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Why ebooks are Awesome (A Reader’s Perspective)

The first book I read in ebook format was Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers. If you’re familiar with that book, you’ll understand why it seemed fitting (and maybe just a little ironic) to purchase it for my iPad and begin reading it while sitting and having some lunch in a food court in the middle of my workday.

It took me about five pages to decide that I was enjoying the ebook experience –– it was a different tactile interaction and would take a little getting used to for someone who loved the feel of paper and the weight of a book in her hands, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. After a couple of weeks I was confident that despite being prone to migraines, reading on a screen wasn’t going to increase their frequency or tire my eyes. And after about two weeks and one minute, I had turned into a total ebook enthusiast, with the words ‘they’re amazing’ ready to fly off my tongue the second anyone stumbled onto (or perhaps was gently nudged towards) the topic of ebooks.

A lot of the credit for making the ebook reading experience as amazing as it is must go to the developers of the devices and apps we use to read them. (I generally use the iBook or Kobo app on my iPad, but have both Kobo and Kindle devices as well.) They have created truly beautiful interfaces, and regular updates of the iBook and Kobo apps in particular just make them better and better.

All of that is to say that, in my opinion, ebooks are awesome. Here are just some of the reasons I love them; feel free to send me yours:

  1. They’re books! Whether fact or fiction, they tell stories. They make you feel and think, laugh and cry. They transport you places you would never otherwise go, and open your mind to all kinds of possibilities. They’re books, and to me books always have been and always will be, pure magic.
  2. Ebooks don’t weigh a thing, which means you can literally carry a whole library with you wherever you go.  A whole library,  or at the very least, all your favorite books. Now for those of you who helpfully point out (as someone just did as he read over my shoulder) that they do weigh something because your iPad or your Kobo ‘has weight to it’, let me counter by saying that yes, the device weighs something, but the ebook doesn’t add even a gram to that. I’ve weighed it.
  3. As long as you have a wi-fi connection, everywhere is a bookstore –– your living room, your bedroom, your office. And that means a new book can be in your hands in less than a minute. I’ve timed it. This is particularly helpful when you’re reading a series and really want to know what happens next.
  4. Books that have long since been out of print or are very difficult to find in hard copy are increasingly available in ebook format. ‘Out of print’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no longer available’.
  5. The functions that allow you to highlight favorite passages and even add your own notes, which you can later locate in seconds, make people who love to be able to go back to favorite bits absolutely giddy. OK, they make me giddy. I really shouldn’t presume to speak for others.
  6. The ability to change the size of the font and the font itself means you can quite literally make the book easier to read. The font can be as large or small as you like, the font particularly easy on your eyes.
  7. Innovations like Kobo’s ‘Reading Life’, including Kobo ‘Pulse’, allow you to turn reading into a social experience, integrating seamlessly with Facebook and Twitter. This is brilliant for people who love reading groups and book clubs. And even for the more solitary reader, it’s quite a unique feeling to click on the little ‘pulse’ at the bottom of the Kobo page and find out how many other people are reading the same book you are at exactly the same time.

I have other reasons for loving ebooks –– like the fact that everywhere I go now I see more people reading than ever before. But I’ll leave it at that for now.  Happy e-reading!