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What’s So Great About E-books?

E-Books have a lot going for them aside from saving trees and letting readers select their font size. And they can all be summed up in 3 words.

By Colleen Walsh Fong 

What’s so great about e-books? Lots! To begin with they save trees. But leaving the green factor aside, their advantages can be summed up in three words: limitless, savings, and portability. 

I loved libraries as a kid. They put excitement into my hands and allowed me to keep up with my favorite action heroes beginning with Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr, three Swedish boys who starred in an illustrated series for new readers begun in the 1930’s by Maj Lindman. The boys embarked on active adventures like sledding and swimming. Their female counterparts, Flicka, Dicka, and Ricka engaged in quieter activities like picking strawberries and baking cakes, but still caught my attention because of their international nature. 

They sparked my first interest in different peoples and cultures. Dr. Seuss’ pictures creeped me out, but he took me to crazy fantasylands and did it all in rhyme. Sublime!

We had loads of books laying about my childhood home, but being 5th down the birth-order line meant the reading options had been chosen by older siblings or my parents. So I read about Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Knute (which I pronounced with a hard and not the correct silent “K”) Rockne because my older brother, sibling #2 in the birth order, loved sports biographies. I read Karen, by Marie Lyons Kililea about the miraculous progress of a child with cerebral palsy. I found it in a Readers Digest hardcover compilation book. And I stumbled upon books about the Bobbsey Twins, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew who all solved mysteries that the adults surrounding them remained clueless about. I quickly outgrew the Bobbsey Twins and didn’t really care for the Hardy Boys. But I loved Nancy Drew. We didn’t have many Nancy Drew mysteries at home, so the library was my transport to her world.

Limits

As an adult I found my library late fees justified paperback purchases making bookstores my primary source for reading material. The books were fresh, clean, and devoid of others’ germs. Besides, you could talk in there and they sold lattes, too. I had so loved the pictures in the Maj Lindman books that I wanted to share them with my children when they were preschoolers. And although we spent hours together inside of local bookstores I was never able to find copies of those books, nor could the staff at the store’s information desk. Even the elementary school Media Specialist gave me a blank look in response to my question about what ever happened to the “boy-and-girl Swedish triplets” series although I had correctly remembered their names. So I never had the pleasure of sharing those picture books with my kids.

And when I wanted to take a few books on a trip they added a lot of volume to the increasingly smaller luggage space allotments the airlines allow.

 Portability

When the Kindle came out I defaulted to my usual hands-off-anything-electronic setting, not believing I could enjoy a book I couldn’t run my fingers over. But when friends one or more decades older than me began singing their e-readers’ praises I was embarrassed into testing the waters and bought a basic Kindle Touch for $79.00. I liked its portability, size and weight, and my ability to buy a book any time and anywhere. I didn’t like that I had to buy a lighted cover for it, though, which made it heavier than many books. And the way it lit the screen wasn’t ideal, either. But when I browsed through the available e-books on Amazon.com I was amazed. There was no title I could think of that Amazon couldn’t make available to me. Immediately. Including the Flicka, Dicka, and Ricka series! Complete with pictures.

 Savings

The Kindle books were cheaper than books in the brick and mortar stores, so I saved money on my reading habit. When I moved into an iPad for business purposes, I found its back-lit, color screen resolved all of my Kindle issues. The color pictures on covers and in books looked terrific. And I found that some books contained hyperlinks to things on the web, opening up a gigantic world of information in my little e-book file. 

Comparison-shopping between the iStore, BN.com and Amazon.com revealed that the lowest prices by far are on Amazon (no matter what they tell you in the bookstore.) And free Kindle apps are available for all electronic devices including PC’s, Macs, iPhones, Droids, and all smart phones and tablets. So I buy e-books from Amazon, but send them to my Kindle apps on my phone, iPad, and Macbook. Since Kindle lets you send a copy of your books and audio books to multiple devices I can pick up where I left off in any book no matter where I am.

All of these advantages, and two more, caused me to select the e-book format when I created and published my 3 (and growing) cookbooks. But I’ll leave that for a future post.


Featured Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

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