I'm a Believer

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Until about two (or less) years ago, I was one of the people who thought that an e-book could never compare to a paper book that I can hold in my hands. Once I realized the convenience of a Kindle, however, and then discovered the e-ink properties of it that make it read like a real book, I overcame my uncertainties and asked for a Kindle for Christmas. Harry Potter was the reason I changed; I was rereading the series, which I own in hardback format, and was lugging one or two books to school each day along with my notebooks and textbooks. My back hurt. I started thinking that if I had a Kindle, I could have the entire Harry Potter series and more in my backpack without having to endure the heavy load of a library on my back. Once I began reading e-books, I realized that it was basically the same as reading a physical book, except less heavy. I still have a few issues with my Kindle, mainly the lack of page numbers (it's very difficult to discuss a book in class when I have no idea where the passage is that we're covering) and the occasional typo I find (in my current book when something is in italics, occasionally the rest of the chapter will be too, even though it's supposed to be in normal type. There's also the few words like "cairn" that get changed into "caim"), but overall I consider it a lot better than carrying all of my books around with me when I know I'll be reading a fair amount that day.

I think that people feel like physical books should be preserved or e-books shunned because that it what they're used to. It is nice sometimes to be able to flip pages around without changing the screen, but other than that I don't see a difference in reading quality at all. The content is the same, your eyes don't hurt after long periods because you've been staring at the screen (at least with the Kindle and Nook), and it's a lot more convenient. Even if people don't like e-books, I think that they're going to have to get used to reading on screens. That seems to be the direction books are going, with iPads being introduced in more and more places and Kindle books being offered for well below the price of a physical book. People should just accept the e-book phenomenon.



Will's picture

Large Book Series

I had a similar revelation about e-books. I've never been a staunch defender of print, but I never really saw the need for an e-book, until I wanted to re-read The Lord of the Rings. Though not quite as big as Potter, I liked reading it in one volume, which can get pretty unwieldy. So, I relented and got a Kindle. I've also found that some books, especially free public domain books, have a bunch of typos. Probably because there is no revenue stream supporting such books. I've seen an interesting trend though, where publishers charge $0.99 for a public domain book, but the formatting and overall quality is much better than the free versions.


It's interesting that you mentioned the difference between typos in public domain books and ones you have to pay a little bit for. I haven't noticed a direct correlation with the price of the book resulting in less typos, but I'm definitely going to look out for that now. And I might consider paying the extra buck or two to free my reading experience from mistakes.