Should eReaders replace books?

I realize that I read now more than I did when I was younger, and by that I mean not just textbooks assigned by professors but curling up with a good book for my own leisure. I stocked up on paperbacks when Borders went out of business, which was a bargain considering the book prices are on the uphill climb.

This fact made me consider purchasing an eReader, either the Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook. Yet, I’m not sold on the idea of having to read off a screen, something that I already do constantly as a college student.

The prevalence of these “eReaders” are gaining popularity and leaving dust on bookshelves and spines left unbroken. Free books inspired by the “classics” of literature and out-of-copyright books leave a reader forever surrounded by Shakespeare’s sonnets, poetry by Whitman and a library at his/her fingertips.

Without a doubt there are some features which are positive among fellow eReaders. Sharing is caring, and a feature of the Kindle is that you can loan books to a friend for up to two weeks which is a very neat feature. More so, over 11,000 libraries are offering Kindle books, which you can borrow from your library. It mimics the library system in the sense that after a public library book expires you can check it out again or choose to purchase it from the Kindle store.

However, I would prefer to see a few changes made before I’m jumping on the bandwagon of eBooks.

As anyone who is an avid reader knows, books cause clutter. For me, personally, it infringes on my orderly customs.

If either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, being the mega book providers they are, allowed customers to exchange the books they already have for the equivalent digital text version to download to their eReaders, both the customers and companies would benefit. The exchange would allow for a sell-back profit on the company’s part and the customer would have all their texts on one device.

Of course, an exchange for free means a zero profit for the company, which anyone with an ounce of economic sense would regard as frivolous. If a free exchange doesn’t fly, then at least offer a discounted price to the eBook being purchased, as long as it is the same book that was originally possessed as a hard copy prior. Implementing a book recycling program for book worms could couple turning in your torn pages for the online text.

I never count the number of pages in a chapter because then I feel pressured to finish that select chapter, or if it’s a book I’m not particularly interested in then those pages drag on at a snail’s pace. Although for academic purposes in citations, page numbers are a must and oddly enough some eReaders do not contain any real page numbers -– good luck with those in-text citations.

To me, it’s just another technological gadget to add to the growing pile of electronics among Apple products, cellular devices and laptops. There will always be something self-gratifying about feeling the crisp paper between my fingertips as I turn the last page and manually close my book instead of clicking on a button or swiping my finger across a screen.