You can visit your favorite bookstore at the mall for a $3.99 copy of Charles Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities or the Complete Works of Shakespeare which, depending on the book binding quality, can cost anywhere form $10 to hundreds.
You can even go online at Barnes & Noble or at Amazon for a quick browse on the titles you want, place an order and pay not just for the book but the shipping charges if the book is not on special free shipping offer. Then wait a few days or over the weekend before the package arrives at your doorstep.
But there’s a better way to get your reading material. Order the eBook version. You can get them from the comfort and privacy of your homes by ordering online. But if you are interested in the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Dickens, Poe, Hawthorne, Hemingway or any of the great literary artists of the past that are in the public domain, you can get free eBooks of their works online.
Benefits and Disadvantages
It’s easy to predict that just like the CD made obsolete the analog LP, the eBooks will soon make printed books obsolete. In the same way that online classified ads and news portals have not killed off the daily broadsheets, though admittedly they are suffering from reduced readership, it’s too early to prognosticate the demise of books. We’ll leave to history if they go the way of the dinosaurs. In the meantime, here are a few of the good and bad things one can say about either formats:-
Used as school and college textbooks, printed books consume about 200,000 tons of paper that require felling 4 million trees each year. This is about 20% of the total paper used in printing book. Obviously, if you’re one of these exposing eco-friendly or earth-friendly lifestyles, patronizing printed books is not a choice.
Books can be read even in the jungles or in the boondocks on extended camping trips for days. Unless you have a bagful of spare batteries, your Kindle or iPad won’t last more than 10 hours.
See if your Kindle or iPad can survive being dropped on concrete.
Reading books is the hallmark of being an intellectual. Reading on a Kindle or iPad is the hallmark of being a geek. It’s cool besides. Just don’t get caught reading a kindle when it starts raining.
Reading a paperback novel requires some effort to make the page remain open as the paperback loves to stay close. You have to resort to a bookmarking device inserted on your current page. Reading on a Kindle or iPad is effortless, though you need to stand the machine upright to be read.
You can store thousands of titles on your eBook readers that are smaller than a laptop. You need a room and some shelving furniture to do the same for books.
No paper books are free, though you can get some in less than a dollar or in buy-1-take-1 deals in thrift shops. But you can download free eBooks online in a matter of seconds at no cost.