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Give eBooks a Chance

I may ruffle some feathers with this post, but I'm just going to say it. If you're a serious reader, you need a Kindle. Or ereader of any sort, but let's face it, when most people say ereader, the first thought that pops to mind is the Amazon's Kindle reader. To many, this may seem an innocuous statement, but there is a belief among rabid traditionalists that the reading experience is better with a physical book.


And I say a big, fat phooey to that.


I love reading. Love it. Ever since I developed that love, I've carried around books with me. I've spent an inordinate amount of money on them. I've savored and loved them.


I never thought I'd like an ereader. I was part of the crowd that was convinced that electronic pages just couldn't compare to the feel of turning the pages yourself and the smell of plastic paled next to the smell of paper and ink. When they first came out, I poo-pooed them and swore I'd never go down that route. I was a serious reader, and serious readers buy real books.


Then the fateful trip to Hawaii. I was off to Maui for two weeks and stuffed my luggage full of books to read. I spent a lot of time doing the book shuffle, moving them from various carry-ons and checked bags, trying to get in as many as I could while staying within the luggage restrictions.


I had nothing to do but sit on the beach and out on the condo's lanai, pouring through my books and ended up going through all of them before the flight back home. I found myself longing for books I'd left at home and frustrated that I couldn't get to them. When I got back home, I started looking into the ereaders.


You see, the beauty of an ereader is that no matter where you are, you have a book. Hundreds of books. Thousands. Not to mention the millions on Amazon. In one light, portable piece of electronics, you have an endless supply of literature. I am never bored because I always have a book on me. If the book I've chosen doesn't work for me, no biggie. Just download another one.


Because of that easy access, I read all the time. Sitting in a line? I'm reading on the Kindle app on my phone. Waiting for someone? I'm grabbing my Kindle from my purse. I'm almost always reading or re-reading something.


On top of all that, ebooks are much better priced than physical books. If you love classics, you'll never have to pay for a copy ever. Between places like Project Gutenberg and the fact that Amazon carries a lot of the classics for free or only a buck, you've got an instant, cheap supply of books. And most libraries have ebooks you can borrow, and Amazon has discount books all the time, in addition to the hundreds of daily email newsletters out on the web that will let you know about free and discount ebooks out there.


I won't argue whether or not the experience itself is better with a physical or digital book, but I will argue that after I got used to the ereader, the benefits of the ereader far outweigh how good books smell or feel in your hands. I've read far more since getting an ereader than ever before, and the instant gratification of digital is so worth it.


Now, I do know people who can't read on screens for long periods of time, and if you're one of those people, then ereaders may not be such a great thing, but if you're just holding onto your paper copies because that's what you're used to, then I beg you to try out an ereader. Really try it out. Use it for a month as your primary reading source and see how great it is.


I guess what I'm saying is that if you've given a fair shake to them and they just don't work for you, then fine. But most people I know who turn their nose up at them haven't really given them a chance. The ease, cost, and instant gratification of the digital medium isn't something to pass up.


An Economical Option

eBooks are amazing. Seriously amazing. One of the things I love about ebooks over print books is that they are a lot easier to get your hands on for free or deeply discounted.


I'm not talking about pirating books, but there's a plethora of options out there for finding deeply discounted ebooks. Because their overhead cost for distributing them is nothing (compared to the cost of printing a book and shipping it somewhere), there's a lot of authors and publishers that are willing to slash the price.


Now, if you're looking for a very specific book, then you'll probably have to gird your loins and spend the cash, but if you're just looking for a book in your favorite genre, then there's a lot of options out there. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favorite places to find these little gems.


1. Kindle Daily Deals

Amazon has a TON of deals. Besides the fact that every genre they carry has a list of bestselling free books, they also have lot of monthly deals, sales, and other goodies. One of the best is the Kindle Daily Deals. Every day they pick four or five books to offer on sale. Most of these books are quality books and bestsellers, so that's definitely a good place to start.


2. Overdrive

A lot of public libraries are connected into the Overdrive website, which carries ebook and audiobooks. You'll have to check with your own local library, but all you need is a library card, and you can start downloading ebooks and audiobooks. If your library doesn't use Overdrive, I'd be willing to bet they have some other digital database available. In this digital age, I haven't been to many libraries that don't offer that option.


3. Project Gutenberg

If you like classic novels, you need to check out Project Gutenberg. They have a huge catalog of copyright free titles that you can download and put on your Kindle. They don't have pretty covers or fancy formatting, but they have the book in its entirety, which is the important thing. Amazon also carries a lot of classic titles for free, but Project Gutenberg has a much larger free library.


4. BookBub

There are a lot of free and discount ebook newsletters you can sign up for, and BookBub is the most well known and best quality out there. Everyday they will email you links to books in the genres you're interested in, and the selection is quite good. It's not uncommon to find bestsellers. 


5. My Book Cave

This is one of my favorite newsletter-based services because they offer something different than others. Every book is rated for content, so you can see what the language, violence, and sexual content is of the book. For some of you, you may not care about it, but if you do, you definitely need to sign up for My Book Cave. I've found a lot of good books there. Granted, even if you don't care about that content rating service, they still have a good selection of ebooks everyday.


6. Book Barbarian

This is for fans of sci-fi and fantasy. They're another newsletter-based service like BookBub, but they specialize solely in those two genres.


There are a lot of other options out there (Fussy Librarian, Book Gorilla, Book Lemur, etc. etc. etc.), but those are a few of my favorites that I use on a regular -- if not daily -- basis. As I said before, if you want a specific book, then you're probably better off paying full price, but if you're just looking for good reads in general, there's no need to break down and spend a ton of money. Some of my favorite books I've read in the last couple years have been ones I've gotten for free or discounted.

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