If you are one of those fence sitters who is considering laying down the cash to invest in an e-reader, but you're not entirely convinced of whether this is a good idea or not, read on. This is the third instalment in a series that outlines in detail some of the key pros (and cons) of making the jump from "dead tree" (or paper) books to e-books. This time, the topic is cutting back on the amount of space that books take up.
Space is one of the most overlooked benefits of using an e-reader instead of buying books, specifically the space that you can reclaim by switching to e-books from paper books. After decades of "bigger is better," the current trend is toward downsizing; smaller, more compact houses. Less room means less storage space and while book shelves take advantage of vertical space, they still eat into available floor space. An average book case is usually roughly a ten inches to a foot deep and three feet wide. In my own house, there are nine of these book shelves meaning approximately 27 square feet of floor space is being used for book storage. That kind of space could accommodate a good sized sofa or dining room table! Even if the bookshelves aren't physically removed, transitioning to e-books means they can be repurposed to store or display other things.
It's not just the floor and wall space that paper books take up, it's the clutter when they're scattered around the house. Books on the coffee table, bed side tables, in the bath room and on the kitchen counter. That's not counting magazines and newspapers too.
One e-reader (especially one that can can be expanded through use of a memory card), can take the place of all the bookshelves in a home by literally allowing you to carry your entire book collection in one hand. The clutter can be reduced to one device that's measured in inches (7.5 inches by 4.8 inches by 1/3 of an inch thick, in the case of the current generation Kindle). Even the newspapers and magazines can be brought under control with digital editions stored and read on an e-reader. Just think, with the ability to store thousands of e-books on one thumbnail sized memory card, bibliomania (or book hoarding) in the future may involve one e-reader and a pocketful of SD cards. It may not be any more healthy than a house or apartment overflowing with paper, but it's far less of a fire hazard.