eBooks are the Best for Travelers

Why Ebooks are Best for Travelers

I really hate to say this, but I’m a huge fan of eBooks now.  I don’t think I’ll take a hard copy book on a trip again.

Why I Dislike eBooks

I resisted as long as I could.  I love real books and the feel of them in my hand.  I think eBook services and publishers are shady.  I wrote my first research paper in library school on eBooks and how they erode libraries’ missions to serve their patrons and protect their privacy, their rights, especially patrons with disabilities.

How I Came Around

But, push came to shove and I had to get off my soapbox when I spent a month in London on business.  There was no room in my suitcase for a month’s worth of reading material.  Buying books while I was there was not an option — the exchange rate is horrendous.

Mr. P and I decided to try out eBooks on our tablets during our weekend trip to Ireland in March.  It just worked.  I went eBook-only for the month in London.  When we went to Italy for two weeks this summer, it was eBooks again.  We didn’t even bring a hard copy guidebook.

Why eBooks are Fabulous for Travelers

Not having to pack multiple books.  Not every traveler is a bookworm, but we are.  It was amazing to not have to carry heavy books (even paperbacks) in our luggage or carry ons.  I gained so much purse space by just using my tablet!

Not worrying if you will “run out” of stuff to read.  My tablet will hold a ton of material.  I read more in Italy than I ever have on a vacation because I didn’t need to worry if I’d have enough book left for the plan ride home.

They can be cheap or free.  You can get books that are in the public domain for free.  Mr. P is in the middle of Les Miserables and was easily able to find a copy for his tablet.  Plus, you can check out books from your local library.

Libraries are accessible wherever there’s an internet connection.  This was the best.  Whenever we finished a book, we could log on and get another one.  Taking an afternoon rest in one of our apartments in Italy, we’d finish a book and get another one immediately.  I tore through a book faster than I thought I would during an airport delay in Rome.  I was able to download another one before boarding our 11-hour flight home.

You can belong to more than one library for better selection.  Every library has different contracts with eBook providers.  I belong to my city’s library system and also the county system.

They can be used during takeoff.  This used to be one of my biggest complaints with eBooks.  Remember when you had to turn off all electronic devices before takeoff?  Since that’s not the case anymore, I can seamlessly read in the boarding area, after I take my seat, and all the way through takeoff.

I’m a total turncoat even though I still have philosophical issues with the eBook business.

How do you read when you travel?

Photo courtesy Maria Elena via Creative Commons license.

8 thoughts on “eBooks are the Best for Travelers

  1. I got my first Kindle as a Christmas present (I practically begged for it) back in 2009 and life has never been the same since. As much as I like real books – I still buy them – it just made more sense to get a ebook reader as I seriously didn’t have any space to store the books I knew I would be buying. When it broke last Christmas, I cried (my mother told me she knew it was as if I had lost my best friend – tells you a lot about what my parents think about my social life) but I did get a new one. I’m never gonna have enough of real paper books – don’t you just love the smell? – but when it definitely is much more practical when travelling or when you tend to move around a lot (like me). I haven’t yet tried out the renting out section yet but I have so much reading material right now that I doubt I’m gonna need any thing until next year.

    • I agree. I’m never going to get rid of paper books, but I am going to be much more selective. You should try out renting/library books when you have time — it’s amazing!

  2. I started with a Kindle and a year later upgraded to the kindle paperwhite. Having a back lit book without the glare is amazing. I was like you, and the same Christmas I received my kindle, I received other hard cover books. When I finished reading them, I started on the Hunger Games Trilogy on my Kindle. THAT converted me. Three books formatted so I can read them back to back with zero pause and zero hassle of carrying three books??? SOLD.

  3. I am a gadget freak so I bought a Kindle DX (no backlight, reading only) in 2010 and realized I didn’t love it. I even tried to sell it, but it was an expensive one and no one wanted to buy it so I just kept it around.

    I rediscovered it on vacation and in the last 18 months, I’m totally sold. Our library has made it easier to find and download Kindle books (though mine is so old that I have to actually plug it in to my PC to transfer), and as I’m Kon-Mari-ing everything, I’m glad not to acquire tons of new books. However if I absolutely LOVE a reference/non-fiction book, like the KonMari book or Laura Vanderkam’s books, I do buy a hardcopy. But fiction I’ll probably only read once? eBook all the way.

  4. When I saw your bold line “I Hate eBooks”—I was already to come back at you with arguments in favor of them. I, too, have always preferred “real” books—loving the tactile experience. But, I got a bare basics—first Kindle about 6 years ago for Christmas. I debated about taking it back even before opening. My husband convinced me to give it a try. OMGosh! I could never go back now. In fact, I have a friend that continually “loans” me her books. I haven’t had the heart to tell her that I always end up just downloading it to my Kindle! What saddens me the most is that I have a beautiful library full of books that are gathering dust. Still, I will sit in front of the fire in there and read with my Kindle. I guess I should look at it as “old” meeting “new”! Yes, times, they are a changin’!! I’m still using that first Kindle—it can’t do anything but let me read on it. I don’t need it for anything else. I guess the only real thing I dislike about it is that I do not see the cover or author of the books—which makes me a bit ignorant about what I’m reading and who it’s written by. I used to have an excellent knowledge of authors and books. Now, not so much. Oh, and I love that I have the Kindle app on my phone—so now I can read anywhere, anytime.

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