30 BENEFITS OF EBOOKS

30 Benefits of Ebooks

Copyright © 2008 by Michael Pastore

1. Ebooks promote reading. People are spending more time in front of screens and less time in front of printed books.

2. Ebooks are good for the environment. Ebooks save trees. Ebooks eliminate the need for filling up landfills with old books. Ebooks save transportation costs and the pollution associated with shipping books across the country and the world.

3. Ebooks preserve books. (The library of Alexandria was burned and the collection ruined. Richard Burton’s wife, after his death and against his wishes, destroyed a book he had been working on for ten years. The original manuscript of Carlyle’s The French Revolution was lost when a friend’s servant tossed it into the fire.) Ebooks are ageless: they do not burn, mildew, crumble, rot, or fall apart. Ebooks ensure that literature will endure.

4. Ebooks, faster to produce than paper books, allow readers to read books about current issues and events.

5. Ebooks are easily updateable, for correcting errors and adding information.

6. Ebooks are searchable. Quickly you can find anything inside the book. Ebooks are globally searchable: you can find information in many ebooks.

7. Ebooks are portable. You can carry an entire library on one DVD.

8. Ebooks (in the form of digital audio books) free you to do other activities while you are listening.

9. Ebooks can be printable: and thereby give a reader most or all of the advantages of a paper-based book.

10. Ebooks defy time: they can be delivered almost instantly. Ebooks are transported to you faster than overnight shipping: in minutes or in seconds.

11. Ebooks defy space: ebooks online can be read simultaneously by thousands of people at once.

12. Ebooks are cheaper to produce. Thus, small presses can attempt to compete with media giants.

13. Ebooks are cheaper to buy.

14. Ebooks are free. The magnificent work of Project Gutenberg, and other online public libraries, allow readers to read the classics at no cost.

15. Ebooks can be annotated without harming the original work.

16. Ebooks make reading accessible to persons with disabilities. Text can be re-sized for the visually impaired. Screens can be lit for reading in the dark.

17. Ebooks can be hyper-linked, for easier access to additional information.

18. Ebooks — with additional software and hardware — can read aloud to you.

19. Ebooks let you tweak the style. Many ebooks allow readers to change the font style, font size, page size, margin size, colors, and more.

20. Ebooks may allow the option for the addition of multimedia: still images, moving images, and sound.

21. Ebooks, with their capacity for storage, encourage the publishing of books with many pages, books that might be too expensive to produce (and purchase) in paperback.

22. Ebooks — without outrageous DRM schemes — are made for sharing. Ebooks can be quickly duplicated, and then distributed to strangers or given to your friends. Worry no more about your loaned books that will never be returned.

23. Ebooks empower individuals to write and to publish, and in this way help to challenge “the crushing power of big publishing”, that excludes so many authors from the New York City publishing circus. Publishing can move from the impersonal and profitable, to the personal and pleasurable.

24. Ebooks — thanks to the simplicity and speed of publication and feedback — allow authors to experiment in many themes and styles.

25. Ebooks posted online encourage comments, corrections, and feedback — which eliminates mistakes and improves accuracy — especially important when dealing with scientific and technological issues.

26. Ebooks allow publishers to publish (and readers to read) works by a larger number of authors, and works on a wider variety of topics. Critics of traditional book publishing (such as Jason Epstein and Andre Schriffin) state that economic pressures have reduced and limited the number of authors and topics that traditional publishers will now produce.

27. Ebooks defeat attempts at censorship. All these works were banned: Analects by Confucius. Lysistrata by Aristophanes. Ars Amorata by Ovid. Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio by John Milton. The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne. Wonder Stories by H.C. Andersen. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Ulysses by James Joyce. … Many of these books were confiscated, burned, or denied availability in libraries, bookstores and schools. Ebooks guarantee that readers maintain their right to read.

28. Ebooks help paperbook publishers to sell paperbooks. Cory Doctorow has explained that the giving away of ebooks, for free, has helped to sell the paperback editions of his stories and novels.

29. Ebooks are evolving. As technology develops, ebooks may contain new features. For example, a book of recipes may contain a recipe calculator to figure how much maple syrup is needed to bake 200 cookies. An ebook that prepares you for the GRE could include an interactive test. An ebook about politics might allow you to click a link and register to vote, or send an email to a Congressman that tells him he is not a good environmental steward.

30. Ebooks are good for paperbook publishing. By setting an example for diversity and freedom of expression, ebooks may motivate the stagnant book publishing industry towards the renewal of small presses, the end of the blockbuster-bestseller publishing mentality, and a healthier balance between the needs of commerce and culture.

______________________________________________________________3jpeg-1.gif Lifehacker & epublishersweekly.blogspot.com

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for a terrific blog! As an E-book host, I appreciate any and all e-book promotion. However, your analysis is clearly a top ten on the topic. Superb job!

  2. BEEN READING eBOOKS TOO LONG?
    –Dan Poynter

    Not only are most of my books available as eBooks, I read a lot of eBooks. I am a publisher and a reader. That places me on both sides of publishing: as producer and consumer.

    My speaking travels average some 6,000 miles each week. Yes, 6,000; I made five around-the-world speaking itineraries this year. (I have a home in Santa Barbara but live on United Airlines.) Traveling as light as possible, I do not carry printed books. Think about it, even for a short trip, you would have to carry two books—in case you finished one. For the past several years, I have read eBooks on my Pocket PC.

    A Pocket PC is a multifunction device. Now I do not have to carry an address book, calendar, reference materials, paper books, etc.

    Then something happened. In December I was home for a couple of weeks. I had a couple of mass-market paperback that I wanted to read. They were not available as eBook editions so I decided to read myself to sleep with one of them.

    How awkward! With the printed book, you have to turn on the (bright) light. If you wake up in the middle of the night and decide to tire you eyes with reading, that light is dazzling! The eBook reader is back-lighted and very gentle.

    As a world traveler, I have become used to reading my eBooks in a taxi at five in the morning. Light? No thanks, my (back-lighted) book comes with a light.

    Holding a printed book (pBook) is awkward. It take two hands. Even a smaller mass market paperback is difficult. Have I been reading my Pocket PC with one hand too long?

    Bookmark? How Twentieth century! I don’t need a book mark. Nor do I have to deface the book by dog-earing it. The eBook remembers where I stopped reading and opens to that page when I turn it back on.

    Cost. The only reason I paid more for these pBooks is that they were not available as eBooks. I love these authors and have purchased everything they have written. How I wish all of their books were available electronically.

    Type.. Why can’t I adjust the size to the glasses I am wearing? It is easy with an eBook reader.

    Spelling. When not sure of a word in a pBook, I have to go find a dictionary. With my eBook, the dictionary is built-in.

    Convenience. I can download eBooks from anywhere in the world. I do not have to visit a bookstore or have Amazon deliver it.

    Disposal. I read a lot of books. What should I do with pBooks when I finish reading? My shelves are full.

    Electronic books are a far superior platform to dead-tree books for numerous reasons. But let’s be practical. After trying both—extensively, I prefer to annoy electrons than cut down trees. This is not just an environmental concern, it is a practical reading decision.

    I love eBooks.

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