If you’ve been following this blog, you might know that I love to read. I’m not a fast reader and I don’t read as much as many other people, but reading is something I enjoy. It opens new worlds to me and widens my perspective.
Recently I found something that pretty much revolutionizes my reading life: Kobo. I first heard about it from a comment by M. A. Tohami (thanks Tohami!). Kobo is an online book store that allows you to buy e-books and read them on a device of your choice.
I know this is an old thing for you who live in the United States and some other countries. Amazon has been doing it since 2007 with the release of Kindle. And Apple has also entered the space in 2010 with iBooks. But neither the Kindle or iBooks is available in the country where I live, Indonesia. For me, the best available way was to buy physical books from Amazon. There are two problems with it:
- Shipping cost. Since I live far away from the United States, it costs a lot to ship a book. Shipping costs almost as much as the book itself. This makes getting those books relatively expensive.
- Shipping time. It takes about three weeks for the books to arrive through postal mail. I could get them sooner using FedEx, but it would cost too much.
Now with Kobo, I can eliminate those two problems. Unlike Kindle or iBooks, Kobo is available here. And, being e-books, there’s no shipping cost or shipping time. The price of most e-books are cheaper than the physical ones at Amazon (most e-books cost $9.99) and I can download them immediately. To read the e-books, I use the Kobo app on my iPod Touch.
Not only does it cost less time and money to get the books, but also I prefer to read e-books this way than reading physical books. Here are three reasons why:
- I can easily bring the books everywhere. Since all the books are in my iPod touch, I can simply put the device into my pocket and bring it everywhere I go. Whenever I have spare time during the day (for example, while waiting in a queue), I can take the device and read a book.
- The size is smaller. The size of the iPod Touch is smaller than a physical book. This makes reading more convenient for me. I can hold the device with just one hand and use my finger to flip through the pages.
- I can read in any position I want. The screen itself has a light source, so I don’t depend on external light for reading. This means that I can read in practically any position and condition. In bed, before sleeping, I often read a few pages. Sometimes I even read in the dark.
All in all, I now read more than before because it’s more convenient to read.
One more advantage I haven’t mentioned is space. Physical books take space, but e-books don’t. Replacing physical books with e-books mean that I would save a significant amount of space in the years to come.
What about you? Do you prefer to read e-books or physical books?
Photo by caseydavid
I do like the concept of Ebooks, and they are cool to read from, but I prefer physical books for their various features. I like having a sense of the books pages and size based on how the book holds in the hand. It is nice to write on a page and to have a sense of what page the note was on. Also, being able to put a bookmark in is nifty.
I like both, but I prefer physical books for now.
Yes, physical books do have some features that e-books don’t have. You described them well.
I am of interest at your syaing that kobo ebooks is available in Indonesia.
I myself live in Indonesia, but was having trouble purchasing ebooks, the payment department stating that the book “is not available at your location”.
Do you have any ideas about this?
Unfortunately, some books on Kobo aren’t available internationally. I had the same experience as you for a few books. But the good news is that most books are available.
I am also a big fan of the ebook, I just wrote my first one.
There was a time when I wanted to have a personal library full of books. Now I don’t need it.
I haven’t written any yet 🙂
That’s something I like about e-books: I don’t have to provide the space for a library. I already have quite a lot of physical books though.
I’ve written an e-book that I give away for free, but I still prefer print books.
For sheer productivity purposes, there have been studies that prove that humans read from traditional words on paper faster than on a screen, though the difference is slight.
But there’s just something about having a book in front of me, and being able to look at it from time to time on my bookshelf, that e-books can’t offer me.
I still enjoy them with they’re convenient though!
Physical books do carry certain feeling with them. I agree, e-books can’t offer that.
I too love ebooks. I often hear the argument that it is ‘so much nicer to hold a real book’ – especially people who read a lot. However I find this strange, especially from people obsessed with books. As the number one feature of a book for me is the words – surely that is the most important thing.
I also find I read more now that I own a Kindle. If I finish a book half way through my commute I can instantly begin another – as I am carrying around a library of books with me. If I had a physical book I would just put it down and probably not start another book for a while.
I’ll be checking Kobo to see if they have books that are not available in the Kindle store.
You pointed out another benefit of e-books I didn’t think about.
To be honest, I doubt Kobo has books that Kindle doesn’t already have.
It’s a good concept though. I would prefer to use e-books when I can’t go for physical books. this is surely an alternate and cost saving. Both has its advantages and disadvantages…we have to do what suits us better in particular circumstances.
I agree with you. People have different circumstances so they must find what suit them better.
I actually love listening to audio books, I really absorb the material if the narrator is good, drawback being if the narrator is horrible it puts me off the whole book so I have to look for the book in e-book. I above all love physical books, but to very honest I never read from them and just go into book stores to browse, not so much buy anymore.
I’ve never listened to audio books but it seems to be a good way to “read” books, especially while commuting.
i can share it easily with other 😀
because sharing is fun.
anyone has the link? :p
I’ve noticed a lot more people using kindle devices here in London. I’m amazed at how similar the electronic pages look to real ones. The issue I have is choice. I took a sample of 15 books from my bookshelf and searched for them on Amazon. None was avaiable in ebook form. Popular titles are available but if your interests tend towards non-fiction and more academic titles, then the ebook argument is less compelling. At least at the moment.
I (also) love to read (and often reread)and have 2 book shelves crammed with my favorites. I’m about to do something I said I’d never do – buy a Kindle. I live on an Island – the Borders here has just closed. Amazon works fine as long as I’m willing to wait (and wait!) for the book to arrive. Finally decided the time has come.
I think ebooks have an advantage over regular books as well, but I still prefer paper books for one reason. SHARING.
I get much more enjoyment out of lending a book and discussing it then to just read it by myself.
I tried going the ebook route, downloading books to my iPod touch with the Kindle app. I read about 5 books this way and then went back to using “real” books from my local library.
I agree with you that the convenience of being able to carry all of your books in your pocket is pretty amazing. I think it was the tiny screen that finally did me in and had me back to using real books.
I’m an avid reader and I love e-books. I buy mine at Barnes and Noble and I read them using their Nook reader.
Wow, I love the idea of carrying 5 books in one device. And yet, I am truly attached to the kinesthetic experience of holding a physical book. Part of reading is that neurological relationship, its weight, its smell, the feel of the paper. Of course, I can form another relationship but for right now I’m sticking with my sensory pleasures.
Thanks for an interesting post and view point. Great to keep the mind opening.
Have you ever considered secondhand books?
If you buy them from Amazon and live within the US, the total can be under $10.
I like both and I use both, for different purposes. My problem is that I like to buy a lot of books because I love the sense of informational power that they give me. The problem is that I generally don’t have the time or convenience to read through all of the text, and much of the time I just buy them for the ease of deeper reference and most of my physical books have vivid images on many of the pages to provide visual aids to the concepts they are describing. It is very hard to focus on text when I have many books like this.
I purchased a Kindle after trying my boyfriend’s when I first started dating him. I loved the way that it provided little in the way aside from reading text, which was, seemingly, it sole purpose. It is very hard to get distracted by images or even other outside influences when I am reading my Kindle. This effect is further intensified when I plug in my headphones and listen to music I chose specifically to enhance my reading focus. (ie. classical and jazz) The benefit of being able to read in direct sunlight (reading in the dark disturbs my sleeping habits) in the same way a book would read is a plus. Also, as I learned when I moved in with my bf and had to move dozens of 60+ lb boxes filled with my physical books, the fact that your entire library, potentially up to 35,000 books, can be held in one place in something a tenth of the size of a paperback, is also a great asset. It’s an ease to switch to something else when you get bored of reading something without having to add weight to my backpack or plan ahead for it.
I wish I could’ve had this during college and had my textbooks available on this. The ability to take handwritten notes with text recognition would also be an awesome addition to this. I would be able to easily prepare for tests and classes with the huge amount of focus e-readers give me.
But I still like my physical books to flip through and gain enjoyment from. Nothing beats full color glossy images in physical form, and the friendly weight of a book in your hand at home in your personal library.
Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive are what convinced me about Ebooks.
Huge numbers of out of print books on obscure subjects as well as classic literature available for free.
You’re most welcome Donald. I’m glad you like Kobo and the revolutionary device – iPad
First time commenter! Great blog you got here Donald.
I’m more of a physical book person myself. Reason being I love the feeling of a hardcover book in my hands. The feeling of going through the crisp pages and the smell of a new book.
I’ve always been going down to my local park, find a spot under a tree and start reading. This is relaxation in it’s purest form for me.
I would just feel having to bring a laptop would kill a little bit of the magic of a real book. Call me a romantic… But books are just better 🙂
Hai im from indonesia too, mau tanya, tahap2 cara beli buku lewat amazon gimana sih? Boleh tolong jelasin :)? Ur answer would be veeery appreciated 😉
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