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The Best Way to Have a Library in Your Pocket

Mmm, delicious gold-leafed mustiness!

Books are a classic example of something you always want to have on you while traveling, but are too cumbersome and heavy to have a decent selection. Some hostels have a bookshelf to leave old books and pick up new ones, but honestly, they only ever have mindless pulp and travel guides to some country you aren’t in. Now there are eBooks, which give you entire libraries in thin little slivers a fraction the size of a cheesy romance novel, and you can always load in new books wherever you are.

I tend to read books on mass transit in contorted positions that would make an ergonomist cry. Being able to turn pages with the push of a button saves me from disturbing the neighbors with the sound of my spine shattering against the metal armrest as I reach around my head to turn the page.

Yes, I know you give up all the romance of ink smearing on your dehydrated fingers and pages that smell like grandpa’s musty attic, but you can get that fix from a local paper in between your fifth and sixth novel. I have yet to hear of someone trying an eReader and ever switching back. It’s one of those things you just need to experience to understand.

Hot book on book action!

The iPad has gotten a lot of press lately, and if you only have minimal computer needs, it’s a great choice to replace your laptop. As a book reader, it’s expensive, only lasts 10 hours between charges, and shines a light in your face the whole time you are reading. The Nook has the same issue, with a battery-sucking LCD. Sony makes eReaders that are small and great quality, but you have to load new books from another computer, which makes it cumbersome while traveling.

The best eReader on the market today still seems to be the first mainstream one, the Kindle. Ridiculously thin, sleek design, and I’ve gone weeks and multiple novels between charges. The one thing that steps it up above every other eReader is that it has free internet, anywhere in the world. You can download new books, read articles, and even post to Twitter from any remote area that gets cellular coverage. As I wrote about before, it even circumvents China’s firewall, all at no cost. On top of that, they just dropped the price to $189, which is the price of a handful of hardbacks. eBooks tend to be much cheaper than paper copies, and it earns that price back quickly.

I always bring my Kindle with me, and the simple act of having it handy means I have read vastly more books than I was before. Each time I find myself waiting I can pick the book or article that suits my mood, and read through it in the time I would normally spend playing mindless games on my phone. Once I get to my destination, I’m educated and energized, ready to write articles like this.

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