Though they didn’t become popular until 2007, when the first Amazon Kindle was released and made ereaders mainstream, people have been toying with the idea of ebooks since 1930. That’s right—1930! With the advent of paperbacks and talkies, writer Bob Brown thought “readies” would be the next logical step in technology.
In his book on the topic, Brown wrote that “to continue reading at today’s speed, I must have a machine. [...] A simple reading machine which I can carry or move around, attach to any old electric light plug and read hundred-thousand-word novels in 10 minutes if I want to, and I want to. [This machine would] allow readers to adjust the type size and avoid paper cuts.”
While avoiding paper cuts isn’t at the top of our list for why ebooks are great (and you still can’t read 100,000 words in 10 minutes unless you’re a speed reader), Brown was onto something. Keep reading to find out why ebooks are even better than Brown dreamed they could be.
1. Ebooks are inexpensive—and often free!
Compared to their physical counterparts, ebooks are almost always the less expensive option. That’s because there aren’t costs associated with manufacturing, shipping, or packaging.
And because they’re cheaper in the first place, ebooks can more easily be found for free, and their sales can be especially great—in fact, some sites offer excellent ebook deals every day.
2. You don’t need an ereader to read an ebook.
If you think you need a new, expensive device to enjoy all the benefits of ebooks, think again! In fact, if you’re reading this, you can read an ebook.
Admittedly, ereaders do make the reading experience more enjoyable. They’re lightweight, roughly the size of a paperback, and most importantly, have screens that reflect light the same way paper does. But they’re not required for ebooks—you can easily read them on your phone, tablet, or even a laptop or desktop computer.
3. Ebooks are environmentally friendly.
Save a tree—read an ebook! Reducing paper use is the most obvious way ebooks are good for the environment, but there are other bonuses, too.
Because ebooks don’t need to be printed or shipped, they also reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and create less waste that will eventually end up in landfills.
Even if you buy an ereader, you’re likely doing the environment a favor—according to an analysis by the Cleantech Group, you only need to purchase 22.5 ebooks instead of physical books to offset a Kindle’s carbon footprint. And an ereader’s average lifespan is 6-8 years, making that a very easy target to hit, even for casual readers.
4. Ebooks are easy to carry, borrow and buy.
If you’re packing a book or three for a long trip, ebooks will considerably lighten your load. Ebook files are very small, meaning ereaders easily hold hundreds of ebooks and your phone or tablet likely has room for a few, too. By choosing ebooks, you save a lot of space and weight in your carry-on.
Plus, if you decide you want a different book to read, you can have one in a snap—ebooks are immediately available to download after purchase, or you can borrow one in moments from your library.
5. Ebooks harness the power of technology.
With an ebook, you don’t need to flip around looking for a certain passage. As long as you remember a word or phrase, you can easily search for it instead!
Ebooks also allow you to adjust text size, highlight text or passages, and they automatically remember your page—no bookmark or dogearring required. Plus, built-in dictionaries and translation tools mean you never need to wonder what a word means again.
6. Ebooks are easier for people with sight, reading and dexterity issues.
Need the large-print version of a book? No problem—simply adjust the text size on your screen, and you’re ready to go.
Ebooks can also be read via text to speech apps, which is convenient if audiobooks aren't available. Some people also prefer using text to speech instead of audiobooks—listening while reading can be helpful for a variety of reasons, and also allows the ability to highlight passages without pausing.
Finally, ebooks are often preferable for people with dexterity, wrist or hand strength issues—ereaders and tablets are easier to hold than traditional books, and pages are turned with just a tap.
7. Ebooks aren’t all or nothing.
While ebooks have a lot of benefits, many booklovers would never give up their print books—and they don’t have to!
Choosing to read ebooks when it’s more convenient doesn’t mean giving up your bookshelves or never browsing a brick and mortar bookstore again. It just means you’ve found another way to enjoy reading.
Keep Reading: 6 Incredible Benefits of Reading Books
Featured image via César Abner Martínez Aguilar / Unsplash