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The Truth About E-readers

By Natalia Macrynikola for Every Day Connected

The Truth About E-readers

Like with any sleek, new technology, the allure of an e-reader is undeniable.

Simply put, the gadget changes history: It brings reading into the digital era, revolutionizing how we interact with books and magazines.

Is change always necessary, though? For an avid reader like me, at first it was hard to swallow. “Read on-screen for hours?” I wondered in dismay, recalling the flickering PC screen of my youth. “I’d rather poke my eyes out.” But as e-readers began to pop up everywhere, I came to see their beauty: great resolution, slim size, ultra-portability. Minimalism in reading: brilliant.

Soon, my best friend gave me the Barnes & Noble Nook for my birthday, and my enthusiasm turned into zeal. Within my first month, I finished two e-books. By month two, I had dug into all the classics I’d ever wanted to read. As I downloaded the 800-page Illiad at month three, I was sure that soon I’d be through that too, and that by month four, I’d practically be a scholar of antiquity.

Here’s what really happened after that: By month four, I was still struggling to get through the first part of the epic, and six months in, I barely remembered what I’d read. And by year’s end, I was on a sabbatical from reading altogether.

So what went so horribly wrong here? Why did the beautiful e-reader turn out to be, well, just a blip in my own history of reading? I blame these four alluring myths marketers sell you about e-readers:

Myth No. 1: You’ll read more.

Reality: You won’t.
Sure, you’ll download plenty of e-books with just a few clicks. And you’ll start reading them too. But once you realize that each book feels just like the next (same size, font, color, digital notes, etc.), you’ll also realize that half the fun of reading is how unique the experience of each book is supposed to be. With e-books, you lose that personal touch.

Myth No. 2: If you love book-browsing, you’ll love doing it from your couch.

Reality: You won’t.

Like with the Web, you’ll often surf the e-reader bookstore, reading sample pages before you buy. The convenience is unquestionable. That is until you realize that the experience of pulling books from real shelves in the quiet sanctuary of a bookstore and then flipping through real pages is irreplaceable.

Myth No. 3: You can read five books at the same time!

Reality: You sure can, but you probably won’t finish any of them.

There’s something to be said about the ability to download all the books you’ve ever wanted in an instant -- and the urgency you’ll feel to read them at once too. But as soon as the novelty of multitasking wears off, what’s left is a bunch of fragmented stories and a whole lot of pages. And that is a surefire way to turn reading into drudgery.

Myth No. 4: You’ll save money.

Reality: With $10 a pop for most books, that’s doubtful.

E-books aren’t cheap. And if you are used to getting books at thrift stores or through book lending, think twice before buying an e-reader.

In the age of tech hype, it’s easy to fall in love with every new gadget. But can technology ever replace the beauty of reading the way our ancestors meant for us to do?

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

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