Earlier this year, Amazon announced that sales of Kindle ebooks outstripped traditional paperbacks for the first time, with 115 Kindle books sold for every 100 paperback versions.
While some argue that E-readers pose no threat to books, the launch next month of the Kindle Fire full-colour tablet – and the subsequent reduction in price of the original Kindle to £89 – suggests the rise of the ebook shows no sign of slowing down.
Skyscanner takes a closer look at the pros and cons of ebooks vs traditional paperbacks for the traveller and asks whether the days of packing a paperback for your holiday are over.
Price: ebooks vs paperbacks
At the moment, pricing for ebooks is somewhat erratic. Most ebooks actually cost around the same as print versions but some are more expensive (go figure!) and some are cheaper, which is how it should be considering the cost of ebook production and delivery is a fraction of that for the traditional paperback. However there are also lots of free books available for Kindle including many classics, as well as many excellent offerings from independent authors. Generally, ebooks are released at the same time as print versions.
The downside is of course shelling out on an E-Reader to start with – but with Kindle now starting at £89, many may be persuaded to give it a try. Another popular E-reader is Reader from Sony, which costs £199 for the full size version and £149 for the Pocket Edition which, as the name suggests, fits easily into a small pocket. Other popular E-Readers are Reader Pocket Edition (£149) and Reader Touch Edition (£249). If you already own an iPad, a Kindle reading app is available on this too. However, all this expense may not be to the taste of people who prefer simply renting books for free from their local library.
Convenience: is Kindle easier for the traveller?
Size and weight wise, E-Readers win hands down considering they can store hundreds of books: Kindle weighs 240 grams while Sony’s Pocket Edition is a featherweight 155 grams – so they are smaller, lighter and thinner than your average paperback. The battery power on these devices is also impressive – Kindle lasts an amazing one month on a single charge while the Sony gadgets have enough power to last a full two-week holiday, ideal for camping trips where mains power may not be easy to find.
The downside is the very value of an E-reader. If someone pilfers your paperback, it’s no great loss. But if your Kindle gets kidnapped, covered in your cocktail or squashed by a sun lounger you’ve got to shell out a lot more for a replacement. Another thing you can’t do with an ebook is share or swap it with other travellers – often part of the fun side of reading on holiday.
Extras: more than just a book?
Whilst a paperback will only ever be a book, full colour tablets such as the Kindle Fire and, on a more expensive level, the iPad, offer far more functionality. While the classic Kindle features an e-ink screen suitable only for really for reading (though you can adapt it to have a basic web browser) the Kindle Fire will be suitable for watching movies and TV shows as well being a mobile gaming platform – something to keep the whole family happy on holiday.
Here at Skyscanner, most of us are Kindle fans and are already enjoying the convenience of taking a whole load of ebooks with us on our trips away.
And as the price of E-Readers and tablets continues to fall, these gadgets are likely to find their way into your suitcase sooner than you think.
Just keep your Kindle away from the swimming pool.