Your bookshelves are full. You’ve even started piling books on the floor. Your favorite novels are dog-eared, marked up, and you’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time to get another copy for the collection because a new hardback would look really good on the shelf (or floor). But you’ve also been thinking about traveling, and there’s just no way to take all your favorite books with you. You’ve put off getting an e-reader — the smell, the texture, the bookishness of holding a paperback in your hands seems so diminished holding a Kindle. But hold tight. There might be room for both the hard copy and the e-copy in your life. Read on.
eBooks for Information
Owning an e-reader doesn’t require you to toss out your favorite hardcovers and paperbacks. In fact there are a lot of applications for e-books. One example is iCow. iCow is a company focused on Kenyan cow farmers. Using simple cellular phones, farmers in Kenya can learn more about their livestock. This service provides farmers with advice on livestock health and well being, as well as tracks milk production, the cost of milk production, calf illness and diseases, and much more. The outreach of these e-books is contributing to better lives for people around the world.
A little closer to home, e-books and digital media can be used to study. They can help students familiarize themselves with the various testing process, whether for school or beyond school. For instance, Driving-Tests.org offers free practice tests for people attempting to get their drivers license.
The industry of books vs e-books is in limbo right now. Nothing is set in stone. There are reasons for e-readers as well as hard copies, and as of right now they are filling vastly different niches.
What About Literature?
“If a mirror were a sufficient means of handling the human experience, I doubt that our species would have invented literature,” says John D’Agata, who believes there is a responsibility to find truth within his readership rather than report exact facts. And he is quite right in the way literature brings something to our lives that simply can’t be filled by other styles of writing. The smell and texture of a good novel is part of that experience D’Agata is explaining.
The sound of the page turning and the feel of paper between fingers — when it comes to literature, hard copies have the upper hand. How many times have you fallen in love with a book only to hand it off to a friend or family member? Well, many e-readers have a nifty sharing option, but it isn’t the same as getting a well broken-in book from a friend.
Another drawback of the e-reader is the inability to scribble notes into the margins. Yes, e-readers have note-taking capabilities, but they are often clunky and difficult to navigate.
One such advantage of the e-reader is for living abroad or travel. With an e-reader you can carry thousands of books with you in the palm of your hand.
E-books and hard copy books are simply good for different things. Are there reasons e-books are more convenient? Yes, but the experience is not the same. It is up to you to decide what your needs are when it comes to your reading preferences and then make a decision whether you want to keep those piles of books on your floor, or simple convert some of them to digital.