I have been hearing a lot about electronic reading devices (or “e-readers”) lately, and I’m wondering if I should put one on my holiday wish list. Is reading a book electronically better than reading the old-fashioned way? I decided to list the pros and cons of an e-reader vs. print books just to see if it’s really worth putting an e-reader on my holiday wish list or if I’m better off asking for something else.
Reasons why I want an e-reader
1) Is that a weight I am carrying around in my bag?
After reading such books as Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga (for ages 12 and up), J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and other rather large books, I would love to have an e-reader just to avoid carrying around a 5-10 pound book. I couldn’t wait to finish these big books not only because I wanted to find out how the story ended, but also because I just didn’t want to carry around the book anymore.
2) Right here. . . right now!
My biggest qualm about ordering clothes, books, and other items online is that I not only have to pay for shipping and handling, but I also have to wait for them to arrive. It’s often the case that I’ll purchase a book online and then have to wait 3-4 days before I can start reading it. Meanwhile I have nothing to read. With an e-reader, I can download a digital book and start reading immediately. No waiting required!
3) Space Saver
One of the main issues with living in Manhattan, or just being a girl anywhere for that matter, is having enough space for all of your stuff. Currently my books are spread across all areas of my apartment. The majority of my books are on my bookshelf, but the ones that don’t fit are located under my bed, on my windowsill, in my closet, and there might even be a couple mixed in with my clothes in the dresser. This is where an e-reader would come in handy! Plus I’d have more room for new clothes.
Reasons why I prefer books
1) Money, Money, Money. . . Money!
E-readers currently range anywhere from $200 to $400 and on top of that you still have to buy the e-books! With regular books you can borrow from the library or friends, buy used, and/or resell. Plus, think about how many books you can get for the cost of one e-reader.
2) Browsing bookstores
One of my favorite things to do during my free time is to wander around a bookstore and check out the books. Then, I’ll either buy the book(s) there or I’ll go home and purchase the book used online to save money. Unfortunately, an e-reader takes away the fun element of browsing the store and buying the book then and there. Plus, even if you find the book you’re looking for, it might not be available in the electronic format yet.
3) Checkin’ it out
If I’m not browsing bookstores, buying books online, or borrowing books from a friend, I am checking them out for free at the local public library. Unfortunately many public libraries do not have the funds to offer digital e-books online for users. So in the end, the e-reader is put to waste if you’re checking out books from the library.
4) Smell, sight, touch
Maybe it’s just me, but I love being able take a look at all the books I’ve read on my bookshelf at home. I don’t know what it is; seeing them all lined up on the shelves just makes me feel so accomplished. Not only does looking at my collection of books brighten up my mood, but you know when you’re reading that 500 page book and you’re on page 490? Seeing all those pages I’ve read just makes me feel so rewarded that I’m almost finished. Plus, don’t you just love the smell of a new book?
5) Don’t let the book um. . .drop?
I am one of the clumsiest people I know. Whether I’m tripping over my own two feet, spilling coffee on myself, or accidentally dropping my cell phone on the ground, I have learned I do not do well around super-expensive electronics. This is why an e-reader is completely out of the question for me. I mean, if I had a dollar for every time my cell phone has flown out of my hands, I’d probably have enough money to buy an e-reader.
So after writing my list weighing out the pros and cons for e-reader vs. books, I think I’ll scratch off the e-reader from my holiday shopping list and save up my money for more books. What do you think? Do you have any pros or cons that I didn’t think of?
— Carly M., STACKS Staffer