For one, the Nook enables one to read the numerous books available as pdf files, particularly the ones that are out of print or those for which copyrights have expired. Even the ebooks that are available for purchase are cheaper than the printed ones- a random check at Amazon and BN.com shows that the average price tends to be around $10. Using the calibre e-book management software, converting different formats to the ePub standard is a breeze. Given that a number of newspapers are also available for download, one can read the news without the distracting advertisements.
Then there are also ebooks that are available for download from rapidshare and other such file sharing sites- pirated, of course. Having found a number of books that are not too old to be so easily available- all free of cost, makes me wonder if writers too will soon face the same problem as musicians who no longer make any money from their primary products i.e. music albums but instead depend on live shows and such events to keep the cash coming. Making money from books has never been a profitable venture for majority of writers and now threatens to be even more so.
Besides the massive amounts number of books that one can now read with less distraction and much more ease than reading on the desktop or laptop screens, I find that the ereader is even more comfortable to hold as well as easier on the eyes- one can change the font, there is no need to hold the book with two hands, no issues with loose or tight binding.
The prices of ebook readers have fallen over the last couple of years, I got mine for $149, plus taxes, and doubt that these will come down drastically in the near future. There are some caveats too- one still can’t highlight or take notes, though there is a basic bookmarking facility.
Above all, I find reading on the ebook reader less distracting and more natural. All this leaves me with only one worry now- what is to be done with all those paper books that I have piled up and is lying in different places in India and US? The natural way out is to let go them off to libraries, friends and all those who might need them.
Pretty logical solution, but painful all the same.