While we do love our friends at Wired, we have a small bone to pick with their recent piece, "5 Reasons Why E-Book Aren't There Yet." Being fans of both eBooks and print books we felt compelled to share our reasons why we think eBooks are here and why we as bookworms love them.
It is no secret that here at Unplggd we love both our print and digital books. We are a group that is fairly heavy leaden with bookworms as well as frequent travelers and it is for these reasons that we felt compelled to answer the 5 shortcomings of eBooks that Wired listed. For those unfamiliar with the original piece, we have listed their reasons why eBooks are not here yet along with our responses.
1. An unfinished e-book isn't a constant reminder to finish reading it.
We beg to differ, unlike with print books, the eBooks that we have from various sources (including the public library) are always with us on one (primarily our iPad) device which means that it's easy to see where we are in the various titles we are reading. Another great feature of eBooks that are loaned from the public library is they let you know how many days they have left which helps to spur us to finish titles before they are due and vanish off of our devices.
2. You can't keep your books all in one place.
As we mentioned in the first point, one of the reasons why we love reading eBooks on our iPad is that we can have books from various sources all exist on one device. It's wonderful as a bookworm being able to not be weighed down with lbs of books when packing for a vacation and still being able to bring all of the desired titles. While it might be fun to see an app that would show us all of the titles we have in the various eReading apps on our device, we are not terribly bothered by this since we primarily use three sources for content: iBooks, Kindle, and OverDrive (public library) and it is not that troublesome to click on three different apps.
3. Notes in the margins help you think.
As mentioned by several folks in the Wired comments most eReading apps allow for notes and highlighting in eBooks. One of the newest tablets on the market, the HTC Flyer, shown above takes this one step further by allowing annotations with the tablet pen.
4. eBooks are positioned as disposable, but aren't priced that way.
We are not sure what bookstores the author is shopping at (perhaps comparing used paperbacks?) but we find that when it comes to new books the pricing for eBooks is easily half of a print title. As a bonus with the new enhanced eBooks hitting the market we not only get to pay less for the book, but we also get additional content which is pretty full of win in our books. While most eBooks are not as cheap as used paperbacks, there are also tons of free books out there and almost all of the print classics that we were paying a few dollars for are free eBooks.
5. eBooks can't be used for interior design.
While we cannot argue against the beauty of a well stocked bookshelf we have to agree with commenters on the Wired piece that eBooks allow for a more careful print book selection. By buying print books for their content and their aesthetic possibilities we are more able to curate exactly how our shelves look instead of simply buying every print book that we want read. While we love books we know that some books are titles that we will cherish and re-read and others are ones that will only be read once. A book that we want to re-read, gaze at its spine on our shelf and pass down to our children is something we will buy in print today, in a decade, who knows?
A Love of Reading Regardless of Format
We'd also like to add that another reason why we love reading eBooks is the built-in dictionary and we think that this is a boon for literacy. How many times have you read a book and wondered at the definition but were too focused to get up and find a dictionary? Having the definition of a word built right into the reading experience is a great thing and we know that in our lives it has led to more accurate pronunciation and word definition.
Since eReaders have entered our lives we read a lot more and we have returned to borrowing from the public library. We were always challenged of finding a way to visit the library during the hours they were open and struggled to return titles on time. Borrowing eBooks from the library is a great fit for us as we can peruse the available titles at our leisure and the returns are done automatically.
We are also mutli-tasking readers and very rarely are ever reading only one book to completion. Having an eReader is perfect for this because regardless of which reading mood strikes us there is always a book handy. Because our devices are generally always with us, this means our entire currently reading library is too which makes it brilliant for unexpected queues and delays. One can never be bored when there is a book handy!
We love eBooks. We love not having to stock our luggage with books when we travel. We love always having a great book handy. We love being able to borrow from the library at all hours and we love being able to start reading desired titles in only a few taps. eBooks have increased the amount of money we spend on books which is good for authors and have increased exponentially the amount of books we read. Being the bookworms that we are we strongly believe that a love for books and an increase in reading is a good thing for humans and we see eBook technology as a great leap forward in improving literacy which is good for the world (we look forward to eBook reading devices being further democratized). Is the eBook technology perfect? No, but we do think that eBooks are "here" and they are making the world a better, more well read, place.
What do you think, are eBooks here? Why do you love or hate them?
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)