Remember the time when reading a book meant smelling the ink, touching the paper flipped between your fingers, falling asleep with your favorite novel by your side, having a deep emotional connection to that object hiding wonders between its covers? It is 2013 and while many people still enjoy the great feeling of holding a book in their hands, there are many more out there who traded paper for gadgets. In the past years, literature became a technological business, as the e-books and e-readers flooded the markets, leading to worrying decreases in the paperback trades. Many specialists’ debates are concerned with the pros and cons involving the supremacy of the e-book over the classic one, while people all over the world already started to carry around all sorts of multifunctional devices meant to bring them in an instant to the gates of universal literature.
So what is with this e-book business anyway and why is it said to be the mark of the next generation?
1. E-readers are more practical
Say you have a soft spot for epic authors, such as Stephen King, George R. R. Martin or Tolkien. As much as you’d love to read a genuine King hardcover, you can’t ignore the fact that it may be so heavy, you’d never be able to read it on the train, subway or in your living-room armchair. If you must carry more than one book, then you’ll face a heavy-weight problem. This is when the e-reader enters the scene: no matter the model or the manufacturer, you can stock in its memory hundreds of book, available only a click away. The software allows you to browse between your current reads, not having to fold the paper corner or to use a bookmark to remember where to continue from. Specialists say that this trend is comparable to the music industry. Yes, the vinyls and the audio cassettes and the CD’s had their moments of glory. So if music became portable and easy to access, why can’t this same rule of practicality can’t be applied to books too?
2. You save a tree, you save the planet
Ecology is not an entertaining hobby anymore. The planet suffers intensely from the reckless acts of man upon it and no matter how much we’d like to avoid this subject, research data say humanity did cross the line. The world-wide known notification that asks us if we are indeed sure if we want to print the current e-mail message is just a form of raising the popular awareness regarding tree cuts and paper usage. In the world of literature this is easily translatable to “read an e-book instead of a classic book, becoming thus Eco-friendly and contributing to the maintenance of the oxygen supply”. We don’t usually think about how many trees fell down for us to have this exquisite collectors’ edition of Dostoevsky’s works in hardcover, but reading an e-book may save an Amazonian forest tree.
3. E-books are instantly available
You want to buy a book? Nothing easier. Any man on this planet not technologically impaired can go to an online store, such as Amazon, Barnes&Nobles or Kobo, to name only a few, and purchase its favorite piece of literature work in seconds. The world is only one click away and over the years the online industry gain so much development, that you can buy anything from anywhere. The major online retailers offer their loyal customers a lot of special features to help them buy all the products they want.You like spending time in a classic library? This trend is said to disappear soon, as libraries shut down and move to the online market. People spend more hours on the Internet, so the book industry prepares its way to move there too.
4. E-books are a lot cheaper
From .99 cents up, you can buy any book you want. A good old fashioned book is quite expensive, and its price doesn’t always reflect its artistic qualities. Sum up the printing costs, the taxes, the fees, the author royalties, the chain of suppliers and you will realize the printed book becomes somehow unaffordable. On the other hand, the e-book means less costs and if it fails in quality, you will cry only over 2 ill-spent dollars instead of 15.
5. E-readers have secondary functions
You love to hold the book in your hand, granted. But what do you do when you realize that you’d need glasses to read it, because the font is so small? What do you do when you find yourself in the situation of wanting to read, but not having enough light? And if you are a true-blue reader, you would like to take notes, underline passages or highlight quotes. The classic book doesn’t allow you to change the font size, while most e-readers have a feature of zooming the page or modify the fonts altogether. Also, they don’t need external sources of lighting, as they offer you their own. Taking notes and scribbling comments on the side of a printed page? We were all taught not to do that. In this respect, e-readers allow us to write, delete and edit notes, highlight quotes and even keep them for another read. Very practical for studying or even teaching.
6. E-books changed the face of publishing
In the good old days, a writer had to present his manuscript to agents and publishers, facing rejection, poor payment and tens of years until becoming an established author, if ever. Nowadays, it is said that on Amazon, for instance, 3500 new books are uploaded on a weekly basis. The book quality not being the issue of this present article, let’s just say that for the modern writer, convinced about the worth of his work, uploads a Word manuscript and ends up having a self-published novel. Have you heard about the writers who made a fortune publishing e-books without having a publisher’s name to support them and who sold million of copies? They are the next generation, the men and women who understood the power of the online market and who use it at full potential. Again, .99 cents for an e-book is worth a shot and many exploit this trend to their benefit.
7. E-readers fit any customer
When talking about the pros of changing the classic book to an e-reader, the term “usability” pops to anyone’s mind. Let alone the fact that you can also store music and personal documents on your reading device, the readers come in many shapes and forms. From the famous Kindle, to the Nook, the Sony or even a high-tech phone, e-readers are available in many price ranges. They can be carried in the backpack or simply in your coat pocket. They are smaller or bigger, heavier or lighter, featuring more or less functions. In last year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, major companies discussed the future of the e-reader. And since this world uses smaller and smaller devices as time goes by, it is said that the next hit in the e-readers’ industry will be a phone so slim, friendly and cheap, it will win even the most reluctant of classic book readers.
8. E-books may put a stop to illiteracy
There are many poor people in this world and illiteracy is not a joke. As the world moves, many country educational programs though about investing in readers once, with the amendment that the initial investment may be quite high, and then supplying schools with e-books. Being as cheap as they are, this may become a future trend in public education not only as a back-plan, but as a serious action, since many modern schools in developed countries also have digital libraries available for their pupils.
9. E-readers allow graphic publishing also
One may say that e-readers are only good for reading plain word novels, excluding thus the possibility of reading children books, comics, graphic novels and so on. This may have been true a few years back, but as technology doesn’t sleep, the new e-readers software also allow pictures and drawings to be available inside the digital books. Also, if one really needs to know, an author can also sign an autograph on his e-book, using a quite simple and available software and platform. You love a book release event, where you can go to your favorite author and request a personal dedication, in blue pen and everything. Now you can do the same request online and you will receive your e-book signed and personalized.
10. Major publishers offer e-books for free download
Let’s face it: the book market is dropping heavily in the last years. The ascension of the digital book, the immense quantity of bad literature emerging every day, the newly-born over the night writers trying to make a living out of pure nonsense, the overwhelming power of light entertainment over reading, these all led to confusion in the books world. Publishers who still want to survive found out that is easier to convince their customers to buy books by offering them free e-books, easy to download even in trains and subway. A bar code is all you need. It is the fastest, the easiest and the most successful strategy of convincing people to grow fond of an author and buy his books.