E-books haven’t been around for very long, relatively speaking. The Amazon Kindle isn’t the first e-reader but it’s the most popular. It may not be the best but it’s probably the best implementation.
I’m talking about its connection to the Amazon store, of course, which carries e-books. Some are even free. Being able to buy e-books online, download and store them on your e-reader makes the Kindle more attractive than some e-readers.
You don’t have to use a dedicated e-reader to read e-books. There are e-reader applications for cell phones, tablets and desktop computers. Even so, the battery in an e-reader will probably last a lot longer than the battery in a cell phone or tablet. If I’m ever inclined to buy an e-reader again, I’ll probably buy the latest Kindle. But then… I can get a tablet for less than $50.
I actually own a Kindle, but it’s an old one without any kind of light (or backlight). I used it for about a year and stopped. It’s been several years since I’ve read a novel. I rarely read long e-books of any kind these days, unless you count PDF files. Yes, the “Portable Document Format” is one of the many e-book formats but it’s rarely used for that.
I read short e-books on my laptop. The software I like to use is “Calibre“. I recently added an e-book app to my Android cell phone but I’ve yet to use it to read anything. Like a lot of apps, I’ll remove it immediately if it isn’t worth it and replace it with something else.
I’m using Linux Mint Mate as my laptop operating system. If I want to use the Kindle Reader, I have to use the Windows version with Wine. It’s not worth the trouble since Calibre works well enough. But then again… I’ll drop Calibre in a heartbeat if I find something better.
You can find plenty of free e-books if you know where to look. I’m not talking about illegal torrents either. One such place is “Project Gutenberg“. You can buy e-books at Amazon.com, obviously, and you can buy them elsewhere.
If you can’t download e-books directly to your e-reader, you can move them from device to device. I move files from my laptop to my cell phone using Dukto. I don’t remember but I think I used a USB cable when I moved files to my Kindle, way back when.
The last time I bought a book, it was a paperback book I bought at a Borders (now defunct) bookstore. I bought it to read on a plane flight, probably a year or two before I bought my Kindle.
A lot of public libraries are digitizing books that still have value. They’re discarding those books that are no longer being read or checked out. If there’s a time for a real Internet public library, it’s now. Unfortunately, many rights holders don’t like public libraries as it is.
I won’t buy paper books anymore, unless I can’t find the same titles as e-books. Paper books disappear, either when moving from place to place or when someone borrows them and doesn’t bring them back. Electronic books are infinitely copyable.