Fortnight Friday’s Favourite Five (or FFFF) is a new column that I’m starting that…well…it’s all in the name, ain’t it? Every two weeks, I’ll have a post up on Friday that lists my five favourite things of any subject/topic. So, without any further ado, here’s my very first FFFF, on a topic very close to my heart.
The Kindle vs. real books debate has gone on ever since the first e-readers came out a gazillion years ago and still rages fiercely. I’m of the view that ebooks and actual books both have their pros and cons and that a reader should focus on reading whatever format he/she prefers and not judge others/be judged by others. I myself have gone for a Kindle, as I’ve mentioned before. Why?*
(*for this review, I’ll be talking about the Kindle, the Paperwhite specifically, but I think my reasons extend to almost all e-ink ebook readers)
This is the first and definitely foremost reason I’ve gone for a Kindle. Unlike tombstone-calibre tomes (tomestones?) that are unfortunately de rigueur in the genres I favour the most, the Kindle is light, thin and so much more portable. For someone who leaves the house carrying practically a whole bathtub, never mind the kitchen sink, anything that can reduce the strain on my frail shoulders is a godsend.
Plus, it’s so much easier to get books in the comfort of my home immediately rather than having to head out to the bookstore the next day (and that’s provided said bookstore even carries what I want).
2. 534098543091234 books, one device
Jo Walton articulates this better than I ever will so take a look at how having an ereader has changed her reading life. Just like what she mentions (and as a sorta’ extension of my first point), I love that I can hold more books in my Kindle than my local library. Granted, I have an alarmingly glacial reading pace and will never be able to finish most of it anyway but,
Hoarder Collector that I am, it’s also nice to know that I have all the titles I want to read in that one device.
Plus, although this doesn’t happen often, it’s great for those occasions when I’m on the go and either finish a book or decide that it’s not worth my time and want to switch to a new one straight away.
3. Ebooks don’t die
Like many other readers, I love the smell of a new book and that awesome feeling when a paperback I’ve been searching for finally lands in my hands. Unlike many readers, however, what I don’t love is the fact that books get dusty, yellow, mouldy (if left anywhere near moisture. On a planet that’s like 98% water or something), and crummy. Germaphobe that I am, I am loathe to get anywhere near any book that has Had Its Time in the Sun, especially library books which, let’s face it, are just prettier petri dishes for microthingies most commonly found in the bowels (sometimes literally) of society. If my Kindle gets dirty, on the other hand, a quick wipe with a wet wipe (i.e. moisture!) fixes that.
On a related note, unlike books that will eventually crum themselves out of existence, ebooks enjoy much more longevity, being digital and all. Plus, unromantic as this sounds, ebooks don’t get cracked spines or dog ears (which I cannot stand)!
4. Space – my final frontier
One of my biggest problems with being a huge bookworm is finding space to house all the books I’ve accumulated over the years, especially with the space constraints we face staying in tiny little Singapore. Having so many books on an ereader eliminates the need for a hoarding space (and frees up my cupboards for other stuff…like my gadgets).
Plus, even if I don’t get to most of those ebooks anyway, collecting virtual dust is so much better than books on my shelf collecting actual dust, dust being my personal Voldemort (which is ironic given that he-who-must-not-be-named has no nose).
5. Experiencing the reading experience
To me, reading from an e-ink screen is no different from reading an actual book (and both are so much better than eyeballing a backlit LED screen like on most tablets). I remember when I saw my first Kindle and thought that what was on the screen was some sticker that someone had placed there before I realised that that was the screen itself.
Actually, sometimes reading an ereader might even better than reading an actual book, thanks to customizable fonts (and more importantly, font sizes for the
myopic Young at Heart, Old at Eyes) and, at least in the Paperwhite, screen lights. Contrary to popular belief, the light on an ereader is not only meant to brighten the screen when there is low light but also to increase readability even if daytime conditions.
Bonus reason: privacy
This hasn’t been something all that important to me yet but it’s nice to know that should I choose to read 50 Shades of Grey one day on the bus or train, I can do it without the damning gazes of onlookers (although I guess if I am reading that, I have much larger problems to handle than social judgment).
As you can see, several of the reasons why I have chosen to go for the Kindle is because of how much more beneficial it is in a practical sense. Before I got my first Kindle, I was hesitant to the concept, like many readers were or still are, because I didn’t know if I could actually do all my reading solely from a screen.
Having had Kindles for a couple of years, however, I’ve come to realise that not only could I read perfectly fine from an ereader without it feeling like a totally different (inferior) experience, it’s actually better in so many ways. Out of all my gadgets (and I’ve had/have many), my Kindles are the most value-for-money purchases I’ve made.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that ereaders are perfect or that actual books have nothing going for them. Tune in two weeks from now to see the FFFF ways in which actual books still > ebooks. Until then, I would love to hear about your reading experience (with ereaders). Do you use them? Why/why not?