One of my favourite things to do in my down-time is to read, but unfortunately I have a love-hate relationship with books. While I love the feeling of the smooth pages and smell of a brand new book, I always have anxiety that I will crinkle the pages, ruin the cover, or spill something on it. Not to mention, despite how much time I wish I had for it, reading requires committed time to fully engage yourself into the story–which is just gosh darn difficult while I have so many priorities to balance. Sadly, for me, reading has been left to sulk at the bottom of my priority list.

..until recently, when I began exploring alternatives that technology has opened up doors to.

Instead of buying physical books, I find myself buying e-books or audio books.

I have heard many people say things like: “e-books hurt my eyes” or “I prefer the feeling of a physical book”, and while there is nothing wrong with that reasoning, e-books and audio books just seem so much more practical, especially when you have little to no free time throughout your day.

Here are five reasons why:

(1) They are cheaper to buy. This pretty much goes without saying. Who wouldn’t want to save money for the same content given to you in a physical book? Seriously. Without the materials and publication costs, e-books and audio books need less money to create, making them so much cheaper to purchase, in most cases.

(2) Less is more. With using an e-book, you can carry around so much less while having so much more content with you. Have three classes today? No longer do you have to carry around a 400 pound backpack to be prepared for class or a study session. Instead, all you need is an e-reader, tablet or laptop to store and read your e-books off of. Also, no longer do you need to carry your reading glasses or a flashlight, because you can enlarge the fonts of e-books or read in the dark with the back-lit screen for more comfortable reading anywhere you are an at anytime of the day.

If you’re on your way to work in the morning and just want some entertainment, putting some headphones on while playing your most recent “Want-To-Read” book as an audio book keeps you productive and entertained while not making you dizzy like reading a book or e-book may.

(3) Annotation made easy. Reading textbooks can sometimes become such a bore. I know I’m not the only one who has fallen asleep in bed trying to do readings for my classes the next day. One way I keep myself awake while doing readings is to annotate my e-book using apps like OneNote or Notability. By digitally highlighting and taking side notes while doing my readings—right on the e-textbook—I generally feel more engaged in what I am reading and learning. Plus, you no longer have to crowd your study area with billions of coloured pens and highlighters to try to colour coordinate information in what you are reading.

(4) Reading on the go. On my hour commute in the mornings, I love to do some of my readings on the bus. I just find I should be doing something with that hour instead of just sitting there. In my first year of university, I found it extremely difficult to highlight on my physical textbooks while riding the bus. Having to hold my textbook, colour coordinating highlighters and pens, and backpack while trying to be considerate to other passengers on the bus was really inconvenient and difficult to do. Now, with all of my e-books, I can sit my backpack on my lap, my iPad on top of my backpack, and only hold one stylus  to create colourful and effective notes in my e-textbooks while taking up as little room as possible. When I’m not doing readings, I love to listen to audio books on my long commutes to work or school just to pass the time.

(5) It’s eco-friendly. Books, especially really detailed ones can be thick. 200 page books may be educational or entertaining, but at the expense of cutting down trees to make paper. What makes e-books and audio books so much better for the environment? E-readers, iPads, phones and Laptops take up electricity which is an important resource too. Right you are, but they don’t cause the tearing down of trees and use little electricity overall. Small gadgets used for e-reading generally don’t take up that much electricity. My iPad, that I use solely for annotating e-books and writing lecture notes, on a full charge, can last me a week to a week and a half. My cellphone, which I use also to store my audio books and some e-books, usually last me a full day on a full charge. That is quite good in comparison to how many trees are cut down daily to make thick textbooks. Its the thought and initiative that counts.

Now, before I finish, I’m not saying having an old fashioned book is bad or wrong. Some people love the feel and smell of having a physical book in their hand. Nothing is wrong with that. But, being a student who is always on the go, e-books and audio books are my go-to because of convenience. We are given this great innovation to make our lives more simplified, so why not use it to our advantage, right? Go ahead, and give it a try!

About the Author

Jennifer Liwanag is a fourth year Legal Studies student minoring in Communications & Digital Media Studies at the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology. While her childhood dream has been to pursue law, she has an undying love for writing, creativity, discovering new gadgets and learning new software. You can keep up to date with her digital and creative lifestyle on her personal blog (www.jennibearrxo.com/) where she shares her new favourite gadgets and crafty projects.