E-Books: Friend or Foe?

I’ve spent the last few summers working in a bookstore café, and, normally, I love my job. But last winter, we launched our new eReader device. Luckily, I worked in the café, so I didn’t have to deal too much with trying to sell them, but I would occasionally get customers who had questions about it.

Personally, I like having an actual, physical book in front of me that I can highlight, put post-its in, and actually turn the pages of, so if it hadn’t been for my job this summer, I never would’ve even considered getting an eReader. But since part of my job was to tell people about it, I learned a little bit about it, played around with it a few times, and I can definitely see the benefits of it.

I live in a small apartment, so most of my books that I don’t use for school spend their time packed up in boxes at my parents’ house. With an eReader, I could have all those with me with only taking up the space of one small novel. E-books are also great for people who travel a lot, and many of them even have an “airplane mode” so you can use it while flying. On a long flight, I could easily read any of my favorite books without worrying about bumping elbows with my neighbor while trying to turn pages or get out a new book.



As a student, I often have time to kill between some of my classes that I want to spend just relaxing for 45 minutes and not worrying about homework. But when I’m already lugging 2 textbooks, a laptop, and a couple binders around in my backpack, the last thing I want to do is add a book to read for fun, especially if I own it in hardback. If I were to purchase an eReader, or even just download software onto my laptop, I could buy the e-book, and read at my leisure without bringing something extra with me all the time.

So e-books and eReaders sound great, right? Not exactly. If I already own a copy of all my favorite books, why on earth would I want to pay for it again just to get the e-book? If I buy a new e-book that I really like, why should I have to pay for it again just to get a paper copy? It’s a waste of money in my opinion. While I would love the convenience of one of these gadgets, and having every book imaginable right at my fingertips, I can’t justify to myself and to my wallet the idea of paying for things twice. So unless I suddenly start spending all my time on airplanes, the only way I’ll be buying any e-books, is if they come out with some sort of discounted code for the e-book if you’ve already bought the hard copy.

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