We've had access to ebooks for years, but it's only this year that we started reading a lot more ebooks. The reasons behind this are mostly practical. Ebooks are a lot cheaper and since we live overseas (Taiwan), we have a limited amount of space to stash our books, especially since we plan on coming home with all of them at some point (we have between 100-150 books here, 750 or more back home). 1. Laptops: All of our ebooks are read on a MacBook Pro 17. While this isn't the ideal solution, it's one that works fine for the moment. We also have all of our course books in ebook format, so lugging around a big laptop can be problematic, but we use a technical backpack (Gregory Z55) to lighten the load. When you start reading a lot of ebooks, you'll find that if you keep the brightness high, you'll develop eyestrain. You get tired quicker. We keep the brightness at the lowest setting when we settle down for a read. 2. Apps: There are a lot of apps for reading ebooks on your laptop, but we use two main ones: Stanza and Acrobat Reader. With these two apps, you'll be able to read 99% of the ebooks around. Stanza is able to read .mobi and .epub files while Acrobat takes care of the .pdf files. Both apps allow for fullscreen reading mode, which is the way we prefer to read. Stanza isn't perfect. We've had some problems with the bookmark feature when entering fullscreen mode. You'll have to scroll around to get to the right spot. It's no biggie, but it can get annoying. Still, both of these apps are free, so you can't complain too much about that! The Amazon Kindle app is also quite interesting since you can download a lot of free books.
3. Space: We love having a to-read pile of books. It's something that we look forward too. When you read a lot of ebooks, you end up saving a lot of space. Granted, we still prefer real books compared to ebooks, but the amount of shelving space that we save is significant (we read about 1 to 4 books a week). 4. Cost: Ebooks are a lot cheaper, and you can find many that are free. When you are used to spending between $100 to $200 a month on books, especially when you order new hardcover releases, you end up saving a lot of money. Most of the classics are free, which is really cool for bibliophiles. 5. Convenient: Ebooks are also extremely convenient. We no longer have to wait to receive a book on order, we get it immediately, sometimes even a few days in advance. The amount of ebooks that you can carry around on a hard drive is also significant. Some course books are actually heavier than laptops, so lugging around one device for all books makes sense. MORE Getting Technical with Back to School Backpacks Turn Down Brightness When Working on Multiple Screens (Images: Flickr member Indivisualist licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Malloreigh licensed for use under Creative Commons and Flickr member Carlos Fenollosa licensed for use under Creative Commons)