e-books usually are a bit cheaper than a hard copy book. New releases are a different story, but over time they usually go down as well. Even if the books are just a few bucks cheaper, in this economy every penny counts, right? In the long run, a dollar here and a dollar there will add up to another book. Plus, you’re saving trees too!

On the downside, if your device runs out of battery you don’t have access to any of those books until you recharge it. I’ve been advised to keep the charger plugged in while reading, but I don’t have a socket near my bed. Extension cords could work, but I try to keep my cords behind furniture where Kip doesn’t have access to them. I learned my lesson after he chewed up my vacuum cord!

There are a lot of books that lose formatting when being converted into e-books as well. All those great fonts, flourishes, and sometimes even the cover are nowhere to be seen. You lose a little bit of the book’s character. Some things like cookbooks and magazines are just simply better and practical in print.

Now, although I love the integrated dictionary and search function to look up quotes in an e-book, there are a few things that annoy me to no end. It’s just so much easier to flip back and forth between different parts of a physical book.  It’s also easier to cite page numbers as well. Some e-books do have a “real page number” function, but most of the time they don’t. This is especially annoying when you want to share a quote with a friend, or when you want to track your process on Goodreads.

What kind of pet-peeves do you have about e-books or e-book readers? What kind of books do you still buy, even with an e-book reader?

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