Paper books are big, bulky, take alot of room, get bugs and mildew, and you can't always find the ones you want even when it is aboard - somewhere. Plus if you trade one with someone - well, it's gone isn't it?
eBooks take practically no space at all, never mildew, you can download tens of thousands of titles, often for free, on every subject imaginable and if you want to trade with someone you keep yours as well. You can keep all your ebooks neatly catalogued and sort them by author or subject and even search the whole collection for particular kinds of information.
I have some favorite authors (don't we all?) and some of them have published over 20 books. Before ebooks came along I painfully collected a couple of these series over many years and they filled up two whole book shelves aboard the Moira. I gave away my EE Doc Smith series because we just didn't have the room aboard to keep them.
Now I have every book my favorite authors ever wrote, every one, plus over 1500 ebooks more, and they all occupy a tiny micro SD chip and a small part of my notebook hard drive..
I know some cruisers who say, "but I love to read real books, I love the feel of books, the smell, and just sitting there turning the pages."
I really can't see why they feel that way. What is so great about the smell of old mildewed paper so common on boats? Why be in love with pressed dead tree fibers when the main reason we are reading a book is for the information that's in it?
Me, I'm in love with reading but it's the story or information I'm in love with, not paper.
Stop for a moment and consider the vast living and energy resources feeding the printed publications of our planet. Think what it costs energy-wise and habitat-wise to plant paper-wood trees, harvest them, ship the wood, mash it up, treat it chemically, wash it, press and dry it, cut it to shape, print it, bind it, ship the finished product to book stores, and then get rid of the waste and pollution all this generates. That was acceptable BEFORE it became possible to publish the same information digitally and have the books instantly available anywhere in the world with none of the environmental costs of paper printed books and magazines.
Freddy and I read our ebooks on tablets. I have an Ipad, she has an Samsung. Both are wonderful for reading.
E-Ink readers (I used to have a Kindle) can be read in broad daylight and use no battery power to keep on displaying the page so you can put it down and pick it up later and start reading again, just like a book. It only uses power when it turns a page - and you can do that 7000 times before needing to plug it in to a USB port or power adapter to recharge.
There are a heap of ebook readers available for tablets or smart phones.Getting ebooks into an Ipad is something of a challenge but you can do it with itunes or by sending yourself an ebook by email, click to download it, then click and hold on the icon until a menu pops up that will include "open with iBook". Click on that icon and it will open the ebook in IBook. I prefer to use the Stanza ebook reader on my Ipad. Stanza is great because it works wirelessly with my ebook library app Calibre to download books to read. I also use the Kindle ebook reader on my Ipad. It is awesome because I can order just about any book with one click on Amazon and it is downloaded immediately onto my Ipad.
Freddy uses Moon Reader on her Android tablet.
We organize our ebook library with Calibre.
Calibre is free and is terrific for organizing, downloading, transfering files to your ebook reader, making notes about the books, editing any mistakes you find, and reading them.
Calibre can convert any ebook format, pdf, text file, rtf, lit,, html or whatever from one format to another. There are lots of different file formats but the world of ebooks is slowly drifting towards two formats; epub and mobi. The mobi format is the basic format for Amazon's Kindle reader.
ePub is now the most common ebook format and it works great.
PDF is also quite common but suffers from being limited in display options and is often a much larger file than ePub.
Calibre can read any format and quickly convert a file from one format to whatever you need for your reader software.
Calibre also organises your ebooks and can download cover photos and detailed meta data about every ebook. You can search library quickly by author, title, series, or date. It is a must have for anyone who is serious about reading ebooks.
For a great tutorial on how to use non-Itunes ebooks on your Iphone or Ipad see this site
For some really great reading order the exciting Science and Sailing Adventure ebooks listed on the left.