by Eve Guevara
Several months ago I had a discussion with an acquaintance about owning an E-reader.
“Those things suck! I’ll never get one, I like real books.”
I tried to talk her into trying it out, but she flatly refused.
“You’re a big reader, why do you have an E-reader?”
It was almost an accusation, like having an E-reader was the worst thing evar. Since this person was an acquaintance I couldn’t tell her she was a prime silly ass. I reserve the right to harangue only my good friends.
“Oh it doesn’t smell like a book!” “Oh, it doesn’t feel like a book!” “Oh, you can’t write in it and make notes in the margins!”
Rubbish. It’s like paper book holdouts are complaining about skiing on fake snow as opposed to real snow. Or drifting along placidly in a lazy river in a water park as opposed to drifting along placidly in a river in the boonies somewhere. “Oh, it doesn’t smell like river water!” “Oh, it doesn’t feel like real snow!” You’re still skiing, right? Your ass is still stuck in a floatie in a bathing suit looking like one of my favorite insults (see previous graphic).
You can highlight and make notes, “dog-ear” pages, and most E-readers even have a dictionary feature included, as well as enough space for reading music to be downloaded onto the device. Besides those awesome thingies, there are more benefits to e-Books than real ones anyway:
E-books are cheaper for everyone
Ok, so I’m a huge collector of books. I have several bookshelves and at least a dozen boxes full of books, and those are just the ones I brought with me to California.
However, I also like shoes and silk underwear. E-books cost an average of $10, while hardback books average about $26 for new releases. The smaller paperbacks are less expensive, but about the same as the e-Book. It’s usually more expensive to actually produce an e-Book ($5 as compared to $.50 for a hardback) but that’s not counting the cost of making the paper and shipping the completed book. I imagine producers end up making a bigger profit in the long run by saving on the shipping costs alone.
My apartment is not bigger on the inside
Don’t get me wrong, I love my books. Most of them are old friends and an inexpressible comfort to me. But paper books take up a lot of freaking space. They’re heavy and you have to buy furniture to house them as well. I live in an earthquake-prone area, and would be sorely pissed if I’m killed by a book avalanche. I can put over 10,000 books on my E-reader and have the knowledge of the world at my fingertips with the push of a button. Convenient and space saving.
Love your mother—eBooks are greener
Ok, so maybe not all of you are hippies out there, but being good to the Earth is important to me. While there will be electronic waste because of these bad boys and they use electricity to charge, there will be much less cutting down of trees, which I think offsets the carbon footprint of the E-readers in their current incarnation.
Besides, I fully expect e-waste recycling to get more prevalent, and for solar, wind and hydroelectricity to be lucrative in the near future, further offsetting the carbon footprint of electronic devices of all kinds, not just e-readers. That, however, is my personal opinion. I did a lot of research on this before I got one, and if you buy more than ten books a year you have a smaller carbon footprint by purchasing e-Books as opposed to paper ones. I buy ten books every few months.
You still have the important part
Like I said before, my books are old friends. The characters have been with me through the best and the worst of times, and no matter how many times I read them I always end up learning something new, either about the world or myself. It doesn’t matter to me if I actually have the well-thumbed, dog-eared, falling apart copy of Pride and Prejudice I got from a library book sale when I was twelve, or the massive, overpriced edition of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets I was forced to buy from the college bookstore when I was taking British literature. What matters to me is that I have Mr. Darcy to drool over and the Bard’s words to thrill me.
If I want to have the smell of books as well, there’s a candle for that.