Wednesday, June 22, 2011

E-readers vs Paperbacks

E-readers v. paperbacks

The e reader craze took some of us by storm and as expected once one company made it big with their innovate idea many others followed in hot pursuit. It wasn’t long before we had a large variety of e readers on the market claiming to be the thinnest and most efficient for all our mystery, harlequin, and non fictional needs. Like so many people I rode the wave of technology and bought into the fad of owning an e reader. The idea of electronic books seemed so modern while plain old paperbacks and musty library books seemed a thing of the past.

There is now so much we can do with hand held electronic devices, they seem to simplify our lives and allow us endless hours spent indulging in engaging applications. I figured that since I am an avid reader the Pandigital e reader with its color screen and wifi connection was a rational purchase and thus I added it to my Christmas list.

Since this blog is intended to be a general comparison between e readers vs. paperbacks I won’t go into a detailed analysis of the operational issues I have had with my Pandigital e reader, but let me take a moment to jot down a few facts:
1.       I never managed to successfully connect to my email account,
2.       terrible and inexperienced customer service representatives
3.        ongoing device malfunctions.

Now that I got that off my chest let’s move on.

Let’s start by examining the PROS of e readers:
One of the functionality aspects I love most about my e reader is the convenience of purchase. I no longer have to head out to a Chapters or Coles to buy the books on my reading list; I can search for the books directly on my e reader, purchase them through my account and upload the book within seconds all without having to leave the comfort of my own home. If there is a new best seller on the market, or a book that is getting raved reviews and being hyped up by celebrities I don’t have to sign up to be on a waiting list at a local book store or search several different retailers to find what I want.

With my e reader I am supposed to be able to link the device to an e mail account to check my mail. My device also has a wifi connection so I can search the web and read articles and magazines. I can also upload photos, acquire different applications and store contact information. Although I will admit the wifi is slow and the device does not have the ability to stream videos it is an e-reader after all not a lap top so the capacities are rather basic.

The e reader is also rather thin (or at least most claim to be) and they are made to be rather compact, so they are easy to take with you on the go and fit into a bag.

Now for the CONS:
With my e-reader I cannot share my e-books with friends or family. One of the benefits of paperbacks is that you can lend and exchange them with other people. With my e-reader I cannot send my e-books electronically nor can they be uploaded to my computer. I think that once you purchase a novel it is YOURS, you own it and you should be able to do with it as you wish. E-reader manufacturers and the associated book retailers limit the freedom you have with your purchases. I am extremely more willing to lend out a paperback than my e-reader. After paying a hefty penny for my device I find that I am a lot more vigilant and reluctant to lend it out in case of liabilities.

Paperbacks or hard covers can also be taken with you on the go and on travel; unless it’s a large cumbersome book, most novels are also very compact for travel. E- readers also unfortunately limits your reading time, they run on a rechargeable battery that only lasts for so long. You may find yourself worrying about your battery dying or finding a place to recharge as you desperately search for an electrical outlet. With a paperback you can read as much and as long as you like, there is no chance that your paperback will disconnect you on a long boring flight.

Personally I like having the physical book because you can add the novel to your home library or office and it will always be at your finger tips. You can collect e-books, but if you do no matter how extensive your device memory is there is always a limit. Device malfunctions and losing your library is always a risk with an electronic device.

With the rise of Ipads that can also be utilized as e readers among many other functions, e-readers may soon fizzle out into extinction.

 Until the next big technological craze comes along I will continue to purchase both e-books and paper backs depending on if and how I want to store and keep my novels.

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