I love e-books: books and other publications that are available in electronic format instead of on paper. I have several hundred such books stored on my desktop and laptop computers and many on a Barnes and Noble Nook, including newspapers, books downloaded from Google Books, and more. I read the local big-city newspaper every day on the Nook. I almost never print anything these days; I prefer to read text on a computer screen or on the Nook. Others use an Amazon Kindle, an Apple iPad, or similar tablet book readers.
Making the switch from printed documents to an on-screen display of the same information is a significant psychological adjustment. For a while, it felt "funny" to read books, newspapers and newsletters on a computer screen. I started with an Amazon Kindle, then later switched to a cheaper (and more powerful) Barnes & Noble Nook. The adjustment was easier on the Amazon Kindle as its "e-paper" display is much closer to printed paper. Once I became accustomed to reading things on-screen, I found the process to be easier than ever. Searches are usually easier since many online documents allow one to quickly search for any word or phrase. Of course, e-books are also cheaper and eco-friendly; I no longer consume as much paper and laser printer toner as I used to.
I suspect that the economics of publishing books on paper will eventually mean the end of paper-based genealogy books, as well as all sorts of other books and newspapers. A printed book costs a lot more to publish than an e-book. Consumers and publishers alike will appreciate the savings available when publishing electronically.
Reading documents on a computer screen is good, but the use of a portable reader with "e-paper" is much better. For instance, use of an Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook simplifies the process. These devices have high-contrast screens that often are easier to read than paper. In fact, optometrists and ophthalmologists often prescribe the use of e-book readers to their patients suffering with vision problems. All of today's e-book readers have instantly-adjustable font sizes, varying from very small to very large. Any book displayed in an e-book reader can instantly convert to a “large print edition,” all at a price that is a fraction of the expense of printing a large print edition on paper. As a result, many more books are available in large print than ever before.
Many of us like the “look an feel” of paper books, especially old books. However, that is obviously a psychological preference, not a demonstrated need. Once you become used to reading information on the screen, the desire to kill trees is reduced.
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