Last updateSat, 22 Jun 2019 1pm

My love affair with e-books

The most common reaction to e-books (on the part of pre-millennials) is, “I’m a romantic. I love the heft of a real book, the crinkle of real paper, the musty smell of a classic riddled with wormholes ... and besides, I can’t stand reading anything on a computer screen.”

pg25bI, too, had those feelings five years ago, when the paucity of used-book stores in Mexico (and curiosity) moved me to buy a Kobo, into which I could download almost any book I wanted, often for free.

I missed the real paper for about 15 minutes. As for the heft of a real book, only five minutes of reading in bed convinced me that most printed books are cumbersome and too heavy.   Sorry, but an e-reader is far lighter, and turning its pages is far easier, but guess what? The greatest advantage is that the screen is not at all like a computer’s. An e-ink surface, for example, is non-glare, non-radiating and not lit from behind. I found it was as readable as paper and totally useable in the brightest sunshine. But the greatest argument for e-readers is, in my opinion, the ease with which you can instantly change the size of the letters to suit the needs of your own eyes.

If you opt for a Kindle, that bestseller you heard about will download into it (with no work on your part) a half-second after you pay for it on Amazon. Now, if you’re upset that e-books cost about the same as paper books, note that Amazon regularly drops the prices of certain e-books literally to nothing or almost nothing on certain days. To find Web sites that announce these short-lasting bargains, go to fkbt.com or Google “Kindle Nation Daily” or “Kindle Buffet.” Each of these sources lists different bargain books.

Want to read the classics? You’ll find over 56,000 of them at Gutenberg.com. I just went there and downloaded “The Gentle Grafter,” a collection of great short stories with surprise endings by O. Henry. Once you’ve downloaded some of your favorite books, you need a way to get them into your Nook, Kindle, Kobo or whatever. Fortunately, there is a very easy-to-use, free program called Calibre with which you can read these books on your computer or laptop or download them straight into your e-reader, automatically converting each title into the proper format you need.

After all this, you may still be saying, “No thanks, I’ll stick to books.” But have you ever found yourself stuck somewhere with nothing to do and wishing you had something to read? If you have a smartphone, you can download a free app called the Universal Book Reader (UB). Now all you have to do is e-mail yourself any one of those e-books I mentioned above (as an attachment). Then open UB and tap “import.” In a few seconds, you’ll have interesting reading matter at your fingertips to while away the hours while you are standing in line at Sirloin Stockade or Bancomer. Just spread your fingers apart on the screen to make the text as big as you need.

All the above sources are legal, but if you agree with Ben Franklin that lending libraries are a good idea and that books ought to be shared, you could also visit Z-Library at b-ok.org, a Web site in Switzerland with over 2.8 million popular and scientific books, including recent bestsellers, such as “Fire and Fury: inside the Trump White House.” By the way, Urlvoid Website Reputation Checker says this site is safe! Happy reading!

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