Oh, and for those that love reading too.
I detest clutter. My bookshelf is a hodgepodge of university textbooks, Toastmaster manuals and voluminous works on random topics. After I finish each, I ask myself:
Are these to collect dust? Will I haul the hardcover 700-page work on the Aztec Empire while travelling? Or, will it sit there? On my shelf. As a testament to my reading?
Don’t get me wrong: many of us revisit books. Perhaps it was a passage that conveyed strong emotion. Or, we felt transported to a time that connected with us on a deeper level.
But why keep physical books in your home when all can be stored in an e-reader? Thousands of books and endless pages can fit in the palms of your hands. Chapters, passages can easily be navigated to by the touch of a finger, highlighted and bookmarked.
I find this debate to be polarizing for some. So here goes: my pitch to ditch the physical book and hitch your wagon onto the humble e-reader!
Physical Books and Ergonomics.
E-readers are nothing new and have been around for at least a decade. And yet, bookshelves remain packed. In fact, Ikea’s Billy Bookcase remains one of its top-selling items of all time.
If taking up precious living room space was not enough, let’s talk ergonomics. It’s easy to throw a small novel into your work bag and open with relative ease on the subway.
But then, there are the behemoths.
The 900-page hardcover thin-paged biographies. Who are you kidding? You’re not getting through 900 pages on the subway in one sitting. Yet you must lug all 900 pages. Prop all pages on your lap and get through the 9 page turns before your stop. If your ride is especially long, you experience less blood flow to your legs due to the pressure on your thighs.
E-readers are great because its size remains the same despite the book you are reading.
The Form Factor.
I’ll admit there is something about reading a physical book. Turning a page ignites the touch and feel of paper between the fingers. Aural sensations are enlivened with every page turn.
An e-reader does not engage the senses in the same way. Instead, the e-reader’s form factor provides convenience above all else.
The overall size of most e-readers are no bigger than a typical novel, and a third of its thickness. Most of its heft is the plastic encasing: sizeable borders around the page to rest your thumbs and palm. This natural holding pattern is beneficial, particularly when reading large books. While you may be engrossed in the Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi, the form factor makes you feel like you’re reading a novel.
And that feeling is important.
It’s Easy(ier) on the Eyes.
Within an hour of use, the effects of using a computer sink in. The muscles in your neck, shoulders and back feel the reality of sitting for extended periods. For many, reading a e-book on a computer is not possible for these reasons. There is something to be said for the soothing comfort of curling up with a great book without gazing into a screen emitting blue rays.
E-readers are built mindful of this experience. A computer is for completing tasks. A book is to challenge the brain in a different manner. The backlight on the E-reader is particularly soft, while the font stands out. The benefit is the light can adjust based on your surroundings and the font colour can be emboldened. This customization when combined, provides a unique reading experience that a physical book cannot. While lighting conditions can be adjusted, fonts cannot.
De-Clutter with an E-Reader
Physical books will always have a place in our lives. Nothing can replace the touch, feel and aural sensations heightened as a result of flipping through a book. The maps, photographs and imagery found in physical books cannot easily be replicated on an E-reader. The screen would need to have a higher pixel density, faster refresh rates and emit more blue light in the process.
But still, there are many books that we do not need in our dwelling that are simply better read on an E-reader.
Clutter is to fill or cover with scattered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness. As space becomes a premium, particularly in our large cities, doing more with less is critical. One technology can replace items encompassing plenty of physical space.
And that is the E-reader.