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World Paper Free Day: Digital vs. Paper

Written by Jenifer Chrisman on October 30, 2015.

It’s a digital world. Cell phones, tablets and computers are now the cornerstone of our lives. But there is one area still at odds for many in our electronic society...books.

Despite having made the switch to an e-reader more than five years ago, there is still a part of me that misses having a book in my hands. The woody texture, the sound of a page turning and, yes, even the scent of the paper, holds an attraction no e-reader can ever replace.

But for those who travel a lot, or move from place to place, transporting a mobile, paper library is exhausting. Any avid reader will agree, bringing only one book while traveling means either having to buy additional books or possibly running out of reading material. Either way, they add considerable weight to luggage. The longer the travel time, the more books, the more weight. You do the math. As for people who move a lot, next to furniture, boxes of books are the heaviest items to transport. I’ve dropped over one hundred pounds since making the switch while adding considerably to my collection (my digital library now includes over three hundred books).

And then there is the rare oddity of owning a dog who equates books with snacks (sad, but true). I would come home to find a mouth-sized chunk missing from my current read and not a single flutter of the missing pages anywhere.

As a reader, choosing to make the switch shouldn’t be made lightly.

I read an average of 1,500 to 2,500 pages a (work) week, so my biggest complaint is the cost of replacing old favorites. This has been offset quite a bit by, who monitors the major e-reader sellers for their best deals. Make a super-quick account (email and password), check the genres you are interested in and your e-reader preferences and you will receive a daily email of books that have been reduced from $2.99 to FREE. Or you can browse their site at your leisure. And, of course, there’s the whole “kid in a candy store” feeling I get when buying books. So I use the gift card option on my account. It’s a great way to keep temptation at bay.

On the bad habit side, more so since gaining my e-reader, I enjoy flitting from book to book as my interests wax and wane. Anyone who likes straight lines would find this beyond frustrating. For myself, I find it restful. Even when I’m reading a book I’ve never read before I still love to stop and read snippets of other books. Although possible, it is cumbersome and time consuming with paper books.

E-readers aren’t for everyone. In the long run, it may not be right for you, but it wouldn’t hurt to know if it might be to your advantage.

To all the bookworms out there, read on…

• Library back-up online.
• Unlimited number of books via Library back-up with no extra weight or physical space usage.
• E-books are generally the same price or cheaper.
• USB wire for battery charging, allowing recharge from home, office, car, etc.
• Built-in bookmarking, highlighting and notes.
• Built-in or attachable dictionary to look up words while reading.
• Built-in backlighting.*
• Adjustable font size.
• A large number of free books available.
• Bookshelves, which can be based on author, series or however you want to set them up.*
• Newspapers and magazines available on device (with Internet or Wi-Fi).
• Account sharing, allowing wider variety of reading material.
• New book purchase without leaving the comfort of home.
• Built-in storage.*
• Additional storage.*
• Internet and Wi-Fi access.*
• Gift card management through account to avoid credit card charges.

• Initial expense of buying an e-reader.
• Expense of repurchasing books, if desired.
• Purchasing a screen guard.
• Purchasing a protective cover to reduce possibility of damage, as incautious handling could damage or destroy device.
• Purchasing a warranty, if desired.
• Not all books are available. They are made available as they are reformatted or released by their authors.
• Different e-book sellers (such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble – the two largest booksellers worldwide) don’t necessarily have the same books available, so choosing one seller over another might mean some books aren’t available yet. However, if another e-reader seller offers a book but yours doesn’t, you can make a request to that seller to obtain the book. I made such a request to Barnes and Noble (Amazon had the books but B&N didn’t) and within three days both books were available to purchase.
• Not always easy to read outside in direct sunlight.*
• Credit or debit card must be entered to enable a working account, so be careful to keep track of cost of purchases (regardless of use of gift cards).

*Notes: Availability of feature depends on e-reader.

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