Category Archives: Books

E-Readers vs. Old-Fashioned Books–Are They Worth It?

By Alexis the Bookaholic 

Everywhere you turn, people are comparing and questioning which e-reader technology gadget is the best and which to buy. However, the bigger question (or perhaps I’m just late) is whether to get a technological reader at all.

I have a Sony e-reader and I have had it for a little over a year. I was surprised to find that I adjusted rather quickly. Many of the things I thought would be a problem or difficult to adjust to was not really a problem. But I also felt some unexpected losses.

Pluses:

  1.  Convenience. No back-breaking bags for the airport.
  2.  Sheer #’s. I can have 20 books in my purse, appropriate for any mood.
  3.  Ease of obtaining new books. No matter which gadget you choose, you can buy a book at 2 AM. Just finished a ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ novel before expected? Next book in 30 seconds. Let’s Go!!
  4.  Nifty accessories. Leopard cover. ‘Nuff said.
  5.  Privacy. Love how people don’t know what I am reading and thus can’t judge me.
  6.  Savvy points. Hey, it always looks good to be technologically savvy. I’ve always been a nerd, but now I look like a cool nerd.

Minuses

  1.  Smell. Readers do not smell like books. And it’s sad. I miss it.
  2.  Short flights. I LOVE having 15 books ready for a long flight. But all technology has to be off at the beginning and end of flights. I don’t know how long this lasts, but it feels like years (or 20 minutes) in the beginning and end. Too much lost reading time.
  3.  Charging. My e-reader’s battery life is two weeks. This is great, except for the one time you don’t charge it–then it’s like a paperback that is glued shut. Total waste.
  4.  Cost. Many people expect books on e-readers to be much cheaper than regular books. Not really. Other people get readers because they want to download textbooks. If reducing the load on your back is a priority, then great. But the textbooks aren’t any cheaper and you can’t buy them used. Usually, if I buy a textbook, I want to sell it back when I’m done the class. So books in general aren’t much cheaper with an e-reader. But the convenience may outweigh this.
  5.  It’s not a book! Obviously. The table of contents makes it easy to move through the book, but there is no real front cover, pr back cover, and it is still awkward (in my opinion) to flip quickly to a favorite part or to cheat by reading the back of the book.
  6.  Display. Books are pretty. You can put them on bookshelves and they can decorate your house/apartment. You lose this completely with e-readers.

My Conclusion: Gotta Have It

Ultimately I have to have an e-reader. It’s convenient for my life right now.

In the future, I think I will have to choose between having to buy a book twice, or having to buy my most wanted/loved books in paperback. You can also check out books from the library on e-readers. Soon this will be available in all cities. Only time will tell.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?

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BIO 

Alexis the Bookaholic writes the blog “Reflection of a Bookaholic,”   from which this essay  is adapted. She describes herself as an overstressed law student who escapes to the world of books. She is a University of Texas graduate (‘Hook ‘Em’) and a ‘Teach for America’ Alum. She is currently attending the University of Texas School of Law.
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