E-readers and E-books have been gaining quite a lot of traction over the last couple of months. Ever since the release of Amazon's Kindle (which has since been followed by many other E-readers - some of which are far better than the Kindle), the debate about whether or not E-books are better than printed books has become quite the topic of conversation.
As devoted book lovers, our hearts certainly lie with print-based books, but that's not to say that we don't see the value of the E-reader - because we do.
We were all given some fabulous E-readers to play with (more about e-reader devices next week), and we came to the conclusion that while we won't give up print, we do see some pretty obvious benefits to owning one.
Here are our top 4 reasons why we think E-readers are worth investing in.
1. E-readers are portable.
What I really like about E-readers is that it doesn't take up any room or travelling space. Many E-readers range from being pocket-size to being large enough to fit in your handbag. The bookkeen reader that I tested had a protective pouch that I could carry the reader in and was easily able to fit into my handbag.
In short, these E-readers allow you to carry a substantial amount of reading material (depending on book size and memory available) - thereby solving the problem of luggage weight and enabling you to carry more than 10 books at a time with you without any physical effort on your part.
2. Instantaneous availability.
The great thing about E-books is that they're almost always instantly available for download. If you're ordering a traditional book online, you often have to wait for a period of almost 2 weeks in order to receive the book.
Also, if you're not a fan of trawling the mall and going to an actual book shop to buy books (Shockingly enough, there are people who don't like going to book shops), downloading E-books is the perfect way to go. It's ultimately a very convenient way to shop. Not to mention the fact that you're also more likely to receive a free e-book download than a free book.
It goes without saying that books are far more vulnerable to damage than E-books are, but I have to admit that I think this argument depends on how well the e-reader device is looked after and the device's shelf-life on the market. The major plus point here is that with E-readers, at least the pages or your books won't curl or tear and you certainly won't have to worry about breaking a book's spine.
4. Multimedia Interactivity.
Anyone have a chance to check the iPad out yet? Even though it is strictly not an e-reader, it does have e-reading software, which will really knock your socks off. I think that if there is one huge argument for E-readers, then multimedia interactivity would be it - provided of course that E-readers follow suite and go this route.
For those who don't know, Penguin publishers have recently started experimenting with interactive books on the iPad and I was recently given the chance to read Alice in Wonderland on one. I was instantly smitten. The book made use of a number of animation techniques, audio (you can even record your voice reading books), video and colour - something which I thought pretty nifty and which, you can bet your bottom dollar, that your kids will also love.
Tammy February is women24's book club editor. She likes E-readers, but her heart still lies with a good-old fashioned paperback novel.