Physical books vs ebooks

I won’t spend too long on this because the debate has gone on since ebooks were first introduced, and there’s totally valid points made by both sides of the dialogue that probably get into granular aspects that wouldn’t even occur to me and like everything everywhere that’s got any subjectivity to it, your proverbial mileage may vary.

Thus, my quick take on it.

I prefer the look and feel of a physical book, but I’m really coming around to the convenience of e-books.

My wife bought me a Kindle for my 40th birthday, which I was delighted by. But I discovered that I couldn’t borrow library ebooks through it. After approaching the Toronto Public Library with something of a probably snide flavour to my email, asking why they won’t let Kindles borrow their books, the far more professional response was that actually, they’d love to be able to make books available on the Kindle; it’s the Kindle that doesn’t want to let the Toronto Public Library (and almost certainly libraries from other cities) use their format. Amazon, for whatever reason, doesn’t care to play nicely with libraries.

Meanwhile, I discovered that the Kindle’s main competitor, the Kobo, has no problem borrowing ebooks from the library.

Having reached a breaking point with the Kindle, I went out some months ago and got myself a Kobo. And not just any Kobo, but specifically one that made the borrowing of books from the library dead easy (as opposed to a messy, multi-step process with other models, that involved downloading to a computer, connecting the Kobo to it and syncing them up, or somesuch silliness). This one has a built-in system to let me connect right with a library and get books onto the e-reader directly.

And it’s definitely nice to be able to carry around hundreds (I think I calculated north of a thousand) books on a device that’s bigger than a phone but still small enough to fit in a pocket. An added feature I’ve made use of recently: When I come across a word I don’t know, I hold my finger down on the word and it automatically does a dictionary search for me.

So yes, I still give physical books the edge overall, but there are more and more times I’d rather not have to go that route. I’m a little surprised to find that I’m getting pretty fond of my little Kobo.