The number one reason I’ve found that people love kindle or nook or and ipad or iphone to read books, is how much easier a e-reader is to travel with, instead of individual titles heaped in a bag or loaded into luggage. Especially when flying. Instead of impulse buying a paperback at an airport terminal, one is already downloaded onto a person’s kindle. Considering how tough it is to go through security these days, and how little they allow you to bring onto the plane itself, I can understand the niche a e-reader fills. Traveling with books for voracious readers is infinitely easier when 5 or 8 or 15 books are on a simple device for a vacation of laying on a beach with summer reads.
Another sound reason is lack of space. With an e-reader, walls filled with bookcases eating up valuable furniture spots are eliminated. Uncluttered areas are revealed. So many books can be loaded onto a device, it’s doubtful any physical book need to be in a reader’s possession, unless there is no e-book for a specific title. I’ve no idea how many books are not able to be converted into digital words on a white screen, but I would think there are enough to keep an average individual in reading material for their entire lifetimes, even if only just born.
There are a couple of problems not yet resolved by the digital age. One is a digital gift. I have seen several titles I know a good friend would love reading, but I will not buy any as a printed page because I know she doesn’t want to store them. The more physical books, the less space in a small condo there is for an almost retired couple. But from what I’ve been able to discern, there is not yet an option to buy a specific title to download, for someone else. Yes, you can send a gift certificate, but that is too impersonal for some, including me. I prefer to show my friend I have her tastes in mind when I select a gift. Another, lending a used book. In physical form a used paperback could be handed off to dozens of friends, left at a library for resale, put out during a garage sale, or placed in a mini library outside a business or home, for some one to pick up and replace with another title. With an e-reader, this is not possible. The book stays where it is, it is not transferrable. A deliberate move on the part of such monopolies as Amazon. This eliminates sharing, an anti capitalist practice. I have heard rumors that Amazon intends to allow resale of old e-books, but this is still only available through another source–it will need to be bought via Amazon, and again, is not transferrable. And what would constitute ‘used’ in digital terms? It’s not as if a digital file will become worn out, would it? No pages will be lost, binding never cracked, paper will not yellow. What would qualify it as used, and how much will a used copy be sold for? These are all questions I’m sure those who love e-readers will eventually learn as the fairly recent technology progresses.