There’s a certain turning up of the nose that people who proclaim allegiance to paper have, as if they truly appreciate reading more than people who use a Nook, Kindle, or iPad (or any other e-reader).
Talking to friends about how much I love my e-reader, I’ve received the kind of response as if I had just said that I eat turds or my favorite movie is You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. That preferring to read on an e-reader over a physical book somehow means I like reading less or am the kind of person who would like to tear down the Louvre and put up a Walmart.
It’s time to show some e-reader pride!
1. E-books let you pack light when you’re traveling.
Pretty obvious. If you’re going on a trip where you’re going to go through more than one book, an e-reader will save you a lot of luggage space. Especially if you’re 90% done with a book and about to go on a long flight and don’t have room for two books in your carry-on.
2. You can read embarrassing books in public!
Finally, feel free to read 50 Shades of Grey without the judging eye of others!
But trashy romance novels aside, do you really ever want people to see what you’re reading in public? Books give strangers a reason to try to talk to you. Do you want to talk to strangers? Very likely not!
Some people use books as a way to flirt with strangers. I have a friend who met his wife that way, which is lovely! But not everyone wants some rando trying to chat them up when they’re just trying to read quietly in a café or on their way home. Some people just want to enjoy their book in peace and aren’t looking to be picked up.
4. What’s the big deal with liking to touch paper?
I’ve had friends tell me, “I love the feel of paper too much, I could never use a Kindle.” I guess it’s nice or something? It’s not like I hate paper or anything, I just don’t see the big deal.
I suppose there’s something nice about the physical sensation of turning a nice thick page, but I’d put that as like 1% of the total experience of reading a book. The other 99% is, you know, the actual words and content.
If the paper and covers were actually the most important thing, then we’d have the New York Review of Paper, and the reviews would be like, “Excellent paper, had a little sheen to it. Nice font. Cool color spine that will look good on your shelf. Oh yeah, the story was crap, but GREAT paperfeel. It’s a must read. A+++”
5. Instant gratification.
One supreme delight is that if you read an interesting book review or get a recommendation from a friend, you can download and start that book literally that next minute. No waiting for a package delivery or your next trip to the book store.
And with some book series, the need to read the next one IMMEDIATELY is just the same as binge-watching a show on Netflix. With an e-book, you can download and start the next one just as soon as you finish the first. Lazy? Yes. But tell that to someone in the throes of book two of The Hunger Games. You need that shit right now like a hit of crack.
6. Years of hoarding books can end up taking up a lot of space.
I’m not saying throw out all your books today and live a paper-free life. Books are great, and yes, bookshelves do look nice in a home. But years and years of reading is going to start taking up a lot of square footage in your place — space that you could be using for shoes or clothes or a framed photo of your childhood dog or board games or a set of extra wineglasses for when your friends come over. Unless you live in a palatial estate with tons of room for extra bookshelves, in which case: nice nice.
7. E-readers are sooo much better for a commute on public transit.
Reading paper books while standing on a train or subway sucks. Have you ever tried to read a thick hardcover book with one hand while standing for 40 minutes? It’s awful. First of all, it hurts your hand. Secondly, your arm gets tired.
And worst of all, when it’s time to turn a page, you have to release your grip on the pole — if the train or bus jerks at that moment, you go flying.
8. Heavy hardcover books are really unappealing if you carry them around and commute with them.
I would avoid reading hardcover books because they are too heavy to lug around in my purse all day and too unwieldy for the subway. There were times where I’d see a review of a new book that interested me, but I’d resign to wait for the paperback purely because of the tactile properties of the book.
That sucks. I ended up not getting to read things I wanted to because they were going to be physically uncomfortable to carry around and read on the subway.
9. Carrying a heavy book in your bag is killer on your shoulder.
It’s fine if you’re just taking it on your commute to work, but what if you’re planning on going out after, or just grocery shopping or doing errands? You’re stuck lugging around the equivalent of your pet rock collection on your arm all evening.
10. Carrying a big book around means you have to use a bigger bag or purse.
You know those cute small cross-body bags that are in style now? Or those notepad-sized flat clutches?
No dice with a big honkin’ hardcover in there. And literally what could be worse than having your fashion sense cramped just because you want to read a book???? LITERALLY NOTHING!
And for men, you can slip a small paperback or e-reader in a large pocket, but if you’re deep into a giant hardcover, you’re going to need to carry a bag just for that book.
11. Backlit e-readers won’t annoy your partner when you read in bed.
With a backlit e-reader, you don’t need to annoy your partner by keeping the light on longer than he or she wants. No more “are you ready to turn out the light?” if you’re not ready. Keep reading to your heart’s delight while the other person snoozes away.
There! I’ve solved all your relationship problems!
12. Amazon has tons of free weird e-books that are old enough to be out of copyright.
Want a cookbook from 1900 on how to dehydrate meat? $0.00!!! There are tons and tons of other weird freebies available on Amazon. They’re free, so you can check them out, read a few pages, and quit if it’s too weird or bad.
Pro tip: Go into a book category, then search “Price: Low to High” to get all the free ones.
13. Speaking of FREE, you rent library e-books without leaving your house.
Most libraries, including the New York public library pictured above, offer e-books. You check them out on the library’s site using your library account, then download them through Amazon.
Free books from the library, instantly, without having to put on pants! Who doesn’t like that? NO PANTS, PEOPLE, NO PANTS!
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