e-Readers vs. Good old fashioned Books

When e-readers first came around, I was skeptical. I am a book lover. Ever since I saw the Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast” with her library so big Belle needed a ladder to reach her books, I have always wanted a library of my own. I am in love with the idea of walls lined with books. I even have a board on Pinterest dedicated to what I’d like my future library to look like.

But I couldn’t argue with the portability of an e-reader. I always carry my current read with me wherever I go. Despite weight and heft, I bring books in the bag I take with me to work everyday, and they end up in my car, on my nightstand or wherever the last place I was reading. Getting lugged around so much can leave a paperback a bit banged up. Which is okay by me, I like a book that has been loved. Books are meant to be read, not preserved like items in a museum. So the lightweight and easy to transport features of an e-reader have a one-up on printed-and-bound books.

I read while I’m doing other things, mainly, on my lunchbreak at work. Trying to juggle a sandwhich or eat a bowl of soup while holding my page and keeping a book from closing can be difficult. Another point for the e-reader.

Intrigued, I asked for a Kindle for my birthday last year. I love that it is easy to read and not back-lit like a computer which causes eye strain. I like that it is lightweight, easy to carry around, easy to hold. I like that it lies flat so my hands are free while I’m reading. On our honeymoon in Cancun, I brought my Kindle to the beach with me each day and could hold it without awkwarding trying to hold the pages open.

I am a Kindle user, but I am still a book lover. I still love going to bookstores, used bookstores and the library to browse the shelves and see what strikes me. I love the heft of a book. I love thumbing through the pages while I read, feeling their soft edges. I love the smell of books.

When reading on my Kindle, I miss being able to pick up a pencil and underline a passage I like. Kindle has a highlight feature, but it’s just not the same as physically marking words that you want to come back to later. I miss the ability to quickly flip back a few pages or a few chapters to look back at something that has happened. Navigating the pages of a book on an e-reader is a bit more tedious and difficult to find exactly what I’m looking for.

While it seems e-readers are the way of the future, I don’t think I will ever give up the good old fashioned book.

What’s your reading preference?

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7 thoughts on “e-Readers vs. Good old fashioned Books

  1. I’m like you: I love my Kindle, but that doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned the long-had experience of physical books: stacks of books you can browse, that smell, that feel of a book in your hands … I just enjoy discovering new books, and that’s a very visceral experience: the act of walking around, picking up books, and flipping through the pages. I don’t think an e-reader will ever truly emulate that, although I’m sure with advances in technology, these devices will get more and more exciting.

  2. I love real books, but it looks like I may become a grudging Kindle user in the future, simply because I’m running out of space for new books. I desperately need to free up space for business related things (I work from home), and the only real possibility is to get rid of most of my books and get an e-Reader instead. But I’ll always prefer books, and the limitations you’ve listed have never really been a problem for me.

    As soon as I can, like you I dream of having a library, and then my future Kindle will be left to collect dust on a shelf somewhere. I can’t deny that they are useful, but they just can’t beat the physicality of a book. And as you say, books smell amazing.

  3. Agreed, I don’t think my Kindle will ever replace books! It does makes it easier to read on the move. I often find myself standing in front my bookshelf, studying it. Today I was looking at books I have read in the past, picking them up at random and flipping through pages, looking for some character inspiration. That wouldn’t have worked for me on my Kindle!

  4. I don’t read nearly as often as I like, but when I have an ebook available it just happens more often. I also enjoy the physicality of books, but I’m a comic reader too, so my mentality is to preserve books and keep them crisp and unmarked just like comics. I cringe at dog-eared pages, broken spines, water damaged pages, frayed dust jackets and writing in the book. It actually causes me stress to see any of that in my books. So ereaders essentially eliminate that stress for me. Plus, I can just have any book I want NOW instead of going and looking aimlessly.

  5. I’m a reader, I’ve always liked to read and I always have a book that I’m reading. I do kinda get reading the same author over and over, I get so I have to force myself to find another author to read. I have an ereader but, there’s something about holding that book in your hand…

  6. Haven’t succumbed to an e-reader yet. One reason is how awkward they are to read-the holding is tiring, as well as the reading of the type. The are flavorless compared to the sensory fulfillment of a real book. Then again, I’m a librarian at heart.

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