It’s been years since I bought a hardback or paperback novel. Almost one hundred percent of the books I read are in e-book form for the following reasons. I thought this topic would make for an interesting post and possible jumping off point for a group discussion.
It’s pretty difficult to keep physical books in pristine condition.
Wet pages can easily provide a nice home for mould or mildew to grow. Even a mildly damp environment can give books a musty smell after a while if no one notices and dries them out in time.
Being stored in a dusty place affects books, too, even if they’re eventually brushed off.
It’s hard to completely prevent these things from happening, especially in humid climates or in houses that are difficult to keep dry and clean for other reasons.
Since I’ve been an avid patron of public libraries since childhood, this is something that has cropped up for me even more often than it might have if I bought everything I read. The idea of many people using the same book instead of everyone buying their own copy and maybe only reading it once appeals to me from both an environmental and minimalist perspective.
But there were multiple times when I reach the top of a huge waitlist for a title only to realize that the book the library sent to me was dusty, musty, beginning to mould, or otherwise was going to be an allergy issue for me.
E-books never have this problem. That’s a big part of the reason why I switched to borrowing them instead of physical books from the library.
I’m not the sort of person who enjoys carrying around a purse, backpack, or bag. Most of the time, I try to leave home with only the items I can fit into my pockets.
There are very few books out there that will fit into a standard-sized pocket…especially since I’m a woman and nearly always buy my clothes in the women’s section of the store where designers have yet to realize that pockets can be practical instead of merely decorative. (But that is a rant for another day).
While I could technically carry around a few physical books, it’s so much nicer to have free hands and not have to keep track of anything extra when I’m out and about. This isn’t even to mention the fact that my cellphone can hold countless e-books without weighing any more than it would if I only had one or two of them downloaded onto it.
I find it much easier to keep track of a quote I want to save from a specific page when I read that story in electronic form.
When I was in college, I had a professor who spent a big chunk of our first day in class that semester talking about the importance of looking up unfamiliar terms instead of guessing their meanings.
Some of my previous teachers had encouraged us to infer the meaning based on context clues, so I’d slid into the habit of guessing what a word meant instead of being certain.
That professor changed this habit of mine for good. Even though I haven’t been her student for years, I still insist on looking up any word whose meaning I’m not 100% certain of.
My e-reader can do all of these things with a swipe of a finger. There is no pen or piece of paper required to take note of something I’ll want to remember for the future or look up a word I need a definition for.
When you add in the portability and lack of allergens factors, I can’t imagine reading books in any other way.
What format for books do you prefer? Why?