Should You Get an E-Reader?

Should You Get an E-Reader?

By Julie D. Andrews

I’ve never tucked an e-reader under my arm in a dash to the beach. Nor have I carelessly tossed such a sleek device into a weathered beach bag to commingle with oily sunscreen and sullied flip flops. I go to bookstores. I eye illustrated covers on tables and shelves. And to the shore, I carry books and magazines.

With my precious paper reads, the ink smears. The paper tears. I dog-ear pages and underline words. And when the reading is done, the back page flapped shut in exasperated glee, there stands a physical hold-in-my-hand relic of my reading conquest. I later tuck the book with pride into my bookshelf. I know that one day, I will pull it out again. And with a shake of the binding, granules of sand will tumble out to the tune of nostalgia.

But lo and behold, my old-fashioned preference for paper is increasingly rare in our digitized society. The number of people in the U.S. who own a dedicated e-reader is now 20.6 million. By 2012 that number is expected to climb to 28.9 million, according to an eMarketer survey released this May. 

So even I, like scads of fellow sentimental book lovers, am considering getting an e-reader. Here are the pros and cons I’ve investigated:

E-reader Pro No. 1: The device holds a lot of novels, books and magazines.  No more lugging around heavy novels; e-readers can house an entire library. The Kindle, Nook or even an iPad can hold 1,500 non-illustrated books!

E-reader Pro No. 2: The next generation of e-readers is now hitting the shelves.

So now may be the best time to plunk down my dollars. The most highly recommended e-readers, according to PC World, are the following:

  • Amazon Kindle (Wi-Fi/3G, 3rd Generation)
  • Amazon Kindle DX (Graphite)
  • Barnes and Noble Nook (Color or not)
  • Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350

E-reader Con No. 1: Possible destruction by the elements.
Would the convenience of bringing all my e-books to the beach be worth the annoying possibilities of sand invasion or sun damage of the hardware? I’m not so sure. And what if while taking a dip, someone trotted off with my paycheck-won device?

E-reader Con No. 2: Screen-time overload.
I’ve been known to sleep alongside my laptop. My smartphone is ever within reach and I am hunched over at a desk, eyes glued to a computer monitor all day long. Being prompted by books, to carry them somewhere, outdoors, in the fresh air, away from all connected devices? Bliss.  

Final E-reader Pro: Portability.
When I consider all the pros and cons, in the end, I definitely can picture myself with an e-reader on the subway, at lounge-away grassy parks, on planes, trains and automobiles.

So it sounds like it’s time to do some comparison shopping. The next big question: Am I Kindle or a Nook kind of girl?

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Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/ramihalim

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Julie D. Andrews is a New York-based writer and blogger. She covers social media for AllFacebook.com and SocialTimes.com, and her articles have appeared on NYmag.com, Yahoo.com and MSN.com. Connect with her @julieDandrews.