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  • "Civilization is the multiplication of unnecessary necessities." – Mark Twain



    Do you kindle, ipad or nook? I don't, and I'll don my curmudgeon hat to tell you why.

    The least of it is that there are no "user-replaceable parts," including batteries, in most such devices. When your tablet runs out of juice, you may need to send it away – paying postage plus more than the cost of a battery – if you don't want to use it as a tea tray. Even if you mainly read them by flashlight, that's not a problem with printed books.

    Likewise, paper books never need their operating system upgraded or virus protection software downloaded, and if they have bugs they don't impede a read.

    Then there are legal restrictions on "content." When did you last have to assent to a license agreement in order to buy a printed book? Never, I'll bet.

    Can you sell your Tom Clancy eBook or donate it to a rummage sale? Probably not without including the device it's on.

    If you would like to have an e-reader because you can zoom in to see text more clearly, I've got a nice 5x magnifying glass I can sell you for $5 (batteries not included).

    Not enough room to store paper books? That can be a problem. If you have donated or sold all you want to get rid of and your bookshelves still overflow, try requesting your next few titles from your public library.

    Better yet, go through your own library, put aside books you haven't yet read or want to read again, and start with them.

    If you still value the sheer convenience of downloading reading matter, you still may not need an e-reader. You are probably reading this on a perfectly good computer, so why not use that?

    Maybe you like to make marginalia in your books as you read them. Some e-readers let you post virtual sticky-notes on their virtual pages. Did you know, however, that some of them might be sharing your notes with strangers who are reading the same title? Do you want them – or law enforcement agencies – to be reading over your virtual shoulder?

    The decision to buy and use an e-reader pretty much boils down to convenience. If none of the above concerns you, and especially if you read lots of books while moving around, perhaps you should get one, but don't say I didn't warn you.

    Get cozy and enjoy your reading matter, whatever medium you use!


    @image: Photo by ntr23 on flickr (cc, noncommercial use, attribute) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ntr23/5072794176/
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