I didn't always like reading. When I was very young, my parents couldn't get me to read. I was behind in the school reading level, and they spent hours with me trying to get me to learn to read. I wouldn't have any of it, I just wasn't interested.
I wasn't interested, that is, until I found out that reading could actually be fun. I was pretty horse crazy as a little kid, and once I got my hands on some “horse books” I went from barely being able to read to a 12th grade reading level by the time I was out of elementary school.
After that, I couldn't stop reading. I regularly used to get in trouble at school for reading a book during class instead paying attention to the teacher, and my collection of books expanded accordingly.
Things haven't changed much since my horse crazy days, I still love to read. Unfortunately, I'm responsible for buying my own books now, and with my strict budget and debt repayment schedule, I can't afford to purchase several books a month to satisfy my reading appetite.
Not only that, but I also have a hard time stomaching spending $20 or so per book. I love reading, but that's a high cost for something I may very well read only once.
There's also my minimalist tendencies to consider. I live in a 400 square foot house, with one book case. Needless to say, shelf real estate is at a premium. The poor thing is already heaving and groaning under the weight of all my books, I can't add any more. I also hate lugging piles of books from apartment to apartment, and since I move fairly frequently, this is a factor that can't be ignored.
eBooks to the Rescue
I've only recently come around to the ebook craze. I was very resistant at first because I never thought I'd be able to get used to reading a book on a screen. I was also deeply attached to the idea of being able to physically handle my books and turn the pages.
Things started to change when I got my smart phone. It was the first device I was able to read a book on, and it's when my opinion started to turn. I had some books in storage and instead of digging them out, I downloaded their ebook counterparts, which happened to be free because they were classics.
The convenience of ebooks came immediately apparent. Since I was reading them primarily on my smart phone, I always had one with me. I could read my book literally anywhere, without having to lug a big heavy book around in my purse. I could also read it at night, in bed, without having to turn a lamp on. My fiance really appreciated this.
eBooks are a Minimalist‘s Dream
At first the idea of not being able to handle the physical book was disconcerting. I didn't like the idea of staring into a screen to get my reading fix. Once I actually tried it, however, I realized that the very thing I took to be a draw back, was actually a perk. I could read a whole book without ever having to actually touch a book. That means no extra weight on my shelves, no extra space being taken up in storage, and absolutely no extra boxes to lug into a moving van.
eBooks are Cheaper!
Not only are ebooks easier on my limited space situation, they're also easier on my wallet. I always had a hard time buying books that were new releases. Most books are offered in hardcover first, which can run up to $30 in Canada. I remember stalking certain books for months waiting for the soft cover to come out, and waiting still longer for that version of the book to go on sale or turn up used.
J.K. Rowling's new book, Casual Vacancy is available on Amazon.ca for $26.96 in hardcover right now. In the Google Play store, it's available as an ebook for $14.99. I'm on a pretty limited budget, so a $12 savings (without even factoring in taxes and shipping) is significant enough to make me take notice.
Letting Go of The Old, Embracing the New
Must like making the transition from DVDs to Netflix, switching from real books to ebooks is a strange change. To me though, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, and getting used to making ebooks my primary source of reading material has been a great decision that satisfies both my frugality, and my inner minimalist.
Do you use ebooks?