When I took up the challenge of writing this article I knew it wouldn’t be easy since I’m pretty flexible with my reading habits. Sometimes I choose my Kindle e-book reader and other times there’s nothing better than opening a new world in paper form. For me, there are benefits for both.
The choice of the book really comes from my romantic side. The physical act of reading is more than just absorbing the story. It’s about the feel, the smell, the sound of the pages. There’s nothing better than picking a book from your full bookshelf and settling into a soft armchair.
There’s also that wonderful feeling of discovering a preloved treasure in the book shop or the pleasure of walking around your local bookstore and finding something new. It’s something that you don’t get with e-books. You can also find some real bargains if you look in the right places. In Preston there’s Oxfam Books, the used bookshops on Friargate and the free book exchange in Fishergate Shopping Centre.
However, if you want to experience the pleasure of a brand new book it’ll set you back on average between £7.99 and £16.99, depending on whether you are keen to read the hardback or paperback. The other big issue is space. As students we will probably share our homes with others and private space is limited to one room. It becomes difficult to store books and you might end up with bookish columns piled up in every corner, begging to be knocked over when you stumble in after a late night and waking up your disgruntled housemates.
The convenient alternative is the e-book reader. This useful little gadget appeals to the organised part of me. You can carry your library around in your purse, you can finish one book on the train and start another straight away without being overloaded with heavy paperbacks. Online platforms such as Amazon also offer affordable deals on e-books, starting from as little as 99p, and now have the Kindle Unlimited service, which allows you to download up to 10 books free of charge for as long as you like. Other resources, such as Project Gutenberg and Smashwords have a wide range of out-of-copyright classics that you can download for free. The e-book reader is simply useful for the budget-conscious student and those of us who wish to prevent long-term back pain.
In searching out the pros and cons of this list, I compared it to being asked if I prefer tea or coffee. I enjoy the little ritual of quietly brewing a pot of tea, but I also love the feel of an oversized mug in my hands, the rich scent of filtered beans and warmth of the coffee in my throat. Both are equally pleasant for me, so the idea of choosing one or the other feels unnecessary, and the same goes for my method of reading. Whichever you choose, you have already enriched your life by becoming a reader so sit back and enjoy.