Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Why I love eBooks

Armed with a good eReader that have weeks of battery life and a nice chunk of internal memory, it is possible to load thousands of books on this light-weight device and have your own library wherever you choose to go for the holidays. Admittedly there are a few disadvantages when compared with the traditional printed book. It doesn't feel or smell like a real book and you probably won't be able to swat an intruding insect with it. If you are struggling to get the fire going or there is a pressing bodily emergency, the blank pages can't be used to stroke the fire or any other personal needs. Therefore with a wife that is good at making fires and a little bit of planning, you might never need a conventional printed book again. Anyway after six weeks you grow to like the feel and smell of your eReader as much as most other books, especially if you look at the convenience and the amount of money that you save.

Just being able to pack a library with thousands of your favourite books in your carry-on luggage is a huge advantage. With a bit of planning you can have hundreds of books in each of your favourite categories to choose from. At last the luxury of choice for the "financially challanged". Whatever your mood, you are sure to have a book to tickle your fancy. If you are close enough to civilization to have some internet access, you can search for even more titles or authors to choose from. Just over a hundred years ago my great-grandparents had only three books to choose from: The Bible, Psalm-book and a school-book called "Trap der Jeugt", all written in Dutch because my language (Afrikaans) was still developing to become one. Look at our choices now.

The prices of eBooks are so cheap that one can easily afford to download this customized library at a fraction of the cost of its printed equivalent. Most of these books allow you to read a substantial percentage of the book for free, in the comfort of your own space, and then make the decision to buy or not. Many of the new indie authors give away their books for free in order to be read and those with a deeper back-list make one of the books free to connect with new readers. Therefore if you are on a tight budget, just be a little more adventurous and sample some of the thousands of new titles that are offered for free or greatly discounted.

Search capabilities make it so much easier to search for books that might interest you specifically. On the Smashwords site, where they boast that they have published 3,721 million words already, you find some handy filters at the top: Free ebooks , Best Sellers , New Releases etc etc. There is also a "search block" where you can type in what you are interested in. The first time I typed "Afrikaans" (the language that I speak) into the block only two titles came up Marionette Meester , and my mother's book: Gees van die Labrador. When I did the same now, twenty titles came up of books written in Afrikaans. I love history, especially "Ancient African History" but when I type that in, it gives me six titles of which only two are of interest to me. In that case it could be better to relax the search to only "African History" and then search through all 86 different books for the ones that interest me.

Talking about "search", how often does it happen to you that you look for specific words or phrases. This is almost impossible to do in traditional books unless you have a photographic memory, yet in eBooks it is again as easy as typing in what you are looking for and hitting the enter button. Imagine paging through the Bible and looking for the word "giant", this could take a long time and in the end you can still not be sure that you didn't perhaps miss an occurrence of the word somewhere. With my eBible, I just typed in "giant" and seconds later it lists all the occurrences of "giant" in all the books of the Bible. What is more it also makes you aware of any other words that contain "giant" as part of the word like giants.

Isn't this fantastic! The luxury of your own customized library in a light-weight mobile device at an affordable price? Add to this the convenience of search technology and you start feeling like a wizard of the electronic realm with the words and knowledge of the ages at your fingertips. Keep on dreaming.

1 comment:

  1. As a rare blood courier, my Kindle has been a great aid as I sometimes wait for long minutes for a rare blood hand-off. It is great, too, for I live in Hurricane Country -- to be able to have my library to stash in my suitcase as I flee damaging winds is a great help. May your blog take off like a skyrocket in 2012, Roland


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