I Heart Digital

So we talked here about what digital books are not.  Now I want to tell you about how I fell in love with e-books (and it wasn’t just because I sold an e-book to Carina Press).

While I would never presume to call eReaders superior to printed books…because really, there’s nothing like the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink, and the pure tactile joy of holding a real book in your hands…there are some advantages to reading digital books on an e-reader.

Here are my top 3 reasons for giving my Sony eReader a big chunk of my reading love:

1) E-readers are perfect for avid readers. As my friend Manon Clarke pointed out in her comment on my last post, e-readers are perfect for the avid reader.  Read a book a day? Setting off for what you know will likely be an endless wait at the DMV with only 20 pages left of your current book-in-progress? Trying to pack a suitcase for a trip that isn’t going to put you over the ever-shrinking airline weight limit?  All of these are really great reasons to have an e-reader!  Instead of filling your purse, carry-on bag, or backpack with a mini-library, an e-reader allows you to carry a practically limitless bookshelf with you everywhere you go for just about the size/weight of one book.

2) E-book publishers take more chances, giving readers a better selection of books to read. Without going into a huge amount of detail about how the publishing industry works, suffice it to say that the cost of printing books can be so prohibitive that publishers have to be super-selective about what they buy.  This means that editors often fall completely in love with books that cross their desks…and still can’t buy them. The marketing department might not know what to do with a historical romance set among Hohokam Indians in the 1500’s, so they turn down an otherwise fabulous book in favor of a maybe not as fabulous book that they know how to market and sell.

But e-books are less expensive to publish, thus publishers can take more chances, publishing books that would probably never have found their audience otherwise. The “motto” of Carina Press, my publisher for The Kiss Test, is “Where No Great Story Goes Untold.”  This works to the advantage of readers everywhere!  With an e-reader (or your computer or iPhone, etc.), you have access to books you won’t find on the shelf at Borders or B&N…books that may very well become your favorites, that you will read over and over again (and which will NEVER wear out or fall apart at the spine, because they are digital!).

3) There’s something so ec0-friendly about an e-book. I’m not what you’d call fanatical about recycling or preventing global warming.  But I once drove past the back of a bookstore that actually had behind it an enormous dumpster full of discarded books.  A DUMPSTER! I was nearly sick. This is probably far more common than what is visible to the public. Did you know that bookstores regularly pull books that aren’t selling from their shelves to make room for more that might sell better? They return these books to the publishers for credit…or rather, they return the covers.  That’s right. They strip the covers off, returning just those to the publisher for credit, discarding the rest of a perfectly good, brand new book. (Granted, they may be recycling said books, but still…the waste is enormous!)

I read a lot and I can’t keep every book I ever read…I just don’t have the shelf space.  Sometimes I pass the books along to friends or relatives (an advantage to printed books), but often what I read isn’t on the preferred reading list of anyone else I know.  And then I’m stuck.  I can donate the books…but truthfully I’ve been turned down by libraries even, who don’t have shelf space for every book anyone might want to donate to them.

[Oh, and that’s another thing!  My Sony eReader? Allows me to borrow library books on it! That is such a sweet deal, it turned me firmly away from the Kindle, Nook, etc., which don’t have that advantage. How eco-friendly is THAT?]

With e-books, I don’t have to worry about what to do with the books I read and can’t keep!  I can keep on my “virtual” keeper shelf far more books than I ever could at home and have my favorites available at the touch of a button anytime I wish.  It may not seem like a big deal, but by reading e-books I’m doing just a little bit to support the environment.  So, read an e-book, save a tree!

I’m pretty sure if I wanted to write a book here about the advantages of e-readers, I could find plenty more reasons they’re a fantastic way to read…but I’ll leave it here.

Have I convinced anyone to give them a try yet?  I hope so!