the poor man’s Kindle


Not long ago my public library added e-books to their online collection which already includes audiobooks and movies.  I don’t think I’ll ever prefer reading an electronic book to a real paper one, but after downloading a few e-books for a test drive I’m definitely sold on some of their features—especially for nonfiction.

Some of the pros . . .

  • e-books can be checked out at any time of day—federal holidays, weekends, after hours—no holds barred
  • Adobe EPUB software (most of my library’s e-books use this format) is easy to install and navigate
  • bookmarking and printing functions make it easy to return to where you last stopped reading, find passages you enjoyed, and print information directly from the book (I had some trouble getting things to print how I wanted)
  • no paper = saving trees thing
  • It’s free!

Some of the cons . . .

  • There are only a certain number of purchased copies, so you still have to place holds and wait for your book to become available
  • You can’t bend the corners of the pages down
  • The selection of titles isn’t huge—but it’s easy to see that more and more publishers are jumping on board this train.  My library is adding copies almost daily.
  • Even with a laptop, bringing your book with you is a pretty big hassle.
  • Reading a book off of a screen just isn’t the same as turning the pages.

If you’re like me and won’t be getting a Kindle or and iPad any time soon, check out your public library and see if they have e-books.

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