When you’re being held down by the pandemic, you’d be surprised at how many things you can discover both online and when you look around the four corners of your room.
For bookworms and avid readers, we seem to have all the time in the world to go through our ‘to-be-read’ (TBR) pile aside from the readings required for online classes. A good fiction and a cup of coffee is perhaps one of the best ways to explore different worlds while simply sitting down and letting the mind do away with imagination.
However, for readers who could devour a novel within days as well as those who do not have enough hardbound reading materials at home, electronic books (e-books) became a fortunate addition to a technological world where everything can be done with a press of a button. There are a lot of e-book applications which allows users to download various titles to read in the comfort of their smartphones or tablets. The Kindle models by Amazon is one such example of a gadget specifically catering to online reading.
Still, there are advantages and disadvantages which goes with using ebooks. Here are some of its ups and downs:
Advantages of e-books
#1. Most books are readily available
This is easily the first and foremost advantage of using an e-book as your online library: name a book, and it’s most likely available for download.
There are specific websites for downloading the e-book format for novels you are looking for, and most of the time the ebook reader you are using will contain a feature which directs their users to some kind of search area to locate if that title is available for download. Although, there are also plenty of titles that would require users to purchase the e-book version to proceed with the download, there are samples of these books being offered for free so that readers are certain they are worthy purchasing.
Of course, books which require monetary value supports the author and is a fair trade. Otherwise, books are abundant, most especially for those who want to start on classic literature. Who knows? The book that you’ve been searching for in your local bookstore may just be lying here.
#2. There is a wide array of genre to explore
When it comes to literature, you must be open to different genres to find out your preferences, but as well as to become open towards different writing styles.
E-books may not have one specific title you are looking for, but it will surely lead you to a suggestion list of titles with similar genre or plot. More often than not, titles found online are books we’ve never heard of, but contains an interesting and/or curious story that one may pride in saying, ‘I’ve read it in an e-book!’
If you’re a bold and adventurous reader, then the ebook is not lacking with different titles to take you to different places.
#3. You’re literally holding a portable reading device
There are those who prefer bringing a hardbound book with them, but there are those who would prefer to keep all their (online) books on one device.
Whether you are using a smartphone with an e-book reader or a gadget which focuses particularly on ebooks, it’s wonderful to know that technology is making such a huge contribution to allow people an easy access to reading materials wherever they go. Once you’ve downloaded an e-book, you can use it even when you’re offline.
It comes in handy most especially when you will go on a vacation and you don’t want to travel with a heavy, bulky book with you. Then again, it’s a preference. Some would prefer to bring hardbound, but as well as have some titles in their e-book reader just to switch from time to time.
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Disadvantages of e-books
#1. It might affect your visual health
Not that reading from actual books (for hours and with bad lighting, most especially) wouldn’t contribute to poor eyesight, but staring at the screen may cause not only a trouble for the eyes, but as well as prone to headaches.
Again, just like watching television or playing video games, exercise a limit and precautions when using e-books. Your e-book reader may have adjustable settings on how the texts may appear—larger or smaller—as well as font options where it wouldn’t irritate readers’ eyes. There may even be an option, depending on your e-book reader, where you can choose the color of the pages (black or white) depending on which background you prefer to read.
The takeaway on the disadvantage here is the limited screen time. Do not force yourself to continue reading if your eyes and/or head is already aching. This goes even for those who prefer reading hardbound copies. One cannot enjoy a good story without eyes to see and a head with which to take in the plot.
#2. It is prone to disruptions and possible cybercrimes
You’re in the middle of an exhilarating scene in your journey, but suddenly that ‘low battery’ warning pops up. Now, you’ve got to fumble for your charger just to keep your device going, but is the momentum for the scene still there?
Another case is the fact our gadgets are fragile. Sure, you can protect it with casings and tempered glass, but what of system damage? Again, even e-books require readers to be careful when browsing through titles, or when giving information in exchange for a download. These days we can never be too sure if even something as humble and simplistic as the e-book technology are filled with cyber criminals waiting for a user to download a specific e-book to gain access to their device.
Always exercise safety even when you think you’re just ‘here to read’. Be careful when downloading titles from suspicious websites, especially to those who seem to be producing e-book titles illegally.
#3. It’s not just the real thing
Here’s the dispute when it comes to e-books: it’s not the real thing! By that, we mean it’s not the usual hardbound or paperback novel where you can smell the aroma of paper, place a bookmark in between pages, nor smile with pride at your mini-library at home.
Despite the e-book becoming a popular means of reading—not just as a past time, but even for research or educational purposes—there are just some of us who feel uncomfortable with reading the ‘traditional way’; that is, through concrete books. Of course, nothing can replace printed copies, but we have to admit that e-books does have their advantages.
May it be reading via e-book or through hardbound, all the stories you discover means a lot to its writer and takes you to excursions even in the comfort of your home.
Be aware of e-book piracy
Having learned some advantages and disadvantages of e-books, you may consider downloading the free readers on your application. However, please be aware of piracy.
Simply put, these are people who are claiming to ‘sell’ e-book titles for certain amounts, or those who freely share illegal copies of e-books—some which are not yet publicly released by the author nor have been licensed to be published online. While it’s enjoyable to be able to find thousands of free titles available for download, one must be aware that even e-books need to be treated with respect and awareness.
Think of it as a movie being aired today in our cinemas only for you to overhear someone saying, ‘I’ll just download/torrent the movie on my computer and watch it from there’. Not only are we refusing to give the producers—for e-book’s case, writers—their due, but we are also spreading illegal trade and encouraging websites or sellers to continue with their ‘business’.
Just like any online activity we discover during the duration of this pandemic; e-books are also a perfect past time to spend whether alone or with the family. It’s all about finding the right story that will fit your mood for the day, or perhaps trying out an e-book title that strikes your curiosity.
E-books may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s not bad to try what it has to offer. Who knows? It may stir your passion into reading again. Remember, though, with technology involved there are always precautions that everyone should be mindful.