I believe that words, “I prefer paper books, because they are REAL books!”, are familiar to you. I have heard many people saying that and I have said it myself too. But after time things change, I am not saying that anymore, because the e-book devil has me in its possession!
Electronic book readers offer possibility to change the colour of text and background, set the brightness and contrast, regulate the font size and margins to fulfil your needs. That is very good for regular people, but for people with eye problems and for those who prefer to read big or small pieces of text the perks are really nice – it is basically an option to design your own book to your own liking.
The downsides of this is that blind people can’t use it (but so they can’t also paper books that aren’t in braille). You lose the weight, smell and size of the book, the chance to have a visual impression of how much you have left in book (which is sometimes pretty good actually). And you pay more – an empty reader will cost more than a book, obviously.
To read a paper book we need light, which means that sunlight might be enough, but in evenings we might prefer to use electricity. Electronic book reader and Audio book reader means that you actually need to have enough battery (electricity) to stay on track and be able to read or listen to your book, which is a shame of course, because no battery means no book, but in paper book case – no light means no book.
Both Electronic and Audio books have the perks of having huge libraries to choose from, which means that you can always have all or part of your books with you and you can read/listen to whatever you wish, while with paper book, you just have to stick with that one book that you might not want to read.
Many also talk about the perks for nature – e-books are obviously easier to make, they have existed always (ok, I won’t go as far as to say that the ones typed on typewriter also were e-books), because that’s what publishers have before publishing the story, just now they are making them available, because we have this wonderful thing called an e-reader. But who chops off more trees?
Audio books definitely take more battery life than any other types of books. And although we need to charge those readers of ours, paper books are still losers, because not only trees are chopped, you also use the electricity for lights to read… and I guess the amount by which one is better than the other, is how much you use your electronic device and not buy the paper version, meaning, if you read one electronic book and then never use the device again (and alternatively would have read just one paper book), obviously there’s no point for having pollution from the making of the device. But, if you read hundreds and hundreds of books, it saves a lot of trees in exchange for little pollution. Do you know how many years a tree has to grow? And trees make what…? Yeah, they help us survive.
Audio books, as I mentioned, are awesome for busy people (because Audio book is faster), for people with visual impairments and for people who enjoy to hear someone else read for them. And it is a life changer for many people who have thought of themselves as disabled, because the more popular Audio books become, the more there are actually made, giving a wide choice.
But let’s return to the main question, why I started this ramble – which is better?
Although I personally still prefer paper books, I love e-books as well. I was one of those people who said ‘never’ to the e-book reader, thinking that it will never completely substitute ‘real’ books for me, yet slowly my reader has bigger and bigger meaning in my life.
I like to go around the tree problem by sometimes buying second hand books, which seems like a good solution, because those trees have already been chopped and owned once and no one will register me buying the paper thing when calculating the amount of paper/e-books to release next time. But… they take space. I’m currently moving (yes, I know I’m saying that a lot, but by the September I will be in the new place, I promise!) and God, the books are frustrating. There are so many of them, besides, I don’t even want to keep more than half of the books I read. So, yes, I’m turning to the dark e-book side, they have ‘delete’.
Audio books on the other hand is something I don’t like. I don’t like to listen to someone else read to me something I could be reading myself. I can’t concentrate and start floating away, because the voice and sound is just a background and they make me sleepy. I have tried knitting or doings something while listening, but my mind simply drifts away and there’s no point to do it. And unrelated to this – I hate it when people, who listened to audio book, write a review and not mention the fact that they listened to the book. Listening and reading are two different activities and it brings to different experiences. You can’t say ‘when I read this book’, if you listened to it.
I believe that e-books are the best solution. Readers offer so much flexibility that gradmas will have to think of different reasons for not reading, because ‘the letters are too small’ won’t work anymore. Also, with the newest tech advancements, readers that won’t make your eyes hurt are starting to appear (but let’s be honest, many people have gotten glasses from reading paper books in the dark as well, so that’s not really worth a discussion).
Audio books are great for some, but not for majority of people, and paper books are a great memory, but, if we talk of practice, obviously more people could be able to read an e-book in a reader rather than a paper book.
So what are your thoughts? Which is your favourite format of books? Why? Are there more reasons I didn’t think of? Please, bring it on in the comments below!