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Should you buy an e-reader?

Should you buy an e-reader?
If you’re considering buying an e-reader, here are the benefits and drawbacks of taking your book-reading digital
Since the postman handed me a parcel containing my Kindle two years ago, my life has drastically changed. As someone who revels in literary consumption and owns a bookshelf lined to the brim with paperbacks and hardbacks, switching to an e-reader was not an easy decision. However, on that fateful day two years ago, I summoned the courage to click the purchase button after weeks of deliberation.
If you are debating investing in an e-reader, you have come to the right article. Let’s dive into the benefits and drawbacks of owning an e-reader, and hopefully, you’ll be able to decide if it’s worth it in the end.

Benefits

1. Your new queue and commute buddy 
Credit: bady abbas 
The e-reader’s portability is the most cited reason people purchase the device. No matter which brand or model you choose, e-readers come in convenient sizes and are so lightweight that it slides into any bag you have without taking up much space or weight.
"E-readers come in convenient sizes and are so lightweight that it slides into any bag without taking up much space"
Before owning an e-reader, I’d rarely bring physical books out for fear of creasing or spilling liquid onto them. Now, I can whip out my Kindle when I’m in a coffee shop queue or commuting long distances, making good use of time instead of doom-scrolling on my phone.
During my last summer holiday, I even brought my Kindle with me all the way to Bali and managed to finish two books without taking up much luggage space!
2. Battery for days
Credit: grinvalds
The best part about bringing my Kindle on my seven-day trip was that I didn’t have to pack a charger. One full charge managed to last me the whole holiday, though it’s worth noting that I did not spend every waking moment glued to my e-reader.
E-readers, in general, are advertised to last for weeks in terms of batteries, and that may be true if you are a light reader who clocks in 30 minutes of reading every day. As a gauge, I can easily read 900 pages (around two or three regular novels) with 100% on my Kindle.
3. A library in your hands
We all know how expensive reading is as a hobby. Though there is an upfront investment cost in an e-reader itself, you are bound to save on books in the long run. Depending on where you get your e-books, they are often sold cheaper than a physical copy or are even free! Not to mention, you can skip the checkout line at bookshops and purchase titles you enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
There is a range of storage that comes with different brands and models. If you are conflicted as to which option to choose, know that 8GB can easily hold up to 2000 or 3000 e-books. If you enjoy audiobooks, consider bumping your storage to accommodate larger audio files.
With just one device, you can create your expansive digital library and never run out of reading material.
4. Tailored reading experience for one, please!
The personalisation of e-readers was the largest pull factor for me; from the typeface to font size, line spacing to brightness, there is nothing you can’t customise on the device. Controlling the appearance of your “book” makes for a more tailored reading experience. Now, you no longer have to play font-size roulette when you purchase physical copies and can play around with the settings until you find the perfect combination.
"Controlling the appearance of your 'book' makes for a more tailored reading experience"
Aside from personalisation, e-readers come loaded with features to enhance your leisurely reading. You can annotate, highlight, bookmark, and even search for words on the built-in dictionary as you wish without the guilt of “ruining” your book with dog ears or pen marks. It’s a great way to keep track of your thoughts as you read or simply to save a quote you resonate with; I doubt any further explanation is required for how useful the dictionary is when it comes to reading—every definition is just one tap away.

Drawbacks

1. Limits still exist 
It’s important to note that while there is a wide selection of books available in a digital format, this is not universal. Though classic and popular titles are often released in digital form and can be easily purchased online, lesser-known books might not have that option.
2. Bye, paperbacks!
Of course, you can still purchase physical books even if you own an e-reader, but should you convert to becoming a full-time e-book reader, such is the reality. The romanticisation of reading as a leisurely and scholarly activity has led us to think that anyone seen in public with a physical book must be smart or enigmatic, scoring them personality points.
Compared to an actual book, an e-reader undoubtedly pales; it looks like a mini-tablet instead of a piece of literature. Some readers love the aesthetic of showing off the title they are reading, or perhaps, they simply adore collecting books on their shelves. If that sounds like you, maybe think twice before investing in an e-reader.
3. I need the connection
Purchasing and downloading e-books require an internet connection, which means you might not have access to the device’s storefront if you are somewhere without wifi. However, this can easily be overcome by downloading books before you find yourself stranded without a connection.
4. Tired eyes from reading  
Instead of using an LED display like most technological devices do, e-readers utilise an electronic ink display so it appears to mimic words printed on actual paper. No matter which angle you tilt your e-reader in the sun, it’s unlikely you’ll get a glare that keeps you from reading.
"E-readers utilise an electronic ink display so it appears to mimic words printed on actual paper"
Despite that, the e-reader is still a device. While the adjustable font size and screen brightness helps, staring at a screen for prolonged periods can still strain your eyes, which is something to consider.

Who should invest in an e-reader?

That said, deciding whether to invest in an e-reader depends on which benefits and drawbacks you prioritise. Considering all the advantages and disadvantages of the device, here are a few groups of people I think should consider investing in an e-reader:
  • If you’re always on the go, the e-reader’s portability and convenience are made for you
  • Looking to declutter the space taken up by your books? Look no further for a solution
  • If you have a visual impairment, adjusting the font size and brightness will make reading easier
  • Struggling with arthritis or hand conditions? An e-reader is lighter to hold than most books
  • Want to improve your vocabulary? The built-in dictionary will do the trick
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