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November 6, 2012
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e-book readers : unhealthy or OK?

:iconistropolitas:
Istropolitas Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi. Im considering to buy an e-reader.
The reason is I have many, many , MANY paper books at home and im a little afraid to buy more :) ,so I thought it would spare some space. However, some people say that despite e-ink they use, e-readers are bad for your eyes. Anybody have it at home?
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:icondeithmare:
Deithmare Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have a friend who is fat and he has an ebook CONNECTION? I THINK SOOOOOOOOOO
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:iconneednknow:
NeednKnow Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
eReaders (from research and personal experience):

PROS:
- Screens are like paper, your eyes won't strain unless it's too dark. And when you read outside with it, it's pretty good. And now they've got backlighting features.
- Takes up very little space compared to books, even a small book.
- The price of an eBook is a little less than the hard copy, and it's delivered instantly to you when you purchase it (or as soon as you're connected to the Internet, it'll download to your eReader).
- Makes me feel good because it's environmentally good (but this is pretty much debatable), since I won't be printing on more paper. And all that limited space in my college apartment can be used for, like... projects.
- (for the Kindle) there is a "loan" option, which means you can loan the book to anyone you want (but there's a limited amount of loans).
- Search for a phrase in the book, and go straight there. Bookmark using your eReader, takes notes with it... and just search and go straight to that point (of course, depending on your eReader, note-taking can take a while to type stuff). And there's a dictionary built in.
- Automatically saves the place that you've read last when you put the eReader on standby or turn it off.
- There are tons of free books, and there are classics you can download that's FREE if you want it for the sake of wanting it. And I know both Barnes & Noble and Amazon has a free computer version of their eReader, which you can use to read the books you download from their website on your computer.

CONS:
- Battery, so can't be used forever.
- If it's too dark, good luck reading, unless you've back the light features.
- They really can wipe your eReader if they want to. (Refer to Balaria above.)
- Not sure how long it lasts, but mine's doing just the same after half a year. Just like with other electronics, it will eventually... go away.
- The quality of eBooks are lower, especially Indie books (self-published, independently-published authors).
- The version of a book you bought can only be downloaded a certain number of times.
- No reselling.
- Screen can go bad, so you can't read anymore.... :(
- Don't drop it. Even if it's "protected," it's like with every other electronic. And don't spill liquids on it (but even if you do, you can still download your book into another eReader and read it from there... of course, again, only limited amount of downloads).


BOOKS: (I'm sure you guys know all this)

PROS:
- You can turn to any page instantly, no download time.
- You can drop it as many times as you want.
- No need for battery. Pretty much lasts forever.
- Yours forever.
- Lasts forever... forever....
- You can resell it.
- Great for collectors and hoarders (I'm sorry, I'm being sarcastic here... but I hoard, too, as you guys are reader, you should understand that books have a certain smell and you love it, and that's why we like hard copies!).
- Water damage? Just let it dry, and it should be fine!

Cons:
- Takes up space.
- And honestly, what's the point of having all those books unless you're going to reread them? The only books I have are the ones I truly, really love. Otherwise, the other books I have are taking up space, and I dislike them too much to even donate them.... Because when you don't like something, why are you going to share it and make other people suffer the same pain??
- Binding can go bad. Pages can go bad.
- Once it's ruined, it's pretty hard to repair (same for eReaders themselves). But I contradict myself (see water damage above).

---------

I actually got most of this from research when I bought my Kindle back in February. For the fun of it, and since I was gonna be on a plane for nine hours, I wanted something to read. (But I could not read on the plane because it was too loud.... shame on me.) Sorry if you guys know all this already. I thought that since no one made I list, I might as well do it.

-------

Long story short, my Kindle has not hurt my eyes unless I read it in poor light.
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:iconneednknow:
NeednKnow Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
Actually just ignore me. I went totally off the edge here... not even on topic. *bawls*
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:iconneednknow:
NeednKnow Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
I forgot to mention another CON of eReaders... the eBook prices can be pricier than the hard copies sometimes, which is so laughable, but I'm not making the prices here. And to clear up on the quality, some Indie books have really, really bad grammar, plot, etc., just things that should not have been published, so try the first few pages before buying a $0.99 eBook. (And some eBooks are a dollar for 20 pages, it's ridiculous!)
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:iconlittle-wild-one:
little-wild-one Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
Someone gave me a kindle. I though it would strain my eyes because I only need to glance at a computer screen to get a headache, but it doesn't look like a light up screen, it's really similar to normal paper.
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:iconlabruyere:
LaBruyere Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Student Writer
My two cents: bought a Kindle because college textbooks are heavy. Took up a tenth of the space in my bag that my textbooks would have, and is really great for joining "free kindle deals" book lists where you get a newsletter telling you what books are free on kindle that day. I've gotten a couple hundred free books that way. That said, I feel a lot more homey curling up with a paperback, so I have lots of both. As for "bad for your eyes," not really. If you get an e-reader that's backlit with lights, that might be a strain. But the kindle for sure is not back lit, and has e-ink. I don't know what the others are made of, honestly.
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:iconshadowyeclipse:
ShadowyEclipse Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
They're fine.

I used to hate them, but once I got a Kindle, I actually quite like it. It doesn't feel as good as a regular book, but it's a lot more useful, I suppose.
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:icon0rg:
0rg Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012
I don't own one, but I've borrowed one and I see no possible way they could be straining on the eyeballs. You should be fine.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
If it's not backlit, shouldn't be an issue? And you can make the font bigger.
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:iconaircatskylion:
AircatSkylion Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Guess it's up to you, but I prefer actual books, for the following reasons:

Cover artwork. Somebody was paid to create this artwork, and very often it's beautiful and fits the story perfectly. I'm not saying it's always brilliant, but on a real book you get a chance to appreciate this more.
Original Typeface: On most modern ebooks you can select a font out of a small selection. Most readers don't mind this, as they don't really notice the font. But once again, somebody has been paid to think out which font is best and choosing that font. As a font lover myself, I find this important.
Actual Ownership: You own a real book, it's yours, no questions asked. But like other people have said, having a book on your ebook reader doesn't guarantee it's yours.
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:iconlittle-wild-one:
little-wild-one Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
I love real books for the cover art and I like that I actual own the physical object, but e-readers are so much better for some people. I travel a lot and I just can't take enough real books along with me because of the space they take up. It's handy to be able to carry a whole collection of books on that little thing.
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:iconbalaria:
Balaria Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Just keep in mind that Amazon can wipe a book from your Kindle collection any time they want if some copyright holder decides to demand it(ironically the first case of it was George Orwells '1984'.). They might also happen to delete your account for policy violations and make you lose all your books that way([link]).

Not that I'd trust others in the game to be any better, save for maybe smaller shops.

With paper books, they can't do any of that. That's mostly why I haven't jumped into the e-book reader wagon. The publishers and middle-men have made a grab for power that doesn't sit well with me.
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:iconistropolitas:
Istropolitas Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I did not think about that... they CAN control you ,or lets say you have a FAIL and loose everything in a second. A good point . By the way, how long does an avarage e-reader last?
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:iconbalaria:
Balaria Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
That's something a lot of people don't realize with the big e-book sellers. You're not buying a book. What you're doing is buying a license to view the book and that license can be revoked at any time by the seller.

Good luck trying to give your e-book collection as inheritance to your kids ;)
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:iconpawi666:
pawi666 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012
I personally prefer paper books :3
but I don't mind using e-reader, if I had too :O

you can set the light, can't you? I think if you use the suitable light then it'll be fine with your eyes :3
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012   Writer
everything is bad for us it seems.
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:icontacosteev:
tacosteev Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Hobbyist
Those folk are high or drunk. How different is eink versus ink on a page? Still require light to read since they're generally not backlit. I've used my ereader a ton and my eyes had no problems. I use a PC all day long and that gives me problems but I've never had any from my ereader.
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:iconcarusmm:
carusmm Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
e-readers are okay in my book, nothing wrong with them.
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:iconfisherella:
Fisherella Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
They're safe now because these things take time to become obviously harmful. Eventually we'll see the effects of long-term use, and I'm sure an onslaught of related eye issues. The Romans didn't think there was anything wrong with drinking out of lead cups for a long... loooong time.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
But there is no basis for predicting harm in this case, in relation to e-ink. So it comes down to whether you tend to assume things are bad for you or not.
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:iconneednknow:
NeednKnow Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
I totally agree with you, vglory.
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:iconfisherella:
Fisherella Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
Nope. It takes at least a generation to know.
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:icon0rg:
0rg Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012
Seriously, this makes no sense.

Lead poisoning and eye strain are in no way comparable. Televisions have already existed for decades, which are much worse than anything an eBook could generate.
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:iconfisherella:
Fisherella Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Professional General Artist
Right. And televisions have done a lot of damage, CRT monitors especially. I'm not saying don't read an ebook. Just saying we all take risks when doing it.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012
What are you saying "nope" to? Not either of the statements I made as far as I can fathom.

If it takes a generation to know if *anything* is bad, I guess we just shouldn't do anything new until after we are dead?

You have to either go Amish or use your best judgement, And my best judgement is that when it comes to looking at the, all non-illuminated surfaces with marks on them are about the same.
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:iconfisherella:
Fisherella Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Professional General Artist
I try to stay as Amish as possible without the religion bit. Yeah. =0)
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012   Writer
A lack of definitive proof that something is safe is not a reason to predict harm.

You say "Eventually we'll see the effects of long-term use, and I'm sure an onslaught of related eye issues." Why? What makes you think an e-reader screen will cause eye problems any more than a paper book? I'd be quite interested to know about (and I think the discussion would benefit from) any solid information you have on the matter.
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:iconfisherella:
Fisherella Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Professional General Artist
A lack of definitive proof that something is safe is not a reason to predict harm.

And why not? Sounds like practicality to me.
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012   Writer
Because it's a recognised logical fallacy: [link] .

You claim that, because e-readers haven't been proven not to cause eye problems, they will cause eye problems. Consider how your approach would work in a day-to-day situation. Without proof that it will not rain on Friday, you have to assume that it will rain on Friday. A more reasonable conclusion would be simply that it might rain on Friday.

On top of this, there's the "burden of proof." You can't just say something will happen and then expect people to prove you wrong. You have to have some reason for thinking it in the first place. You still haven't told us what makes you think e-readers will cause eye damage. Gamma rays? Evil pixies trapped inside the screen? I'm kidding with those, but you haven't yet suggested anything more plausible.
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:iconfisherella:
Fisherella Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Professional General Artist
No, I never said they WILL cause problems. Don't put words in my fingers.
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012   Writer
Eventually we'll see the effects of long-term use, and I'm sure an onslaught of related eye issues.

Please don't accuse me of putting words in your fingers. That's from your original comment, and it's not even the first time I've quoted it.

And you still haven't explained why you would expect e-readers to cause eye issues in the first place. Am I to take it that your opinion is based on a totally uninformed guess?
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(1 Reply)
:iconneednknow:
NeednKnow Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
That's actually the same with computer screens. But hey, anything can kill you.
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:iconfisherella:
Fisherella Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
Yes to the first part. No, to the second. That idea has been blown out of proportion to get everyone to readily consume the next thing the corporations produce without sufficient testing.
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:iconneednknow:
NeednKnow Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
'Cause you know, I'm totally serious like that.
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:iconshininginthedarkness:
shininginthedarkness Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
I've never had an issue, my standard Kindle is about the same contrast as a cheap paperback novel.
I just put in an order for the new Paperwhite though.

I personally think that reading on backlit/LCD screens is bad for your eyes- at least that it can give you headaches- so I really don't understand the trend toward e-reader tablets.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
My eyes suck and I find e-readers to be no problem. With the bonus that you can make any book large print.
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:iconeuterpe-the-egret:
Euterpe-The-Egret Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I forgot about that. It is a big perk. :D
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:iconeuterpe-the-egret:
Euterpe-The-Egret Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I'm constantly reading my kindle and, so far, my eyes are fine. I've had it for over two years now. At my rate of reading I read about a book to two books per week (digital libraries are wallet savers!). That gives you a bit of an idea on how much I use it.

Regular kindles are supposed to mimic a paper surface so I assume the ink technology used would be fine for your eyes. The only problem that I could think e-readers could cause would be to read an illuminated screen for too long. Other brands of e-readers, such as the kindle fire as well as the nook, feature screens that could strain your eyes after a long time of using them.

I hope that helps.
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012   Writer
I can't imagine how an e-reader could possibly be any worse for your eyes than a paper book. An e-ink screen isn't backlit (except on some very recent ones, and even then I assume you can turn it off), it doesn't flicker/refresh like a TV, and the image doesn't move. I suspect that the people who say they're bad for your eyes may just be saying that they're no healthier than regular books. Either that or it's just the standard knee-jerk claim that anything new must be unhealthy.

I have a kindle and can't say that I've ever noticed myself getting eye strain or anything, even after reading for a long time. :shrug: That's not a guarantee that everything is fine, but I'd want to see some sort of study backing up the horror stories before I got worried. It might also be worth considering that you can change the font size/style on an e-reader screen, so you might even find it more comfortable (though not necessarily healthier) than a paper book.

One thing you might want to watch out for is the cost of ebooks. I've often been disappointed when I look on Amazon because the kindle version is only slightly cheaper than a new print copy, and significantly more expensive than a second hand one (even with the cost of delivery). Even if you get an e-reader, you may still find yourself buying a lot of paper books. :p I know I have (though the kindle has been great for free and self-published ebooks).

Also, I wonder if this topic might be better placed in a different forum. I'm not sure if Books and Comics covers e-readers (or if Hardware would be a better option), but Literature is more to do with writing-related questions/advice.
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:iconistropolitas:
Istropolitas Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
sorry I put it into wrong topic... just wrote it in a hurry and realized too late. I should put it in hardware, I think
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012   Writer
I'm actually not too sure where this should go, but someone will come along and move it to the right place if necessary. It's definitely an interesting topic.
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:iconeuterpe-the-egret:
Euterpe-The-Egret Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
The prices should be lowering soon if all works out well in the suit that Apple is involved in.
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012   Writer
That would be great, though it's kind of sad to see yet more legal herpaderp with ebooks.

It just seems weird that you have to pay so much for a digital version considering that you can't sell it on and that Amazon could potentially erase from your kindle at some point. :shrug: Currently, the price of a kindle edition just isn't low enough to make up for the properties it lacks: even the scruffiest second hand paperback can be used as a doorstop.
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:iconeuterpe-the-egret:
Euterpe-The-Egret Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Eh. I think they are worth the price because I don't have to lug around as many books as I normally would have. The text books I've bought for my kindle have also been cheaper than the used editions.
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012   Writer
I've never looked at it that way before. :shrug: I always saw the portability as more of a bonus than a reason to choose an electronic version over a print one. I guess with textbooks especially, though, that would be an advantage. :p I hated having to cart the Norton Anthologies around at university.
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:iconfyoot:
fyoot Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012   Writer
This will probably get moved to the books forum, where it makes more sense to ask the question.

That being said, if you go for the standard e-reader that isn't backlit and has e-ink, you should be fine. It's pretty similar on the eyes to reading a book, except with adjustable sized font that makes it better for people with visual impairment.
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