My pride and prejudice for e-books

Dozens of e-books on a shelf.

Friends who know me well, know that I am a huge Harry Potter fan.

It’s one of the reasons why as any gift-giving event approaches, I frequently get asked: “Which books are you missing in your Harry Potter collection?”

Those who know Harry Potter well, know that JK Rowling set the series in the 90s. This was quite clever because while we’re a long way from teleporting (called apparating in the book), playing sports with flying broomsticks and time travel, there are some of the magical things in the Harry Potter world that would have been a lot less interesting in a different decade.

What am I rambling about? Why e-books of course. Let me explain; in the Deathly Hallows, lovers at odds Hermione and Ron have a teasing exchange about everything that Hermione plans on packing for their secret Horcrux hunt, including several dozen books.

Ron quips: ‘Oh, of course, I forgot we’ll be hunting down Voldemort in a mobile library.’

Hermione, as fans will know, has already thought of a magical book – and everything else – storage solution but had this scene been set in our decade she could have easily retorted: “Well, actually I was just going to download them all on e-book.”

Yes, e-books! Ah, e-books, how I do love thee! And according to Qyresearchreports, a Chinese market research company, I’m not the only one. E-books, it seems, are a fickle mistress.

Thecompany’sGlobal eReader Market Research Report 2018 said that North America had, by far, the largest amount of e-book fans, with Europe and China coming second and third.

The report also showed that e-reader sales were declining, not because of a lack of interest but because of an increase in e-book apps downloaded on smart devices.

There are a great many perks to the e-book besides being able to travel with a mini-portable library. One of the best pros to e-books is that they can’t be stolen. As the saying goes, only your friends steal your books and it’s true. It is one of the reasons why my incomplete collections are replenished by friends – because other “friends” have borrowed and never returned. I currently have both my copies of Pride and Prejudice lying about – and unread I might add – at friends’ homes.

“But then don’t lend them out”, I can hear my mother saying. Well every time a book doesn’t come back I promise myself I won’t lend books out again, but when the time comes, the prospect of possibly birthing a new fan is far more exciting than the idea that I may never see the book again – and so I relent – and repent – and relent, again…

So while both book-books of Pride and Prejudice lie dusty and disused at friends’ homes, my e-book is still safely stored on the Kindle cloud. Which means that if I ever need to replace the device, the book is already a part of my cloud library.

Another pro to e-books is that you can’t read them until the sun comes up – unless you can afford to ruin your device’s battery. Book lovers know this problem well: ‘Just one more paragraph … page … chapter – oh well, just a few more pages and then it’s done anyway.”

But, with an electronic device, the battery will, at some point die, and one would be forced to put it down and go to sleep. *sigh*.

My final e-book perk is not needing a light. With a lit device screen, one could read away with all the house lights off and leave the rest of the household to peaceful, darkened sleep. No more flashlights under blankets.

But while e-books are wonderful there is one downside – they don’t need a bookshelf. I find few sights more satisfying than a full bookshelf but even if I had put all my e-books on one shelf, it still wouldn’t look very impressive at all.

What are your thoughts on e-books vs book-books? Did I miss a pro or a con? Send us an email with your views: lauren.oconnor-may@inl.co.za

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