Books, paper and eReaders – Do we still have to use dead trees?

16 Oct

Since getting the Kindle App for my iPhone, iPad & Mac I can honestly say I have not read as much in my life!

Its just so convenient and you feel a little better that you are not contributing as much to the death of  trees.

I tried the iBook App from Apple originally, but I found that a lot of books I wanted were simply not available in the Apple book store. Frustrated, I tried the Kindle App and I haven’t looked back since. To be fair to Apple they are fairly new in this game and Amazon, who invented the Kindle world, have been doing it much longer and as a result have the publishing supply chain well established.

One thing I love about using an eReader, be it physical like the Kindle itself, or virtual like an App, is the fact that you can quickly grow a reading list of books you want to read in the future.

Amazon Kindle

What do I mean by a reading list? From time to time you stumble across a book title that you fancy reading (i.e. via a recommendation from someone else, a review you read, a title you’ve always wanted to read, the current best seller), but if you are already in the middle of another book you have to remember it or write it down. In the ‘old days’ of paper based reading I’d often forget what the book recommendation was, thinking I’d remember it – I never did, and was left thinking ‘what was that book!’. There was a second ‘got ya’ when you purchased a book, what if you didn’t like it!

With the eReader, for me, that problem dissapears to a large extent because I’ve got into the habbit of downloading the free sample of a book I fancy. The sample simply sits there in my eReader library waiting to be read, no physical book shelf required here. By the time I finish my current book I’ve normally got a queue of free samples to browse through. If I like the sample (which is normally the first chapter) I’ll buy the full version. If not I’ll delete it. Simple, efficient and environmentally friendly.

That leads me nicely onto the second thing I love about eReaders. If I want a book, assuming its in the eReader store, I can have it in seconds! Gone are the days of waiting for a book to arrive in the post, or to have to trudge down to the shops hoping they have it in stock. Simply select the book in the online book store and press ‘download’!

Paper production - Dead trees

I guess you can also consider the space, production, logistics and transport saving from not having to produce and cart dead trees

(paper) all over the world. Yes, there is an environmental impact to making and supporting eReaders, but once they become common place the environmental savings will be huge, especially considering that quick ‘throw away’ paper media like News papers and magazines are also starting to make an appearance on eReaders. Imagine how much cost and environmental impact just one major Newspaper causes per day.

Paper waste

Apple has just brought out the ‘Newsstand’ App for magazine viewing with iOS 5. I’m currently subscribed to the paper version of Runners World and, after reading the free electronic sample of Runners World on NewsStand, I’ll definatley be moving my subscription over the eReader version as soon as possible.

Reading on a eReader, for me, is easier, simpler and better than the paper version.

Ah, but what about battery life? What about it? I don’t have to charge my iPad for over a week and thats with fairly heavy usage. The Kindle, because of its E Ink technology, boasts a battery life of two months! Yes you read it correctly – TWO MONTHS!

But I can’t afford an eReader compared to a book with is just a few pounds! Yes, its true that the iPad is expensive, but in my opinion very well worth it. But the new Kindle, that came out last month, is only £89. OK, that’s still more than a book made out of paper, but consider that paper books are generally more expensive that the electronic version, simply because they cost more to produce.

For example I’m currently reading ‘Deamon’ by Daniel Suarex. On the Amazon book store the cheapest paper back version of Deamon is £3.52, a used hardback you can pick up for $4.52, whereas the Kindle (eReader) version is £0.99! Yes 99 pence! This is one of the better deals and most Kindle books are around £1 cheaper than the dead tree version, but you get the point. This is also not including the fact that you can get hold of a lot of ebooks for free if you look around. Some eReaders offer you the ability to import your own documents, so if you do get a free electronic version of a book you can still read it on your eReader.

If you read a fair amount, and you’ll probably read more with an eReader, it might not be as expensive as you fist though. Also take into account of the space saving in not having all those finished book lying around gathering dust and getting in the way.

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