Do you take care of your body as well as you maintain your car? If your vehicle is vibrating or rattling when you drive over 60 miles per hour, what would you do?
In Part 1 of this two-part blog series (Audiobooks - click here), I commented on my love of books both as physical objects and fountains of reading pleasure. The advent of e-books challenged and delighted me in both areas.
What is an E-Book?
An e-book is a book in digital form that can be read on a smartphone, tablet, computer, or a dedicated e-book reading device ("e-reader"). The digital file containing the book's contents must be downloaded from the internet onto the device. Once downloaded, the content of the book can be read.
E-book file formats differ. For example, the Amazon Kindle device supports a proprietary format. To read other e-book file formats, a non-Kindle e-reader would be required or an app for a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Just like physical books, e-books can be purchased or borrowed from the library. E-books can be purchased online from multiple sources; Amazon is just one example. Typically, the purchase takes place directly from the device on which the book will be read.
Libraries loan e-books as well. To borrow an e-book, an app supported by the library (like cloudLibrary or Overdrive) must be downloaded. Check your library's website for information about borrowing e-books.
Left to Our Own Devices
As mentioned above, reading an e-book requires downloading to an electronic device. On a smartphone, tablet, or computer, an app is downloaded and installed. For example, many independent bookstores use the My Must Reads app.
As for dedicated e-readers, there are several brands. Among the most popular are:
There are advantages to using a dedicated device:
Some readers may prefer a tablet versus an e-reader despite the extra weight. An e-reader focuses on e-books alone while tablets offer more functions like internet access, e-mail, and videos.
My lifelong love affair with books made me skeptical of e-books when they first appeared. The idea of reading from a screen did not appeal to me in comparison to turning pages. Yet, I realized there were enticing aspects of e-books I wanted to explore.
E-Books – The Plus Side
E-Books – The Minus Side
E-books have a lot of advantages, but they are not perfect.
E-Books: All or Nothing?
Does the e-book revolution mean physical books are obsolete? According to Statista, e-books accounted for 19% of all U.S. book sales in 2017, but only 4% said they read e-books exclusively. Age seems to matter when it comes to e-books, however. In 2018, a survey of readers showed 34% of those in the 18-34 age range read at least one e-book in the past 12 months compared to only 15% of those age 65+.
Rather than falling into oblivion along with clay tablets and hieroglyphics, physical books and e-books are liable to co-exist for the foreseeable future. So, take the e-book plunge and while continuing to enjoy those colorful rows of physical books on your shelf.