Reading on the Kindle is becoming better and better over time, but there are some downsides that even the perfect e-readers can’t overcome. There are quite a few benefits that people sticking to their e-readers are missing out on. Here are some of the things that people in love with their e-readers should be wary of.
1. You absorb less.
The detraction against e-readers that’s getting the most attention is the evidence that, when you use e-readers, you don’t absorb as much of the text. A study covered by the Guardian gave 50 readers a short story to read, half on a Kindle and half in paperback. The people who read the story on a Kindle were found to remember far less plot details such as characters, settings and objects. The lead researcher theorized that the act of flipping pages give readers of physical books a sense of progress that readers of e-readers lack.
2. You can’t take easy notes.
On e-readers there is no truly efficient way to take notes. The process is twenty times clunkier than taking a highlighter to a paperback. This is a major problem for people that read for research purposes, rendering especially e-ink readers largely ineffective. Those type of people would be better off reading print copies or with tablets.
3. It’s harder to flip backward/forward.
Flipping through pages is one of the most significant features that separates printed books from e-readers. With a Kindle or a Nook you’re either dealing with a small touch screen or turning a page at a time. If you need to reference different parts of your book frequently, a physical book is the way to go.
4. No color.
E-readers like the Kindle and Nook with only black, white and shades of gray will never do art books the justice they deserve, and that’s only one kind of book that needs color. A lot of book categories (such as travel and nature) would benefit from color photographs. Most comic books that aren’t The Walking Dead are collected as full-color graphic novels. Even novels can benefit from a splash of color (The Awkward Human Survival Guide uses the occasional red to great effect). Never underestimate the limitations of e-readers that lack the full color spectrum.
5. You don’t get to feel a book in your hands.
Holding a book, especially a well-worn book with a lot of character in the form of tears and crumpled pages, is a cherished experience, bringing you back to the first time you read it. Plus, every time you read that book again you add a little more history to it. The same connection can’t be easily achieved with e-readers.
6. You have nothing to put on your bookshelf.
For a long time, the bookshelf was a literary buff’s trophy room. Up for display are all the great fiction and nonfiction that they’ve enjoyed over the years. Well, ostensibly; we all know the poser who keeps the work of Shakespeare on his shelf to impress us. As e-readers rise in popularity, the bookshelf-as-trophy room is becoming a thing of the past, and that’s a very sad thing.
7. You can’t sell it later.
This is especially a concern if you’re buying textbooks, which even as e-books are wildly overpriced. Amazon is a great resource for selling used textbooks at a price close to the amount you paid for it. If you’re spending the little money you have as a student for overpriced files for your e-readers, then not only will you suffer from all of the other disadvantages on this list, you won’t be recouping any of that heavy cost.
8. You can’t get it signed.
There’s little more satisfying than reading your favorite book after it’s been signed by the very person who wrote it, and few moments as special as getting it signed in the first place. You can’t get those moments with e-readers, unless maybe you get the signature engraved on the back of your Kindle/Nook. Actually, that would be kind of awesome.
Featured photo credit: Karin Lizana via flickr.com