As a child, vacations were always a semi-traumatic experience for me. It wasn’t all frolicking on the beach or seeing the sights. Sometimes my family wanted down time and down time came in the form of kicking back with a good book for a few hours before we headed out for dinner. Y’know, I’m talking in the past tense in a really sinister way, like we no longer talk or like they’re no longer here. They are. We just don’t vacation together anymore. The pains of growing up *sniffs* Anyway, these Mediterranean reading sessions made packing my suitcase somewhat difficult. How many books could I squeeze amid my clothes? More to the point, which books would I take? What was more important, sun hats or books? And if you’re wondering the answer to that question, it’s totally books. Books are extremely versatile and make the perfect face protector while held up and being read. The only thing you can read on a sun hat is ‘100% polyester’ or ‘One size’. Not exactly what you might called riveting.
But then something incredible happened. Something magical. Something…life-changing.
The e-reader was born.
Suddenly, people were blessed with the ability to take tens upon tens – man, even hundreds upon hundreds if they had the gigabytes – of books anywhere. However, once the blinding glow of heavenly light the e-readers had absorbed during their creation began to fade, people saw them differently. People began to question their existence and what it meant for the future of reading. Being the wonderful person that I am, I have decided to compile two lists detailing the pros and cons of these slimline, portable bookstores. If you’re balancing precariously on the metaphorical fence, unsure of whether to purchase one or not, perhaps a quick read of the below points will help guide you in your decision.
1. As mentioned above, they’re portable and lightweight. You wanna read Charles Dickens: Every Goddamn Book but haven’t got the car trailer, muscle or manpower to cart it around? Heeeey, no problem. Download it to your e-reader! Download Les Misérable: The Extended Edition while you’re at it. Gigabytes weigh nothing, I tell you, nothing! *cackling*
2. Your purchases are instantaneous. No waiting on the mailman or in queues at the bookstore. Perfect when reading a series!
3. You have a wide variety of books to choose from. As much as I love browsing my local bookstore, they don’t tend to stock a lot of paranormal romance which, as you’ve probably guessed, is my favored genre. The Kindle store gives me a seemingly infinite amount of titles and authors to choose from.
4. There are some really, really good deals to be found in e-book stores. Many of the classics are free and some books, especially ones that are first in a series, are either free or reeeeeeeeally cheap
5. Many e-readers have multiple functions. My Kindle has email, social media apps, games and a whole load of other things that I don’t use. It was great when I was living in Japan, though, because I downloaded Skype and was able to video chat with my family.
1. They have a battery life and can easily die mid-way through the most intense of chapters.
2. Their use calls the future of bookstores into question. In the UK, we have a store called HMV. A decade ago, it was the go to place whenever a new album or movie was released but with the dawn of online streaming and downloading, store sales plummeted and they were forced to close many of their branches. Could the same happen to our beloved bookstores?
3. It’s just not the same. You get me, right? Swiping at a cold screen simply doesn’t evoke the same sense of satisfaction that turning a page does. Plus books have that smell. You know the one I mean. Booksniffers, raise your hands *raises hand*.
4. They’re breakable. Yeah, yeah. I know. Books are too. But…if you tear a page or crack the spine, the words are still readable, right? Good luck reading from an e-reader with a cracked screen.
5. Your bookshelves look incredibly sad and empty without a hefty collection of paperbacks. I bought many of my favorite e-books in paperback form when I returned to the UK and I love watching my book collection continually grow. When I get my own place, I want to have a spare room that I can fill with shelves upon shelves of books. If my books existed solely on my Kindle, I’d have to, like, turn that room into a gym or something *shudders*
Do you have an e-reader? Feel free to share your thoughts on the matter!