Why Ebooks?



What are some leading ereader and ebook advantages?

These comments are based on the Kindle platform, but other types of ereaders carry similar benefits.



1. Convenience, especially in portability and availability. You can carry with you amazing amounts of material at the weight of about half a pound and at a quite manageably small size. A long-term result is that when you have to change residences, you do not need cardboard boxes for this part of your library. It will be weightless.

2. Lightning fast lookup of words and complete coverage. To find a certain word or phrase is an easy, almost instantaneous operation. You can go to all occurrences sequentially with the certainty that every one of them is being found. What is extraordinarily slow and difficult, or even nearly impossible in hard-copy format is now simple.

3. Note-taking and highlighting abilities. With an ereader your finger gains the power to become a yellow (or green or blue or orange) highlighter. By pressing on the word a certain way and swiping, you can highlight significant phrases or passages to which you wish to return later, and you also can type in a note if you choose. The index of your highlights and notes is available at the touch of a button. This is an extremely valuable function for writers and editors. Imagine being able to highlight just the items you want to review in a wordlist or dictionary, for example, with perhaps a note including an example of usage that you just noticed in your reading.

4. Second or improved editions are easier to produce and often can be gotten by the purchaser at no extra charge. You may have to ask the vendor to "push" the new edition to your device, but you probably can get the updated version without paying any more. This may not apply when the earlier edition continues to be sold separately.

5. Minimal expense. These books can be produced and sold for less than the price of a dinner appetizer. This should appeal to teachers and students especially. As some publishers begin to charge $200 to $300 or more for individual books (often to the diminishment of the tree-populations of the earth), ebook publishers can get by with under $10 per book and make valuable material more easily available. Those publishers who continue to charge high prices for ebooks can easily be undercut by enterprising, less profit-driven educators and entrepreneurs.

6. Bookmarks. You can make multiple bookmarks for many works, with your last place in each book that you are reading always being given an automatic one.

7. Easy research and near-instantaneous acquisition. Vendors have made it very easy to acquire desired material by shopping on and downloading to the very device on which it will be used, without limiting the usage to that device or requiring the proprietary hardware.

8. Clean copies of out-of-copyright material. Many vendors are selling old works through "page-facsimile" reproductions (scanned photographic captures), but such versions keep all the imperfections of typeface and content. Re-edited ebook digital-text versions are cleaner, easier to read, and searchable.

9. Safety. Your reading material is "ever-clean" and "ageless" — no bugs, spots, germs on the works themselves. The ereader may need an alcohol swipe now and then.

10. Aesthetics. Yes, hard-copy books have an aesthetic appeal and physical properties that do not exist with e-editions. On the other hand, different aesthetic properties, including clarity and perfection of typeface; easy management of otherwise bulky or cumbersome format; and page-illumination adjustment compensate more than adequately for those losses. With ebooks you often even have the ability to change the display of fontfaces, fontsizes, line-spacing and more. The limitations in ebook displays (e.g., difficult rendering and placement of tables and graphics) have already been or are likely to be eliminated with further technological development.

11. [For authors] Editorial freedom. If you are the producer of the volume, you are not constrained by some unknown editor's possibly questionable preferences or by some publisher's judgments of short-term profitability or by some ill-informed and distracted professional reviewer's over-hasty consideration of your work or by the length of the queue of submissions ahead of you. You book may be better (often only marginally) with an editor and a long review process that happens to end in the acceptance of your work, but you can be many times as productive and many times less frustrated without them. If there are mistakes, you can tweak these for the next edition. Revisions do not need to be submitted to a lengthy review process and a major effort for reprinting. Criticisms and reviews of the book can be placed on the very page at which the book is available for purchase. Low-quality material can easily be branded as such. Erroneous reviews can be given immediately available responses (through a commenting function).

12. [For authors] Universal availability. Upon submission and processing (often taking less than 24 hours), the book can be available around the world (although some authors or vendors or countries might put restrictions on the market).








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© Claude Pavur 2016.