Monday, May 26, 2014
I love books. I have been buying and collecting books since I was a kid. But I have decided it's finally time to change. E-readers have finally arrived. I know that electronic books and readers have been around for a long time now, but they’re finally good enough to satisfy even bibliophiles like me.
I have been reading everything from law review articles to law school memos on my laptop for some time now. But, until recently, that hasn’t extended to books, either the books I read for work or the books I read for pleasure.
It wasn’t for lack of interest. I looked at the earliest e-readers when they came out, but decided they wouldn’t allow me to do everything I could do with a physical book in hand. A few years ago, I bought a Nook from Barnes and Noble, but it’s been in a drawer for quite a while. The image was excellent; reading on it was a pleasant experience. But it just didn’t allow me to move around in the book, highlight, and take notes as well as I wanted to.
Six months ago, I bought a Kindle from Amazon. Not the Kindle Fire, with the full-color Internet browser. I’m perfectly happy with my smartphone for Internet browsing when I’m not on my computer. I bought the Kindle Paperwhite, a dedicated e-reader. And that, in the words of Robert Frost, has made all the difference.
I love my Kindle. (To be fair, I have heard that the latest edition of the Nook is also much better than the earlier version I bought.) I can do everything I would do with a physical book and more.
The print is incredibly easy to read. I can change the backlighting to accommodate where I’m reading. I can change the font to accommodate my aging eyes.
I can navigate within the book easily using a pull-down menu. For most new books, I can go to footnotes simply by clicking on them. I can easily see how much I have left to read in a chapter, without even having to turn a page.
I can highlight. I can take notes. I can easily access all of those highlights and notes in a single location, but quickly go to the particular page to see the full context. I can instantly look up words I don’t know. (I always did this as a student, with a dictionary sitting on my study desk, but I seldom have a dictionary handy when I’m sitting on the couch reading casually.)
Finally, I can get any book immediately, whenever I want it. No more checking to see if the local library or bookstore has it. No more waiting several days for Amazon to deliver it. And my carry-on baggage is suddenly several pounds lighter!
I know many of you have already made the jump to e-readers. But if you haven't yet, now's the time. (To be completely honest, I must admit I still haven’t convinced my wife the law librarian. She stubbornly clings to her three-foot-high pile of books in our living room. But, if you, unlike her, haven’t sworn to go to your grave with a physical book in your hand, check out the newest generation of e-readers.)