A Luddite’s Case for eReaders: 8 Reasons I’ve Embraced Digital

I love using my eReader for so many reasons.

Bear with me – I realise that I’m so late to the party that the decorations are on the kerb, but for the first decade of the eReader’s commercial availability, I had zero interest in using one.

Traditional books are just so tactile. I love the smell, the feel, the heft of holding a bunch of paper and ink in my hands.  I love the beautiful colours and typography that a well-designed book brings to my shelves. I love the whisper of pages as I rifle through a hardcover, and the satisfaction of progressing from cover to cover. Reading from a screen, no matter how ‘paper-like’ it appeared, was just about the least romantic way to consume a story that I could imagine. I wasn’t opposed to other people using an eReader – using one just didn’t appeal to me. It seemed like the difference between an mP3 and a live concert, or at least an mP3 and the warmth of a tube amp.

Last summer, I borrowed my Mum’s eReader out of curiosity, and it was only a matter of months before I decided to shell out the cash for my own device. Here’s are eight reasons why I chose to incorporate eBooks into my daily life.

1) There’s a library in my pocket.

I’m impressed by the sheer convenience of being able to tote around 300+ books in my purse. To someone who brings two books to the doctor’s waiting room (just in case I change my mind about my first choice) a portable library that takes up less space than a single trade paperback is pure gold. Not having to worry about running out of reading material during a two-week vacation last fall (or spending hours deciding which books to pack) was a luxury I’d never before experienced. Five stars. Would recommend.

2) I can tread off the beaten path.

With the success of digital publishing and hybrid authors, sometimes a book just isn’t available in a hardcopy format. Digitally published short stories and serialised novellas are a growing market. Buying an ebook for half of what a paper copy would cost (or less if I can catch a sale) also allows me to take some risks, and to support indie authors.

3) It expands my access to the public library’s collection and eliminates fines.

On top of their stellar print collection, my local library boasts an amazing selection of eBooks and other digital media. Using an eReader means that I can get popular titles more quickly, try out random stuff free of cost, and find titles that I can’t get elsewhere. I’m also notorious for letting borrowed material accrue hefty fines. Borrowing digitally means that I don’t have to think twice about what’s due – when a digital loan has expired, it’s automatically returned. For me, that’s money in the bank.

On a side note, I have a lot of anxiety about bedbugs, and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve cracked opened a library book and had some stranger’s food crumbs fall out over my sheets. The sterility of borrowed eBooks eliminates that anxiety.

4) STATS!

I love personal data. I can see how many pages I read per minute and how many hours I’ve read that month, and that’s as good as candy.

5) A myriad of font and formatting options.

This isn’t a feature I would have imagined myself using, but I’m a slow reader and a larger font increases my speed. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s nice icing.

6) I can read articles away from my computer.

I hate reading at my desk, and so my TBR list for online articles was growing outrageously long.  I can now automatically sink my device to the app I save my articles to and reference them later from the comfort of my sofa.

7) I can read my own stuff.

I still do most of my work at a desk but sometimes I just want to read my manuscript through without being able to change it. It allows me to see my work in a way that a reader might see it, and gives me a fresh perspective that I just can’t get in Scrivener. I don’t own a printer and the library is a bit of a hike, so having an eReader fills that niche for me.

8) It takes up less space.

I don’t identify as a minimalist, but I am trying to pare down on the sheer amount of stuff that lines my walls. Earlier this month I wrote about culling my personal library, and a big impetus for making that cull was being able to incorporate eBooks into my collection. There’s something to be said for having beautiful objects around one’s home, but having the option to buy a book that doesn’t take up any physical space has been freeing for me.

Don’t get me wrong: I still love print, and I have no plans to stop buying hard copies of certain books, but what I’ve learned over the past 6 months is that there is a place for digital and analogue in my collection. And so long as the words meet my eyes, I don’t really care how they get there.

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