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Friday, August 22, 2008

E-books: to print or not to print

One of the really cool things about AmblesideOnline is that you can find a lot of the books on the reading lists online in e-book format. This is really cool especially since they are FREE! (which is seriously one of my favorite words in the English language)

For us, the e-book option is also SUPREMELY helpful because we don´t have to buy and lug all the books from country to country as we travel. I can read the books wherever there is an internet connection or access to my laptop, where the books are also saved on my hard drive.

Now, keep in mind all this is coming from someone who LOVES books. I especially treasure the feel of pages in old books that are very delicate. I love the smell of an old book, I love libraries, I love bookstores, I especially love little bookstores with lots of old books. I own many books, and want to buy many more. But the simple fact of the matter is, that I can´t bring them all down here. Postage is atrocious, and books are heavy for luggage where these days every pound counts. If I could, I would much rather read a hold-it-in-your-hand-turn-the-page-put-a-bookmark-to-hold-your-place, kind of book.

But necessity has created another kind of beast... So, now I also love and collect e-books! hehehe. My hard drive is full of them :D

But what I have come to learn about e-books is that basically, you have several options. You can read the book right off the screen, or you can print the whole thing off on your printer. I have done both. I have read many long discussions on the AO yahoo group about how to print economically. I won´t go there. However, it is a toss up for me. I don´t like to spend the ink on printing, but I do like to hold the book in my hand.

We´ve found that the cuddle factor doesn´t come in for us, because with my laptop, we can cuddle almost just as well as we would with a book in hand.

What we do, is we read about half off the screen and half from books that we have. I find this a comfortable amount. I don´t print any books anymore. We used to read a lot more from the screen. That was fine too. This year I´ve ordered quite a few used books that I found cheap and my mom will graciously bring many of them down when she comes to visit us NEXT MONTH! (woohoo, I am SO excited!)

So, I have not yet answered the question whether or not to print your e-books... I think what I´d say without knowing everyone´s circumstances... I would say no. Instead of printing, save the money it would cost in printer ink to buy a used copy of the book. If you can´t afford it at this moment, read it from the screen of your computer, and if it was one of those books that you´d love to read again, buy it used the next time around. I kind of think of reading it off the screen as my preview of the book and if I just LOVE it, someday I´ll invest in the real thing.

I´d love to hear your comments on this one. What do you do with e-books, and why?


Anonymous said...

I love libraries, books, reading, etc...etc....However, (hold the gasp) I have never read an E-book. I can't seem to figure out how to do it....I can not believe I have admitted that!!

BTW: ahem, *whispering* blog warming party...I just added your very lovely NEW blog to my blog's sidebar (under homeschool blogs) where it will be at the top of the list every time it is updated. Does that get me another entry? *batting my eyelashes..again!*

Melissa Stover said...

i actually hate ebooks. i never look at them if i download them and i never end up printing them. i'm an old fashioned real booklover even though i have totally embraced reading blogs online, books are still a different subject.

Unknown said...

Space is a factor so I'm learning to love e-books.

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