Electronic books are the wave of the future. With the advent of the iPad/iPhone, Kindle, Nook and many other devices, reading ebooks has become a convenient way to take books with you on the go. I love reading ebooks on my iPad — the screen is easy to read, I mark my last page read, and I can be connected to the internet so that I am able to look up a word or phrase in Italian that I do not understand.
Reading books in Italian is a great way to build your vocabulary, and you should always strive to push your reading level. Reading is how we build our vocabulary and is much more effective at learning new words and phrases than memorizing lists. Reading is also good for the brain — many a study has shown that keeping the brain active and vital helps us live longer and stave off dementia and other brain wasting diseases. Learning a second language can also be quite beneficial, too!
Not everyone loves ebooks. It is not always easy to stare at a screen for many hours, but it does take some patience and practice to adapt to the new way of reading. Traveling with ebooks can be lighter on the suitcase. If you are a quick reader like me, taking a dozen books with you is not always practical, especially when you are traveling abroad.
File format types
There are a variety of ebook file types. Amazon uses its own proprietary ebook format. EPUB is also a popular file format used by Apple and other ebook sellers. PDF files are also common. Italian publishers tend to prefer PDF and EPUB formats since these files can be used on a plethora of devices.
Where to go to get ebooks?
The iBookstore via iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch has a decent selection of Italian books. Their Italian selections are always growing, and this is a great place to start for those of you who have iOS devices. And yes, you can even read Adobe DRM titles, too by downloading the app, Bluefire Reader. This app allows you to connect to your Adobe ID (go to adobe.com for more info) to the app so that titles which have this digital protection can be accessed. Adobe PDF’s can also be read via the iBookstore, too.
You can also purchase ebooks from Internet Bookshop Italia, generally as epub with/without DRM or straight pdf files. You usually do not need an Italian credit card – I have made many ebook purchases with my American one.
I do not forsee paperbacks disappearing anytime soon. Electronic books certainly have their advantages (and disadvantages). For many of us who love to read on vacation, taking our books with us on a lightweight ereader is a practical solution. Many guidebooks and dictionaries exist in these formats, and these are great books and references to have with you as you travel and explore il Bel Paese!