I’ve been an avid reader quite a while, and was intrigued by the idea of ereaders. Would an ereader be as cozy to curl up with as a book? Would the pixilated text annoy me? Would fake-flipping the pages feel wrong? But I didn’t feel I could justify the expense of buying one for the sake of an experiment.
Happily, my family provided the solution. Two Christmases ago, they bought me an ereader as a gift.
Since the Kindle was launched in 2007, ebook sales have grown explosively. But lately, they seem to have stabilized. In the first half of 2014, ebooks accounted for 23 per cent of unit sales, while print books outsold them at 67 per cent. Even young people—who otherwise seem to be glued to electronics—prefer print; in a recent survey, 74 per cent said they prefer print over digital or audio formats.
But what’s my take? It’s been nearly two years since I received my gift. Have I dedicated myself to technology? Renewed my vows to paper? Or settled into a happy hybrid balance?
First, let’s explore my view of the top four benefits of each.
- It’s easy to instantaneously obtain books. When I received the ereader, I was staying at my in-laws’ cottage in rural Alberta and—gasp—had run low on reading material. After a little setup and prep, I had library books downloaded onto the ereader and was ready to read.
- It’s easy to carry and hold. I no longer need to haul bulky books to and from work every day, on the off chance I’ll find a lunchtime moment to read. Nor do I need to prop heavy books on pillows to read comfortably in bed.
- It’s good for jotting notes. Would I write in the margin of a print book? Rarely. But I have no qualms about putting down thoughts or highlighting passages in an ebook.
- If I don’t know a word, I can look it up. Before, I’d never have gone out of my way to consult a dictionary, but one-touch look-ups make it irresistibly easy.