Rethinking My Stance on eBooks

Rethinking My Stance on eBooks

Almost a year ago, I made a post about how I wasn’t crazy about eBooks. Today I’m going to talk about why my stance has changed.

Hello, my name is Ashley, and I am an eBook convert.

The only reason I bought an eBook reader was for reading eARCs, because, at the time, those were the only eBooks I was actually reading at all! At first I just read them on my computer, but that becomes extremely tedious. So, I bought a Kindle.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and I had started buying my own eBooks. At this point, I was buying a lot of self published eBooks (the average $2.99 price tag is pretty), and eBooks for books that I wanted to read but didn’t think I would LOVE. They were my “maybe” books. But for the most part, I was still mainly buying physical books.

Fast-forward a few months. I began to realize that it just isn’t feasible for me to have so many physical books. What’s the point in buying them if I have to do massive bookshelf clean-outs every few months? Because of my living situation, I just don’t have enough space for eBooks.

During term time, I’m at my apartment in the UK. During holidays, I’m at my parents’ house in the United States. I can’t haul books back and forth between those two locations (limited suit case space and shipping costs are ridonkulous). And to make matters worse, my apartment in the UK isn’t a permanent location. During my first year of uni here, I was living on campus. In my second year (currently), I have my own apartment off-campus. Next year I’ll be working for a year in London, which means I’ll be relocating again. The year after that, I will be relocating again to do a final year at university. That means every new book I buy has to be put in a box for the inevitable moment when I will be moving to a new location.

But that’s not the only reason I have started to convert to eBooks…

One thing I love about eBooks is how easily you can find certain locations in the books and how you can highlight your favourite quotes.

I’m always saying to my boyfriend, “I wish I could CTRL+F real life.” You can’t do a CTRL+F in a physical book. Want to find that one quote you loved? Have fun flipping through every page trying to get back to it. But in an eBook, there is a search feature! It’s like MAGIC!!!

But the highlighting feature is seriously awesome. Ever since I started making banner graphics for books, it has become a lifesaver, because I always try to put a quote or a phrase on my banners. I hate highlighting physical books because, to me, it feels like book vandalism. I usually have to resort to sitting next to a computer and typing up my favourite quotes as I go so that I can pick one later for the graphic. But, with my Kindle, I can highlight my favourite passages without feeling like I’m “ruining” the book, and then I can easily find them later!

I still love physical books, but…

I will always love physical books. There’s something magical and authentic about them. But because I read so many books, it just isn’t realistic for me to find the physical space for them. I have found a new love for eBooks, and with the amount of quoting, highlighting, travelling, and moving that I do, they have proven to be a huge convenience.

I still buy physical books for my absolute favourites, or books I’m doing to get signed, but right now, I have converted to mostly eBook purchases.

Which do you prefer: eBooks or physical books?

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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38 comments

  1. You know, it’s funny. I randomly read your opposition to ebooks post not too long ago (I think I was browsing when I first discovered your blog) and I was like… huh? She gets ebooks all the time! But now I understand. : )

    I love ebooks because they just give so much more access to titles that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I will always PREFER physical books (partly because it bugs me that my Kindle can die or refuse to work which totally ruins the reading environment) but I’m open to ebooks, most definitely. Great post!

    Jessie Marie recently posted: The Diviners by Libba Bray
    1. Yeah good point about your Kindle being able to die! I haven’t had that happen to me yet though *knocks on wood*

  2. I’m right there with you. I love physical books, but I live in a pretty tiny apartment and it’s beginning to overflow with physical books (no matter how many trips I make to sell/donate, and no matter that half the books I read are borrowed from my sister!). I have yet to buy an ereader, but I have read a decent amount of ebooks using the Kindle app on my phone. Which is kind of awful, so why haven’t I bought a freaking ereader yet?!

    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted: Almost Here! (April 2013)
    1. You totally should buy an e-reader! I was the same way.. I thought I was fine reading on my phone or my computer.. but then I bought a Kindle and it was the best decision EVER!

  3. I love ebooks for the same reasons! When I first heard about the kindle people described it as an ipod for books. My ipod was a need because I owned 300 CDs and my son loved “rearranging” them πŸ™‚ I went digital with music and books and I love it!
    Writing reviews is so much easier because I take notes as I’m reading. Then I write them all in my review and edit til it makes sense. I also think writing in a real book (that isn’t an ugly textbook) is wrong so I never highlighted things. I love being able to search ebooks not just for quotes but for characters too. I’m always forgetting who’s who. I only buy physical books at book signings now if I don’t own the ebook. If I already happen to own the ebook I have them sign my old leather kindle cover πŸ™‚

    Jessica @ Books: A true story recently posted: Book Review: Darth Plagueis by James Luceno
  4. I held out for a long time. I felt that ebooks were the direct cause of my favorite store, Border’s. I read a teaser for a book that had just came out and it hooked me. I had two choices… get in the shower and run to Barnes & Noble which is just a few miles away, or download it to the Kindle app on my phone and start reading it there immediately. The lazy option won out. πŸ™‚ I loved having the capability of getting instant gratification, and I’ve never been a patient person. I loved having a backlit screen so I could read in the dark.

    It wasn’t long before I ran out and bought a Kindle Fire. Now, I read in bed, in the dark. I prop the kindle up on the other pillow and if I fall asleep, it shuts off by itself. I can also run on the treadmill with my Kindle. That turns a mind-numbingly boring necessity into something more tolerable. πŸ™‚

    I find it very difficult to read non electronic books now. I am an e-book-aholic.

    1. Aw man, I totally miss Borders! I used to LOVE them!!!

      Good point about the instant gratification. That is DEFINITELY a good one! And, if you normally buy physical online, e-books also don’t have shipping costs! Win win!

      I also love being able to read in the dark! That’s one of the biggest pluses for me. Because reading can make me quite sleepy and I always hate having to get out of bed to turn off the light!

  5. I got my Kindle about 2 years ago (after resisting for a long time) and it totally rekindled (haha, sorry!) my love of reading. For a while I only would read eBooks and then when I started being able to take ebooks out of the library with my Kindle it started a whole new obsession. But then there were lots of ebooks I couldn’t get on my Kindle from the library so I started reading more traditional books. And now I kind of prefer traditional books, it’s like I’ve been on some weird full circle journey.

    All that said, I think you make great points about space limitations and the annoyance of moving lots of books from place to place. That’s a big reason why I use the library so much, but I feel like once I’m settled down some where I’ll start buying more books. Great post!

    Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages recently posted: Book Review: Just Listen
  6. I just ordered a Kindle paperwhite which I’m so excited to get and the main reason is because I couldn’t stand reading eARCs on my phone anymore. I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving physical books, they bring the love of reading and a whole part of that experience is in a physical copy. But ebooks have given us convenience that physical books could never give us so I guess both have their benefits but I’m still gonna love reading a physical book more than reading an ebook πŸ˜›

    Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews recently posted: Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (#28)
    1. You are going to LOVE the paperwhite! I got one too and I absolutely adore it. Plus you can read in the dark! πŸ˜‰

  7. I still prefer the real thing, but you do have a great point! eBooks are so much more convenient. And it IS nice to be able to search for something. The highlights are nice, because like you I see writing/highlighting in books as vandalism, but I keep notes on all the physical books I read if I find quotes I like or need to remember something. I used to hate eBooks because I could only read on my iPhone (MAJOR suckage), but now that I have a Kindle I love them!

    Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads recently posted: I've moved to Wordpress!
    1. Wow yeah, reading ebooks on a phone does suck! I read them on mine for a while and that put me off them. But then buying a Kindle totally changed my perspective!

  8. The minute my first Kindle arrived – around 3 years ago I was hooked! Now, I not only love eBooks I always prefer them over physical books. I Love that it isnot so heavy, I only need one hand to hold the book and turn the page and… with the new Paperwhite and the iPad I can read even when the lights are turned of!

    1. Yes, I LOVE that!! I used to hate reading in bed and then having to get up and turn off the lights. Now I can just read with the lights off and I love it!!

  9. I will always love physical book copies but I’m SO with you on the highlighting, note and search features of e-books. Plus cheap books + very tiny apartment makes me love e-books all the more.

    The only real problem I have is that I remember to read physical copies because they seem to stare at me from the shelf and noticing them out of the corner of my eye, like a constant reminder of “READ ME NOW!”. With e-books it’s so easy for me to forget. This is why I’m working on the e-books that have fallen by the wayside lately in April. Plus physical books are easy to so off and display. Showing someone an e-copy just isn’t as impacting.

    1. That is an awesome point! I totally know what you mean. I forget about my ebooks all the time too. I could probably go shopping in my folder of downloaded ebooks and find hidden gems that I haven’t read yet LOL!

      And I also do love having an overstuffed bookshelf to show off. You can’t do that with ebooks! Same with having signed copies.

      1. Oh, yes. I got interested in a book only to find on Amazon that I’ve already got it, which made go back and look at all the books I already had. Shopping is good way to put it because I was all like “OMG I so want to read this one!” LOL.

        So I’ll have to make the physical copies wait and hopefully they won’t topple on top of me in retribution. (No, really the shelf next to my desk of to-read physical copies heavily leans toward me and the shelves are bent in the middle…) XD And those are just the books I’ve been fortunate enough to win for free. I can’t imagine how high my stack would be if I had money to spend on books.

  10. I’ll always prefer physical books, but for galleys and like you said, those books I’ve been wanting to read/am not sure I’ll love, but see on sale for my Nook, I do prefer e-books! I don’t use the highlight feature a lot, but agreed, it is really awesome!

  11. I got a Kindle Fire at the beginning of the year and I adore it. When e-books were first released, I was so opposed to them, and I thought nothing would be able to sway me from my beloved physical copies. Now, I still love my physical books, but it’s so much more practical to have e-books, because one e-reader does not take up the same amount of space one physical book does. Plus, if you order a book online, you have to wait for it to be shipped to you, whereas with an e-book, it’s downloaded to your reader straight away and there’s no agonising waiting game to play! I won’t ever stop buying physical books, but I have definitely been converted to the brilliance of e-books. (Much to the delight of my parents too!)

    Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea recently posted: Book Review: Terra by Gretchen Powell
  12. I still only read eBooks if I’m given an eARC or review copy, if I manage to snag an eBook for free (that’s how I ended up with a copy of Beautiful Disaster) or if I want to read the “exclusive eNovella”. As unrealistic as it is for me to keep buying hard copies, it’s one of the few things I indulge in for myself – and the hubs fully supports my vision of having a library in our home, when we get around to buying a house. Which, might need to happen sooner rather than later at the rate I’m accumulating books…lol

    Kelly recently posted: My Blogging Manifesto
    1. Yes! I would love to have a library in my home! I love ebooks but I still want some kind of totally epic library one day. Ebooks are certainly more practical but there is something special about owning, collecting, displaying, and sniffing physical books!

      1. I am a proud book sniffer. Seriously nothing like it. I wish they made like a car freshener or something in that smell, though I doubt it would compare to the feeling of cracking open a crisp, fresh portal to a whole new world.

        And I second wanting the awesome library. Belle’s (Beauty & Beast) library in the castle made her my favorite princess and I’m still envious of it. If only I had all the money in the world…No one would probably find me again living in the stacks of my library. Forget the rest of the house! LOL.

  13. Ebooks are definitely more convenient, I’m with you there. All of your reasons make a lot of sense, but a part of me is still resistant to actually flat-out buying books, even ebooks. I think that public libraries are such a great resource and unless I really love a book, I usually don’t want to buy a physical or digital copy. Digital rights management is also a tricky issue – when you buy an ebook, you’re not buying the book, you’re just buying rights to it, which vendors like Amazon and Barnes & Noble can technically take away from you at any time. But ebooks are so convenient and a good innovation overall, I think and I’m glad you now find value in both your ereader and ebooks.

  14. Seriously, I have to agree with you on some points. I finally got a kindle because of the masses of e-ARCS I wanted to read but had no time for on the computer. I so LOVE it for the freedom and flexibility I get from it. Plus it’s not a hassle to take places! But here is where my nerdy side comes in. I WANT TO OWN EVERY BOOK I LOVED. I still love physical books and ARCS better! And I still want to have the pretty covers on my shelf than on my kindle. But then comes the money issue….So I’m conflicted, I totally love the perks an ereader affords me, especially in teaching myself to reign in and budget. πŸ™‚ Fabulous post Ash!!! πŸ˜€
    <333 Inky

    Inky recently posted: MGWM Review: The Menagerie
    1. I know what you mean Inky! I also have that crazy urge to own beautiful hardcovers of all my favourite books! I have to force myself to hold back and it makes me sad!!

  15. I totally get your point. I have more ebooks than physical books because the only space they take up is on my computer. I love physical books but ebooks are waaaaaay more convenient. Sadly, I still don’t have an ereader and that’s like my lifetime dream! (Okay, I was exaggerating. But still.) I have to frustrate myself with reading on PC for the time being. πŸ˜›

  16. I like both! I like paper books because they’re nicer to look at on a shelf than ebooks are, and it’s easier to curl up with a book when it’s in paper. I like ebooks, though, for traveling and for books that are REALLY FREAKIN’ HEAVY in paper form (so heavy I can barely lift them). And I like that I can get tons of freebie ebooks without having to leave my house!

    Anastasia @ Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog recently posted: Business Cards: A Book Expo America Tip Post
  17. I adore paper books. On the shelf, in my hands, I love looking at the covers and different fonts. However, I’m starting to realise how much easier the highlight feature on my kindle makes reviews. I just highlight as I go along, and it makes things so much quicker! If only there was this function on normal books without defacing them πŸ™

    Debbie @ Snuggling on the Sofa recently posted: Letterbox Love #17
  18. My number one pet peeve these days is “serious readers” who are so hardcore against ebooks. It’s the freaking 21st century and people just need to get over it and accept that not only have our lives gone digital, so have our books. I love BOTH ebooks and physical books. Equally. And I hate it when people finally convert to an ereaders and then spend their entire time trying to justify their love for traditional books while secretly enjoying their ereaders. So I think it’s awesome that you wrote this!

    About four years ago when I moved back to Japan after having lived here for a year and then returning to the US for 6 months, I actually tweeted that I would stop reading rather than get an ereader. Well, in 2010 I actually DID stop reading because I couldn’t afford to buy books here. They’re too expensive, and amazon shipping from the US is ridic. So I caved and bought an ereader and ate my words and have been an avid ebook/ereader advocate since. Much like you, it’s just too difficult to have a bunch of physical books to haul between countries/moves.

    While I DO enjoy buying physical books (I used to work at a Borders and touched books everyday!) they’ve become more of a special treat than anything. And most of the time I buy the ones I really love so I can share with my mom.

    Ebooks are awesome and the faster people start to accept them and realize that you can love BOTH equally, the better off everyone will be.

    1. You totally nailed it, River! I agree with you completely. I used to be soooo anti-ebooks, but I’ve since done a complete 180.

      I do still enjoy going into bookstores and staring at the pretty hardbacks, but I rarely buy them anymore. Ebooks are just so much more practical, especially for those of us who country-hop!

  19. I was randomly going through your posts today and stumbled upon this, and I just wanted to say that I totally agree! As a fellow college student, I understand the frustration of having to lug physical books everywhere and moving around all the time. I also always had the problem of suddenly wanting to reread a specific book only finding that I forgot it at home or at my apartment at school. Ebooks are just more convenient.

  20. I love e-books as well as physical books. I actually like having books in both formats (which usually comes about from having the eARC and a physical finished copy). I can read the physical copy at home, and have the eARC on the go when I’m out, waiting in lines, at the doctor’s etc.

    I always have small sticky notes with me, which I put when I come across a quote I want to use in a review.

    Shaheen @ Speculating on SpecFic recently posted: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

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