Electronic vs traditional reading

Marie Mosca
Opinion Editor

I am not ashamed to admit that I happen to be a bookworm. Over the years, I have collected many books and had to give a lot away due to lack of space. I am even guilty of procrastinating by reading instead of doing things like schoolwork or laundry. In the past few years, books have been more and more readily available through electronics as opposed to an actual physical copy. This brought up a lot of controversy among readers.
At first, I was completely against electronic reading. I swore by my hard copies and refused to buy a Kindle, or Nook. I thought that it would take all the fun out of reading. Recently, I have been extremely short on funds and have therefore not been able to purchase a lot of new books. This is when I started turning to amazon.com and their Kindle app. The reason being, I could download and read books for free.
A lot of self-published authors will put their first book in a series up on amazon for free, in order to coerce you into buying the rest. Classics can also be found for free in the kindle store such as “Pride and Prejudice”, “Ulysses”, “Aesop’s fables”, and many more. I’ve also downloaded one of my textbooks for a science class electronically at a much cheaper price than the hardcover copy would have been at the bookstore. It is also a lot easier to just copy and paste important tidbits into a word document for notes and be able to use a special highlight feature built into the program running the book itself. After exploring both options a little more thoroughly, I have determined that buying both a physical copy of a book and buying an electronic book are both perfectly valid and enjoyable ways to read.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.

Of course they both have their pros and cons. The things that I happen to like about reading physical books include: that new book smell, having a physical collection neatly set on a bookshelf, being able to lend books to friends and family, collecting books with different cover art or in different languages, book swap websites that allow you to leave books around for people to find and then track them via the internet to see where they have been. I can get a physical book signed by the author at a book signing or convention, and my overall learning to read experience was much better with physical books than trying to learn from those reading games on the computer.
Electronic books are really centered on their convenience factor. I have the kindle app on my laptop, and can therefore read a book without anyone judging me or knowing exactly what I am reading. I also do not have to go out to the store and search for a book, or be disappointed when I cannot find it (because book stores sell mostly coffee and t-shirts now). If I want to pre-order a book, I can just click a button and it will appear right on my laptop on the release date. Harry Potter midnight parties are cool, but I don’t want to have to wait in line all night with a bunch of strangers for a copy of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee Collins. If I ever decide I want a hard copy of it, I can always order one later. I tend to spend hours adding things to my amazon wish-list after looking through the free books section, and the section that caters to things you may like based on what is in your wish-list already. I will still purchase physical books when I have the money to do so, but right now, electronic books are a great cheap way to get some pleasure reading in. I am sorry I ever doubted them. Now, I will just have to explore the possibility of downloading some audiobooks to listen to at the gym.