My friends and family know me as an avid reader. Years ago when I was little, I used to never travel anywhere without a duffle bag full of books. More often than not, that bag would be bursting at the seams. When I went off to college in 2003 it pained me to have to leave some of my books behind as my dorm room couldn’t hold them all. After college I became acquainted with the e-reader. It seemed like the answer to my prayers. In a small little handheld device, I could take a virtual library with me on the go. While I admit I was smitten with the e-reader and not having to carry a duffel bag that’s about to burst, the printed physical book still held a great attraction for me. I have been asked before about why do I own an e-reader ( I’m on my third) and why do I still buy physical books. My answer is simple. Each has its own advantages to me that are discussed below.
When it comes to a physical book, multiple factors keep me buying them. For starters, some books are only available as a physical copy. An example of this would be Michael Palmers novel The War That Never Was. It is one of my favorite books and despite my efforts, I can’t locate an e-book of it. The other reason I love printed books is that I enjoy holding an actual book in my hand. When it comes to reading there is nothing I enjoy more than the feel of turning the pages inside a book. To me it’s as if I’m forging a relationship with the book. Usually I will buy a physical book if it’s a topic I’m very fond of. More often than not, the book will be dealing with LGBT rights or discussing sexuality.
While I’m enamored of a physical book, e-books also present their own advantages to me. One of the key reasons I love e-books is that it exposes me to a wider selection of books. Amazons e-book store is second to none in my opinion. I can find practically every e-book in the world there. I have found this availability especially handy if I am reading a series of books and instantly want to move on to the next book in the series. I don’t generally have to worry if the book is out of print or out of stock. The near instant availability lets me press a button on my phone, reader or computer gets the e-book to me in under a minute. Another thing I have noted is that more often than not an e-book is cheaper than a physical copy. That is a huge factor to those of us who need to make every dollar count. Usually for the most part, most e-books I purchase have to do with Science Fiction, Alternate History or general fiction. For example, the Star Wars Novels Thrawn and Battlefront II Inferno Squad are some of my most recent e-book purchases. I will buy non fiction books if the price difference is to great or one catches me in an impulsive shopping mode. For example I had been bitten by the film noir bug so I made a snap decision to purchase a book that discussed film noir in depth.
Each format does something for me and both have shown me that they co-exist in my world. E-books let me take my collection on the go at a good price, while printed books give me that satisfaction of holding a book about a personally meaningful topic in my hands. I am proud to support both formats in the name of reading.