fcmalby

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What do you gain from reading eBooks?

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ereader-librarydigitaltrends.com

I promised to balance a previous post on The Joy of a Bookshop with a look at the advantages of reading eBooks, so here it is. Much as I love browsing through bookshops and holding a physical book, turning its pages and enjoying the cover and the scent of the paper, I am currently reading many more eBooks. The reasons for this are varied:

I can download a sample of a book to see if I like the style and am, therefore, experimenting with new writers more than I perhaps used to. I can take a chance on a writer I do not know and not have to part with any cash until I decide to move on or to download the whole book. This has honestly revolutionised my reading as I download samples as I find them, they are automatically sent to my kindle, and when I am ready to read they are there waiting all in one place.

The price is usually lower, which means that I can download more books and I have never read as many books as I have since I was given a kindle last year. E-books are less expensive to produce and can be sold at a lower price. Although it is not always the case, more often than not the price is a good deal lower. E-books are also encouraging younger readers to pick up books as they are already familiar with mobile devices and tablets, although paperback and hardback books are still more popular with the youngest readers.

I can travel with more books as I can download them and slide a fairly slim device into my bag. Gone are the days when I threw six books into a suitcase and removed several items of clothing, only to then take out four of the books and put the clothes back in. I can now take as many books as I like with me anywhere I go and not worry about bulk or weight. Hallelujia!

I can highlight and annotate the text and see popular sections of a book highlighted by others. The annotation function works well for me when editing my own books but it also gives me a place to make notes when I am reading non fiction, in particular. I can also highlight parts that I want to return to, both with fiction and non fiction. I like to be able to see highlights from others, as it makes the reading more of a shared experience. If you can see what other readers enjoyed it enriches your own experience. Some of the best quotes from books are highlighted, enabling you to skim through them before or after you read and to have them saved for later reference.

I can search for keywords. This is a really useful function of eReaders when you are reading eBooks. It allows you to find passages if you want to go back and check anything or, in the case of non fiction, it helps you to find key points of reference. With fiction, you might want to reread a part which you enjoyed. This can be more difficult when you are turning the pages of a paperback.

The immediacy of downloading an eBook, as opposed to waiting to get to a bookshop, means that you download books which you might otherwise not get around to buying, especially if copies are not available. This is of particular relevance to me as I live in a country where English is not the native language, but I read in English. Instead of waiting to get to a bookshop with an English section, I can download a book within minutes.

These are just some of the many advantages I see but I hope the two will continue to coexist so that readers continue to be presented with a choice. The more ways that books can be put into the hands of readers, the better.

For those of you who enjoy statistics, I’ll leave you with some information from Nielsen who predict that “ebooks will overtake sales of print books in 2014, with total sales expected to rise to 47 million units. This will put total ebook sales 300,000 ahead of their print equivalents and mean that electronic books account for 48% of the overall fiction market.” They also recorded a dip in sales for 2013 and projected a mixed outlook with this information included.

You can read the whole article from Publishing Technology here. The following infographic shows statistics from the US in 2013: libraries-are-forever-972-640x4094                                              dailyinfographic.com, Feb 2013

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Author: fcmalby

Award winning novelist and short story author. Debut novel, Take Me to the Castle, winner of The People's Book Awards 2013. Short fiction published in various online journals and anthologies. Hearing Voices (Kingston University Press, Summer 2015). Unthology 8 (Unthank Books, Nov 2015). www.fcmalby.com

4 thoughts on “What do you gain from reading eBooks?

  1. I’ll admit it, I used to be one of those anti-ebook fundamentalists. Then, a few months ago, we went on holiday, wanted to save luggage space, and so got a kindle. Suffice to say my tune has, rather drastically, changed, and for the same reasons outlined above. I’ll always love a book in my hands, having the pages there as a material thing at my fingers. But, man, it’s gotta be said, ebooks are wonderful things. And especially when travelling.

    • I really agree. I’ll always love holding a physical book in my hands but the convenience of eBooks, especially when travelling, can’t be matched.

  2. Thanks for this, Fiona! While I’m living in Spain it’s simply not convenient to be buying loads of paperbacks (and bringing them over from England), so I’m reading more and more ebooks. I do prefer having a hard copy, but you’ve pinpointed all the reasons why ebooks are a good alternative. I really love the sample feature for one (and there’s a lot of money saved in the process!)

    For books that look good on my bookshelves and I’ll probably read again, I like to buy paperback or hardback copies. But for the rest, ebooks are definitely the best option for me!

    Hope you’re well,
    Lucy

    • I do exactly the same. I tend to download samples to work out what to read but I always keep copies of favourites and classics in paperback or hardback and nothing beats the feel of holding a book and looking at the cover and the spines on your bookshelves. Thanks for your comments. I’m well thanks. I hope you are enjoying Spain. I imagine it’s quite a change of lifestyle and I’m glad you are still finding time to read. Best wishes, Fiona

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