I feel the need to write this post because of the heartache I felt when I came back to my hometown to live with my parents again. The first thing I inquire about are my books. So where are they? This list will answer, 10 Reasons why I prefer eBooks over real copy of books:
1Books are susceptible to fire.
No matter how careful you are, or your family, when you live in an urban poor community in the Philippines, when one of your neighbors isn't careful enough and her house is engulfed in fire, expect your house to be next.
We used to have 2 small dilapidated boarding houses of 2 storeys each. Those used to be 2 of our small businesses to keep money rolling. In one of it where we kept a sari-sari store (1-eighth the size of your typical convenience store) in the first floor, we kept some romance novels for the enjoyment of the saleslady (tindera, in the local language).
Those houses burned down along with the novels.
But why must I feel bad for the loss of my books when everybody else in the neighborhood of 2 barangays (yes, the fire consumed not a portion, but 2 barangays!) had lost their houses, their livelihood, pretty much most of their properties? I remember two of our close family friends then who spent P2million for their houses and lost them to fire in barely 4 years. We were lucky enough, we didn't really live in that place, only for a small business.
2Books are vulnerable to water.
When your country is home to supertyphoons, and pretty much seawater, expect to get wet!Like most of the time.
In a boarding house in another province, I have my books kept in boxes. But when a typhoon struck the province with that zigzagging downpour (think of a cyclone pattern), I can't help myself when all our windows start to leak! It's rescue time! Choose: appliances, clothes, closed boxes, furniture etc.
Months later, I invested on huge plastic boxes all worth the summation of approximately $88. Seems a bit late, huh?
3Surprise! Your books had just been eaten by termites!
This is the time when I finally went back home to inquire about our 2 bookshelves. Where indeed are the 2 shelves? And what happened to the room (that my sister and I used to share)?
With me gone for 7 years and my sister busy with work and her personal problems, the room was neglected. It was already late when my sister decided to grab a book from the shelf only to discover it has rotten in half. So then she just decided to burn everything down. What can you read with half a book anyway?
Goodbye our collection of Paulo Coehlo (that I didn't finish reading), goodbye The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, goodbye Dan Brown books, goodbye Judith McKnaught, goodbye Peter Pan, goodbye Mary and the Secret Garden, goodbye unread John Grisham, goodbye to you other books whose titles and authors I've forgotten...
I could accept both fire and water since you can't do anything when it comes to nature (except arson, that's human error). But termites? It's also nature but it could have been avoided!
The only consolation I have is that all my seven Harry Potter books are safe. Back in high school, I had each of them covered in G5 plastic covers. Yes, that thick with a meter at a price of $1.25. The jacket cover is one thing, the whole book engulfed in G5 plastic quite another. I guess my overprotectiveness over those books did pay off.
4eBooks are less than the price (mostly) of the paperback version.
I remember myself saving each day so I may get my Harry Potter book at the first day of release. A whooping $30-something was taken from me each time I buy a book of that series (that I'm only going to read in barely a day).
The paperback version is only around $8. But I always love the beauty of a hardbound. So screw the price!
But now with my demise with reasons 1-3, I'd rather stick with eBooks. With our broken businesses and being broke, cheap eBooks are a luxury.
5Books are bulky and heavy to bring.
Books are very engaging that you can't help yourself but bring them to school with you. Isn't it bothersome adding a BIG load of something to your small bag? I'm thinking of a hardbound Dance with Dragons (by George R.R. Martin), you know?
6Books require you to lend them as is, eBook you only need to share as a copy.
I remember in high school when my classmates would borrow my Harry Potter. As a real fan, to me, Harry Potter must be shared to diffuse its awesomeness. Imagine my disgust as the book is returned to me and I discover a page with a trace of spilled food in it! Covering it with white ink isn't enough when you know your book has been tainted!
7You don't need to turn on the light with an eBook.
The perks of reading a real book is that when you're so tired, you'd want to lie down on the bed. It's bothersome to have the light turned on. Even if you only have to turn on the desk lamp, the glare is equally as annoying.
With the light shining from your gadget as you read your eBook, it's like reading a magical book with its own source of light, with that page glowing right before your very eyes. Isn't that wonderful?
8Looking for a scene in a book? For someone? It's only Ctrl + F in eBooks!
I remember the need to quote a particular scenario from a book. I have to scan the whole chapter (when I do remember the chapter) just for that. If I can't remember which part of the book it was, I almost had to read the entire book again. But with eBooks, all you need is to click that search button and woolah!, your search is over at the click of your finger (literally).
9eBooks provide you some privacy.
The nice thing about eBooks is that others won't know just what book you're reading (unless someone has read that already). Why? They won't be seeing the cover! The eBook's just within your gadget anyway. You can even place this small gadget on your desk in the classroom and your teacher won't give a damn.
There won't be brows raised on you when they don't know you're reading an adult book (especially if you're into ménage or BDSM).
10You can bring a thousand eBooks with you anytime anywhere.
There's so much convenience with being able to bring a whole library with you in the guise of a small gadget. Need to do your homework? Only a click away! Bored with the eBook you are currently reading? Then choose another eBook!
Your shelf need not be vulnerable anymore. There are plenty of online services that will store information for you (though at a price).