Recently on Facebook, I posted that I resisted getting a Kindle until recently because I thought I would be annoyed by reading a book on a screen, while, in fact, it is not bothering me one tiny bit. Not at all. I received several comments on the post, most of them from people who use and love their Kindle. What do you think?
Here are some reasons to love an eReader:
1. Saves paper. Last year 1.45 million tons of paper were used to print books. That's 25 million trees. If we want to save the paper book industry, we need to do better than this, by utilizing recycled paper more for book printing.
2. Books cost a lot less when they're digital.
3. A new book comes out? You get it in 60 seconds. No waiting.
4. There are some good places to download free books. Most classics are available to download for free. Most top ten bestsellers are not.
5. I am running out of space on my book shelves... need to buy more shelves, get rid of books (nooo!!!!) or buy more digitally.
6. With an eReader, no one but me can tell when I am reading smut... silly addictions!
7. Accessibility features: lighter weight than a book, a read-to-me audio option and choice of text size.
8. Free book samples. I love this. I almost always download the sample first chapters to see if I can get into a book or not. You can't do that at the bookstore.
Here are some reasons to not like eReaders:
1. No sharing. I immediately wrote to Amazon (an received an immediate reply) asking them to please consider having a "Kindle Share Network" - for a person to be networked with their friends and family, who also own Kindles, to be able to share their favorite book purchases - just like we do with physical books. So far, Amazon is not considering it, but I think it would be great to rally them to consider opening up a "Share Network".
2. You can't "borrow" books like you can a library.
3. I love bookstores... hate to think that more people purchasing digital books means a future with fewer bookstores. Sad...
4. Not all that green. Yup, you save trees, paper and gasoline it takes to ship and shop. But with the materials, manufacturing, and the shipping on an eReader, it takes about 50 - 100 books to ecologically "break-even". (Being the book-a-holic that I am this can be done in about a year. )
5. Recycling an eReader runs into the same problems as recycling a computer - the toxic effects of this type of e-waste have been well documented and quite scary.
For now, I will be a fan of both, but I am wondering how I will feel in about 5 years. Will my Kindle be obsolete? Or will I be back to paper books? What will my nightstand (which now has a 12 inch pile of books) look like in 2015? What will your's look like?
Ana Lewis, founder of WomenontheVerge.net and CEO of Co-Op Web, Inc.