Paper or eBook?

“No I will never get an eReader, eBooks are stupid and I don’t like them!”

That’s what I always said about eBooks and eReaders and I thought that would never change. I always said, that I need to feel the book in my hands and I need to be able to smell that wonderful book smell and I need the pretty covers and spines all neatly lined up on my bookshelves. That’s still all very much true, but as of three months ago I am now one of the many people on the planet Earth who own an eReader.

I thought about purchasing an eReader for a very long time. I did a lot of research, watched a lot of review videos on YouTube and tried reading with my friends’ eReaders. I even did a couple of online tests, which determine what kind of eReader suits you best. In the end I got myself a Kindle. Mostly it was a decision based on price, but I compared all available models and to me there was not much difference between them aside from the cost of course and the fact that the one I eventually chose doesn’t have a built-in backlight so I can’t read in the dark. However since I have sensitive eyes I can’t do that anyways which makes that feature obsolete. So in the end it came down to the Kindle 4 (I think) which is by far the cheapest of the lot with 49€ and I’m in love with it.

There were several reasons contributing to me getting over my prejudices towards eBooks. I read A LOT so that means I also buy A LOT of books and spend A LOT of money in doing so. The number one reason for me delving into the world of electronic reading was that eBooks are about 20% cheaper than their physical counterparts. In addition to that you can get quite a large number of books for free, since after 70 years the copyright law expires making the books public domain. That means that all the greatest classics from Dickens to Tolstoy are completely free of charge. Of course that will make you download tons of these classics, which you will probably never read. The copy of “Moby Dick” I very enthusiastically started to read still is and will probably for a very long time remain at a smashing 2%.

The second reason for buying an eReader was the weight. I always carry a book around with me wherever I go and sometimes that can make my purse pretty damn heavy. Also when I travel someplace I take quite a large amount of books on the journey with me. A good example is my summer vacation last year. I went on an InterRail trip with a friend for nearly a month and I thought it would be good idea to take five quite big books with me. By the end of the first week I wanted to chuck them all in the ocean because they made my bag so uncomfortably heavy which turned running around at various train stations across Europe trying to catch your trains into an extensive workout session. Also when I’m on a beach vacation I read like there is no tomorrow. One time I went to Greece with my family for two weeks and I took six books with me and went through them in the first week so I had to buy some more and ended up with 17 books altogether by the end of the trip, which showed on the scale at the airport and I had to pay quite a lot of money for excess baggage. Now I can simply stuff my Kindle to the brim with books and the weight will always be exactly 179 grams. No more dragging around heavy bags and no more paying for excess weight! HEAVEN!

Another reason is for me investing in an eReader is, that I have so many books already that I’m gradually running out of space and my Kindle saves me from having to buy another bookcase. I already own three bookcases, one of them being double stacked already, and I have absolutely no room for yet another one so my Kindle helps a lot with saving space.

I did however find that for me personally owing an eReader comes with a couple of disadvantages, but they are more aesthetically than practical. Yes I am one of those people who judges books by their covers. If the cover is pretty I still need to buy the physical copy just because I want to see them standing on my shelves. Also if I think that I will enjoy the book a lot I will buy the physical book instead of the eBook.

Another thing I find myself struggling with is the fact that, especially with longer books, I have no idea whatsoever how far along I am. With a physical copy I can see exactly if I’m halfway through or only a quarter of the way and how much of the book is still left. However there are no page numbers displayed on my Kindle and the progress is only shown in percentages. I recently read the “Mistborn” trilogy by Brandon Sanderson in the “bind up” format for the Kindle. Each book on its own has around 550-600 pages so all together there where over 2000 pages and even when I was reading for a couple of hours the progress was still only maybe 5%. It made getting through this massive volume quite hard for me because I felt like I made absolutely no headway and I would get quite frustrated. I feel however that this is something I will get used to, but still with such big books I prefer to read the physical copy.

An eReader makes buying books tremendously easy. You just go to the page where you buy your eBooks, select the book, click once and voila – the book is on your reader ready to be read. This for many is a great advantage but to me it is utter torture! I am what you may call a bookaholic. I buy way too many books even though I already have a pretty huge TBR pile so this feature requires me to practice some mythical thing called “self-control”, which is something that I don’t possess. When I buy books, I BUY books. I don’t just go into a bookstore and buy one book; I go in and buy at least five or more. The same applies to ordering books online. My most recent order consists of eight books. So now with my Kindle I find myself making a lot of impulse buys whilst binge watching my favourite BookTubers doing their monthly book hauls. Yes – I have a problem. Yes – I am trying to stick to my 30€ per month book-buying limit. No – so far I haven’t managed to accomplish that.

But all in all an eReader is quite a good tool for avid readers like me. Although it’s not a cheap investment, it will pay off in the long run. Also it seems like now I read even more than I already did before.

— Alina xx

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