An eBook Change of Heart

For many years I’ve held a very dogmatic view about paper-based books. I love paper books. The touch, the look, the feel, the realness. But something happened yesterday. I wanted to read a couple of books but for reasons best known to me I could not get around them. Yesterday I was in a better place and so I decided to Kindle a couple. And Kindle a few I did. It was a great experience. I have finally given into the idea and the reality of buying eBooks. Why did it take me so long?

The experience since yesterday has been brilliant. I love the Kindle reader. It is an excellent software for reading. So I think that definitely helps. But there are some other practical reasons that has caused me to rethink (and soften) my stance on (or against buying) ebooks. What might these reasons be? Well no rocket science. They are easy to acquire. In a matter of minutes (or seconds depending on your Internet connection) you have books. Yes books. Epiphany!!!

As I think about my newly had ebooks I thought about the comparative cost of paper versions. Paperbacks tend to be more expensive generally (I’ve noted a few books where the paperbacks are cheaper). And because I live in a country where books are to be shipped in the extra cost of shipping has not helped my argument against ebooks. When I did the math today, it worked out that I saved roughly 75-100 dollars (US) on 9 ebooks had I gone for the paperbacks.I can buy more books!

Paperbacks need a home. That’s something I thought about more in the last 24 hours: is it me trying to justify why I bought the ebooks? Maybe it is. But then again there’s no need to justify mobility. I have my ebooks with me (but i need to fetch the device it is on 🙂 ).

As I bought the books yesterday the thought that  I could have them on multiple devices did not escape me. I did some reading and found out that you can download them on 6 different devices. I managed 2 so far (laptop and smartphone). I may try my tablet later. There is one other issue and that is Amazon’s policy (not sure what other booksellers do) on ownership of ebooks. Apparently you do not “own” the books you buy. Essentially, what you pay for is access. This policy by argument is grounded in copyrights. Because you do not own, you cannot share e-copies. This is fair enough on the surface. Amazon also reserves the right to delete the books on your devices if you violate terms and conditions. Every since I’ve been asking the ownership question. Do I really need to own the books? Or is it just to have access? And of course my mind wandered to The End of Ownership (which I haven’t read yet but will do soon and most likely digitally – what irony).

One thing for sure – I will be buying more ebooks in the near future.

I am a convert!!!

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About lenandlar

Lenandlar Singh is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Guyana.
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