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E-readers: The Pros and the Perils

I love books. The feel of them, scanning row after row of bookshelves to find that one that calls out to you, even the inconvenient ways you manage to keep them propped open to read (admit it, who else has used their boobs for this?) So when Mexador’s mom got me a Kindle for Christmas a few years ago, I thought “Okay?” And I didn’t use it much. That changed once I started going on my research cruises.

1. Vacations and traveling. I go through books very quickly and in the past, I’ve had to pack 4 or more books to be away for any amount of time. Now all I need is a little tablet? And a cord? Awesome. Especially when I’m out on surveys, which is 8-12 hour shifts of brief periods of activity followed by a half hour to an hour and a half break. Similarly, my brother had some work at a remote outpost where he could only take what would fit in his luggage, there were certainly no bookstores (let alone stores of any kind), and mail was unreliable and could take weeks to arrive. But he did have WiFi! He downloaded and read so many books over the months there that he got sick of reading. Which is like getting sick of chocolate. Or puppies.

2. Book accessibility. Many of the classics you always say you’ll read and never do are free! I’m somewhere into The Mayor of Casterbridge and random tales of seafaring are always fun. And in discovering that my library is part of Overdrive, I could borrow six ebooks at a time. There are still waiting lists, but I put myself on a list and suddenly, there’s The Martian! Or Outlander! I read the whole series this summer because I could borrow an ebook of all the novels but the latest. So I borrowed it and although you only have it for two weeks, if you turn your WiFI off, your reader never gets told that the lend is up and the book never disappears (PROTIP handy for, say, having two weeks to read six hefty books (and going back to reread all the really good parts)). This led to me reading my Kindle not just on car rides and vacations, but in bed, on the couch, on lunch breaks.


3. Cheap books. The books really are often cheaper. I’ll try out new series this way, so I don’t waste money, bookshelf space, or paper on something I’m not crazy about.

4. Customize your reading experience. I find I really do like being able to play with my font size and line spacing to get the optimal page. On the more advanced E-reader tablets, you can even change the page and font color. I don’t have this on my E-ink Kindle, but I’d love to. This kind of accessibility is what I focus on for recommending these to people for their older relatives grumbling about not being able to find a book in Large Print.

5. There was a lot of page space given to the notion that E-readers grew popular with the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey. After all, if someone sees you on a Kindle, you could just as easily be reading a science textbook as hardcore BDSM porn. Is there anything more than coincidence to this idea? Who knows. But really, you can read Sex Slave Training 3 with no one the wiser.

Except the person you ask to set up your new device. And that awkward moment of my workday is what brought you this post.

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