All of my life I’ve been a voracious reader. I practically lived in libraries and used book stores, and once I found out that I could order books shipped to my door, my wallet took a significant hit. But it was the advent of e-readers — specifically the Kindle — that revolutionized reading for me. The amount of reading I’ve done in my post-Kindle era is, year for year, at least double than before, even though I have less free time than ever before.
I continue to be so head-over-heels with the convenience of Kindle that I sit in dumbfounded silence whenever I get into a conversation with people (including my wife) about books and they go into the, “Yeah, physical books are still so much better” line. Are they really? No, they are not. Here are six reasons why I’m an e-book convert for life:
1. It’s helped me to streamline my physical library
When I lived alone, I had well over four bookshelves stuffed with my collection, and that wasn’t even counting those left in boxes. Then I got married to another reader, whose collection doubled mine, and our house simply couldn’t hold enough bookshelves after a while. Seriously, it got way out of control, especially when we found out that our local library had a “$5 for as many books as you can stuff in this bag” promo for their used bookstore addition.
Nowadays, we have ONE bookshelf that holds books, and half of that are kids storybooks and the other half are my wife’s. I’ve long since packed up all of the physical books that I want to keep for some reason or another and then got rid of the bookshelves cluttering our living room. Yes, I’ve had to re-buy some of my books on Kindle, but I’m more than okay with that, especially when I find them on sale.
2. It is always on me in one form or another
I can’t tell you just how much of a blessing it is that I’m never apart from my reading library. I keep my Kindle on my desk for daily reading, but also have access to it with my phone and tablet — and it all syncs up between the three. That means that whether I’m lying down to sleep, standing in line waiting for my kids to get done with school, or have a few minutes here and there, the option to read is always present.
Long gone are the days when I had to tote around a book on the chance that I’d need a diversion. As a plus, reading on my iPhone makes me look like any other person who’s fiddling about with their smartphone, so I sidestep weird looks that opening up a physical novel in public would sometimes get me.
3. Physical books are a pain in the butt to handle
I do love the smell of books and the texture of the pages and whatnot, but let’s be honest: Books have never been ergonomic in the least. Either they’re small paperbacks that require constant finger strength to keep open (or tie up both hands), or bigger books that are wearying to hold.
For Christmas, I got a 775-page book on graphic adventures that now haunts my bathroom (toilet reading!). And while it’s an interesting subject, the book itself is so cumbersome to use, especially when I’m toward the beginning or end of the tome. My Kindle, on the other hand, is so light and portable and contains no danger of paper cuts that I hardly notice its weight when using it.
4. I can organize my to-read collection
My old to-read system was to dedicate a few shelves of a specific bookshelf to titles I had yet to read. My new one is to tag an e-book as part of my To Read list and not worry about it any more.
This is actually a huge boon when I don’t finish a book (for various reasons) but do want to revisit it and come back later on. I used to feel very guilty about this with physical books, but with e-books I can rest assured that the master list won’t let it fall into oblivion.
5. I can get new books anywhere, any time
I suppose that part of our culture now is entertainment on demand, and so books have joined that. We don’t have to go out shopping for them or wait a couple of days for a parcel to arrive; we can just flip through a list, make a selection, and watch in seconds as a book is downloaded to a device. I get a little thrill out of seeing a book downloaded, I have to say. Love that zippy progress bar.
On a recent trip I was a little worried that I might run out of things to read, which I then realized was kind of silly since if that even happened, getting more wouldn’t be an issue.
6. So. Many. Free. Books.
Even when I’ve run out of spending allowance for the month, I’m never lacking more options to read. Amazon has so many options to get free books, starting with the fact that you can simply search for free novels in each category (and some of these are actually former full-price titles that are made free to suck people into a series). Then there’s the lender’s program and the Amazon Prime one-free-book-a-month thing. And I haven’t even tapped into the public library system, which also is radically transforming to make e-books widely available to “borrow.”