They take up less room. When I go on vacation, I have at least four books in my suitcase. We have over five bookshelves in our apartment, double stacked, with an extra row of books on top of each. We have books under the bed and stacked on the desk. A Kindle can hold 200 books. That's one whole, double-stacked bookshelf you can fit into your carry-on. Forget about planning which books to take when you go away for the week; you can take them all.
They're more Eco-friendly. I hadn't really thought about this pro until we visited the Smart Home at the Museum of Science and Industry and they had a Kindle displayed. Think of all the resources that go into producing a book, all of which could be eliminated by switching to digital. Plus, they yield a lot less waste than a library full of books.
They can be more user friendly. Eyes not as strong as they used to be? The Kindle can enlarge the print so you don't need reading glasses. Like to underline passages and scribble things in the margins? The Kindle allows you to do that, plus you can edit your notes later. It even has a built in dictionary and access to Wikipedia. Everything you need is in the palm of your hands.
Books are cheaper. Sure you're shelling out a few hundred dollars for the device itself, but the books you buy for it are no more than $9.99. Tess proclaims in delight that the King James Bible can be downloaded for under two bucks. If you normally buy a lot of books you end up saving money, but if you're an infrequent book buyer, you'd probably just break even.
It's not just for books. You can also have magazine and newspaper subscriptions via kindle. Nowadays, most people read those online, but the Kindle is a lot easier on the eyes.
So with all the pros, what are the cons? Other than being old fashioned, or skeptical of technology or having no other reason other than simply liking real books, the biggest danger of E-books is piracy. Now there are regulations in place that you can't download NYT bestselling books for free, but if the trend catches on, I guarantee someone will develop the technology to pirate e-books. It changed the music industry a great deal, but I fear that since there isn't as much money in publishing, that piracy and free downloading could put many publishers in jeopardy. It's far harder to steal a book out of a store than it is to steal a file online.
I'd love to hear people's opinions on this. Whether or not your a fan of e-books, I think we can all agree that they're growing in popularity and that they are going to change the future of publishing. Are there more pros than cons? Will actual books always have a place in our society? I used to say that newspapers would always be around, even if the majority of people read them online, but recently, I'm not so sure.