For the last several months, I’ve been considering getting an e-reader (read: Kindle) or tablet (read: iPad + Kindle app). My reasons are really quite practical:
- I have an insane amount of books to keep in a tiny house; and
- When I travel, I like to have options, but maybe don’t want to bring a ton of extra material with me.
As part of trying to see whether or not I’d actually like reading from one of these devices I’ve spent some time trying out reading using the Kindle app on my phone and laptop. In an effort to process my thoughts on it, I’ve made a pros and cons list:
Pros of E-Reading
- Easy storage. You can fit thousands of books on a Kindle or on your laptop, where with traditional books you’re limited to your shelf space (and home size). This is a big deal when you don’t want your house to look cluttered.
- Accessibility. I can access my Kindle library literally anywhere thanks to my handy-dandy app. This makes travel a lot easier.
- Affordability. Kindle books are (normally) just plain cheaper than printed books. This is important if you’re a big reader with a small (or nonexistent) book budget.
- Easy quoting. Because highlights are available online, it makes it a lot easier to pull a quote from a book for a
Cons of E-Reading
- Overconsumption. This is probably the biggest con of e-reading. I’ve found that unless I really force myself to slow down, I end up skimming through a book in my app; consuming information rather than engaging content. This is a huge problem when you need to actually focus on what you’re reading.
- Distraction. Perhaps it’s because I’m not using a dedicated device, but it is far too easy for me to get distracted while reading using an app. I keep finding myself going and farting around on Facebook, reading a blog or checking my email.
- Eye strain. Again, this is likely because I’m not using a dedicated device, but reading a screen for a long period of time really hurts the eyes.
- Sensory appeal. There’s just something really nice about having a real book in your hands, to feel the paper and be able to make notes in the margins.
- Review copies don’t come digitally. Publishers tend to not send review copies in digital formats (though there are a few exceptions). This is a big hindrance to me as it means my house will continue to fill up with giant piles of books no matter what I do!
These are the pros and cons that I’ve noticed so far. I’m still not ruling out getting a device of some sort, but I’m not 100% certain that I should, either. Do any of you use an e-reader or tablet for your reading? What’s your experience been like? Any advice you’d give to someone considering it?