6 Reasons To Buy a Book Made of Paper

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader
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This post was updated on November 11, 2010, from the original published on July 30, 2010. I hope you enjoy it!

The e-book war is the new burger war. The Nook, the Kindle, the iPad. Which to pick?

But what happened to the good ol’ paper? There are many reasons we might make the choice of pulp over silicon. Here are the reasons I do:

1

The feel of the book in your hand

You might be an anti-spine bender or a dog-earer, but the feel of paper on skin is irresistible.

There are pulp pages, and higher-quality pages for trade books. Coffee-table book pages have a much smoother texture. The entire experience of reading is enhanced through the tactile stimulation. We don’t even recognize it, but it’s there.

Pickup an expensive children’s picture book and compare it with a cheap children’s picture book. The quality of the paper it is printed on is very different. And it isn’t just a matter of cost. Caldecott winners are almost always on high quality paper.

That isn’t to say that higher-quality paper implies a higher quality book. I have plenty of Dover reprints on horribly crappy paper, purchased cheaply, containing invaluable mathematics of 50 years ago.

2

Note taking

They say you can take notes on the Kindle or the iPad, but does it make the same sound as pencil on pulp or have the same flow as the ball?

Very much like the feel of the paper, the flow of your pen on that paper affects the experience. If you are a pencil user writing on cheap pulp paper there’s a scratchy tone that contributes to the ambience.

Higher quality paper with a nice Mont Blanc pen makes you feel completely different. Especially while sipping a latte at a Starbucks attached to a Barnes & Noble bookstore.

My life rocks so much right now
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3

To not read

I often buy a book that inspires me to do something but I never open it. Just knowing that it is there, full of great information, inspires me to get the job done.

I finished a degree in mathematics based on a book titled A Concrete Approach To Abstract Algebra. I never opened the book even once. Having that book as a possible backup gave me confidence. What I really needed was to go to class and pay attention. Oh, and do the homework.

The book acted as a security blanket. I carried it with me to class every day in anticipation that I would need to finally crack it open.

Luckily, it was a Dover reprint it only cost $8.95. It is still in the attic in a box with all my other math textbooks. I probably should sell it.

Lights of Love 2009-130
Image by Taekwonweirdo via Flickr

4

It is pretty

Shiny pictures, slick paper and sleek print. Simply pleasurable.

Even if you don’t take a Mont Blanc pen to the slick paper, it is enjoyable. A nice coffee table book of all things Texas is the best! The images in a 12 inch wide book are no comparison to any type of display on an electronic device.

A book like that is perfect for a cold winter morning drinking a mocha with too much whipped cream wrapped in a Snuggie.

5

The smell

No words for this one, you know what the old book smell is.

Okay, there are words. I opened the users manual to my Sirius satellite radio yesterday and caught a whiff of it. It was printed on the same paper as fancy coffee table books… and my high school yearbook!

Husband continue to look at me strangely. I usually take in a user’s manual thoroughly before breaking into anything new. But I do it with my eyes, not my nose.

The sense of smell is the most powerful sense we have that link is linked to memory. I was enjoying a memory at the same time as learning about my new equipment.

Not all books carry a distinct smell. But when you have one that does, you can’t help yourself from enjoying it.

Work Interrupted (1891)
Image via Wikipedia

6

Focused distraction

No crazy underlined link things to get you off on a tangent. Just pure-D snuggle on the couch with your coffee and one topic happiness.

If I have the ability to be distracted, I will. If I am reading a book on an iPad and come across a word I don’t know, I will open the dictionary app and look it up. While there, I will be reminded of something else that I wanted to look up. I will flip to the Safari app and Google it. Before I know it, I’m no further along in my reading that I was before.

If I’m reading a book made of paper, I have no ability to get distracted by other things. I maintain my focus on the one distraction, namely the story I’m reading. If I come across a word I don’t know, I use context to understand it and underline it so I can go back later and look it up.

Conclusion

Reading a book on an iPad, Kindle, or Nook has its benefits, no doubt. There are some things, though, that they just cannot offer.

Have I missed anything? Join the discussion in the comments.

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60 Responses to 6 Reasons To Buy a Book Made of Paper
  1. ashok
    July 31, 2010 | 3:53 pm

    Put this on Stumbleupon – thanks for visiting my blog, btw.

    I gotta say I am really irritated with the rise of e-books. It’s just more power to those who consider themselves “readers” even though they only read Dean Koontz and the like. Those of us who are rereading books we love and even books we hate because we want to know are almost being thrown away from the book market.

    We don’t need more technology re: books. We need better books.

    • Idearella
      July 31, 2010 | 6:48 pm

      I also feel this way regarding calculators. Of course those have been around much longer than e-Readers and I’ve pretty much lost that battle. (Although when I teach math on Saturday’s at the local community college, I do prohibit them.)

      • nick
        August 2, 2010 | 12:44 am

        and thats why I hate you

    • Abstract
      August 12, 2010 | 3:04 pm

      What exactly is wrong with Dean Koontz? I love his books, along with King, Harrison, Asimov, Meyer, and a host of others. Been reading for as long as I can remember, and while I do appreciate the qualities of an actual book vs an electronic copy, I love the idea of not having to carry around an armload of books with me all the time. Yes, I am a “reader”, despite your obvious prejudice against Dean Koontz.

      • Idearella
        August 13, 2010 | 3:30 pm

        Thanks, Abstract, for your comments.

        I recall in a course in college learning that when a child wants to read what a teacher would normally term as “garbage,” we should still allow and even encourage it. It builds reading speed and vocabulary.

        I personally am a fan of Koontz (and King) as well as Bester, Zelazney, Bradbury and a host of other writers of curious works. But I like Shakespeare too. Interestingly, my favorite is “Titus Andronicus.” Is there a theme here?

  2. Alex
    August 1, 2010 | 8:03 pm

    Your diction makes me feel sick. “Snuggle,” “pulp,” “irresistible,” “good ol’,” “slick,” “sleek,” “pleasurable.” You sound like an old woman. No offense.

    • Idearella
      August 1, 2010 | 8:25 pm

      Well, if you are 16, then yes, I’m an old woman.

      Although you’ve not left much in the way of your own vocabulary, it is clear that you don’t understand what the word offense means. Clearly you mean to offend when you indicate that the actions or words of someone causes you digestive distress. Especially since there is no true way for my choice of words to cause you such pain.

      Unless of course you are eating your computer. In which case, I believe it is not my words but your carbon based body reacting to petroleum based ingestibles.

      With highest regard,
      Idearella, age 97

      • Vonda
        August 1, 2010 | 10:33 pm

        Not only do you list how I feel about books, but you have a firm grasp on sarcasm and etiquette. You are great, in my ‘book’! =)

        • Idearella
          August 2, 2010 | 4:51 am

          Why, thank you, Vonda!

          I do my best.

  3. Aruvqan
    August 1, 2010 | 11:09 pm

    I disagree. While I do love paper books, I find myself using ebooks more and more. I spend a lot of quality time in doctor’s waiting rooms and hospitals [I am physically a gimp - with major joint issues] and having a small reasonably light reading platform that I can store several hundred books upon is essential [I read using alibris on my droid]

    And to categorize myself and many of my friends as a brainless twit who only reads Dean Koontz [or Twilight] is unfair. Many people I know prefer ebooks for many reasons, and we number scientists, authors and even the odd patent examiner. My last paper book purchase a few weeks ago is Tilke’s Oriental Costume reference book, and I can barely lift it. It is being scanned by my husband so I can actually use it as a reference work.

    • Idearella
      August 2, 2010 | 4:57 am

      Thanks, Aruvqan.

      My chemist friend is a super reader on the iPad. She is clearly not a brainless twit.

      And I’m glad you still do paper books. Oriental Costume… very interesting.

  4. Patrick
    August 3, 2010 | 12:23 pm

    What’s wrong with you? “…the feel of paper on skin is irresistible.” I find things like this online highly pretentious, what exactly are you trying to say here? I get the impression you want people to know books make you come. I can’t see what’s wrong with a kindle or some reading machine, even the laptop is a seriously useful reading vehicle. I think the distinction has to be made here that an academic person needs the internet as a source of books/ information. If you need the information from 10 books simultaneously then obviously it makes sense to use a reading machine. If you’re reading a novel then it’s better to get the paper version, even if the paper get’s you wet.
    It seems to me there are people out there who have taken to concept of reading and find ongoing learning an appealing idea. What really pisses me off is people who like the idea, preach it but do not practise it. You seem to be one of those. You proclaim to the world that you buy books to inspire you, without reading them, are easily distracted by links on webpages and one aspect to enjoy about a book is the pictures, the paper( to get off on?) and the print. My god the print of all things.
    There’s always the outside chance this article was totally tongue in cheek and i missed it, although pointing out the sensuality of a book gives me a slight impression of this. You piss me off in so many ways. Wow books, i’ll be cool if i like them, but oh i can’t read a WHOLE ONE! By the way, Bibliophilia is a serious crime and maybe it’s better that those books come at people like you through a screen. How exactly do you “do a book,” is it from the back, you on top or pages strewn across the floor with you having your wicked way with numerous chapters all at once?

    • Idearella
      August 3, 2010 | 3:13 pm

      Hmm… “Tongue in cheek.”

      I’ll have to look up that term before I respond.

    • Sarah
      August 6, 2010 | 12:19 pm

      No, Patrick, what’s wrong with YOU?

      Why rant about “bibliophilia” for a half-page? There is nothing in the article she has written that suggests she has any sexual fascination with paper books. Do you realize that an ad hominem attack only advertises your own ignorance and takes away from your credibility as a writer (commentator)?

      I suppose you’re trying to be clever here. You aren’t.

      I, for one, understand your argument in favor of paper books. While I understand that ereaders are useful in many situations, I happen to think that they take away from the romance (uh-oh Patrick!) of reading.

      They have transformed a good, pure diversion into something hi-tech and computerized and I resent them for that while I simultaneously acknowledge their utility. Call me a reactionary.

      • Idearella
        August 12, 2010 | 9:00 am

        Their utility is undeniable, Sarah.

        Alas, we can hold on to the romance until some strange version of Bradbury’s classic is realized, where paper books are burned and eBooks are allowed.

        *sigh*

    • Dave
      October 7, 2010 | 11:53 pm

      Technically, I think it’d be more papyrophilia, as it’s the delicious feel of the paper rather than an objection to books in general.

    • David
      November 11, 2010 | 11:42 pm

      Dude, chill out. She’s expressing a personal opinion, not railing against ebooks. A personal opinion, by the way, that I agree with.

  5. Kelsey
    August 4, 2010 | 4:20 am

    I find that I use both quite frequently- I’m on break right now from college and I’m reading everything I can get my hands on. I also reread a lot of my books, so some of my paper books are a lot more careworn than any of the books on my Kindle. I’ve also noticed that I tend to prefer my Kindle for leisure reading and paper books for academics. The one thing I do like more about paper books is you can actually see how much you read; it’s more mind-boggling when you see stacks and stacks of books rather than a number on a screen.

    • Idearella
      August 5, 2010 | 4:46 am

      Thanks, Kelsey, for your comment (and sorry for the delay approving it).

      “Careworn.” That’s a good word. And it sort of shows some love of the book, doesn’t it. It is hard to love a Kindle book like that.

      I’m writing an eBook right now and I can’t help but keep my eye on the number of pages as it grows. Curiously, I always zoom out to see them all – just like you mentioned. It helps to have the visual, not just the numeric concept.

      When reading anything, I do that. Wad up the pages I’ve read and the pages that are unread and compare. Weird how we are as humans.

  6. Kirsten
    August 5, 2010 | 12:18 am

    Kindle’s great and all, but it doesn’t fill a bookshelf.

    I can see advantages to either, and as long as paper books are still being published, I won’t have a problem with Kindle or the iPad.

    Live and let live, right?

    It’s like religion.

    That being said, I won’t force Christianity OR paper books on anyone. I promise.

    • Idearella
      August 5, 2010 | 4:50 am

      I’m with you on that one, Kirsten.

      Makes me remember Fahrenheit 451. They banned all reading – but perhaps that was only because Bradbury didn’t conceive of the eReader. I think, though, that if paper books were banned, they would have a much more violent fight on their hands than any holy war.

  7. Bluememaw
    August 5, 2010 | 11:27 am

    Poor Alex. Limiting himself to the vocabulary of only his generation. Dude, it’s like…ya know…sweet…and stuff.

    Ah, Patrick. Such a male response. Always have to tie sex into everything you touch.

    There is something comforting about holding and smelling a book be it old or new. I have a large number of books that I have yet to read that give me great pleasure. They are in the book case. I know what they are about. They are there if and when I need or want to read them. I have shiny pages of pictures created by people like Charles Wysocki that entertain me regularly.

    The only reason I would use a nook would be while traveling. It makes better sense to carry my reading material in an electronic package than to load a suitcase with the number of books I need. We’ll see. I’m flying from one side of the country to the other in late September.

    • Idearella
      August 6, 2010 | 4:48 am

      Let us know how it goes, Bluememaw.

      I’m resisting a Nook or Kindle or iPad just as I resisted digital cameras. Of course the resistance is supported by the cost.

      Let us know how it went when you return.

  8. Mel
    August 6, 2010 | 10:06 am

    I have to admit that I find e-books appealing when I’m stuck somewhere in a line or a waiting room, and though I don’t always carry a book with me I always have my iPhone. But I will never stop purchasing good old fashion paper-and-binding books. One of my favourite things that you didn’t touch on is the aesthetics of the personal library. The pretty, perfectly-vertical (or sometimes, -horizontal) collection of spines and author names and titles. My own collection is a point of pride, though I shudder to imagine the cumulative cost. Thank you, by the way, for extolling the virtues of the new-book scent! Non-readers always look at me like I’m ridiculous when I talk like that. (And, in a side note, I thought your language was fantastic! The worst part about the internet is the unsolicited negative feedback.)

    • Idearella
      August 12, 2010 | 8:58 am

      Thanks so much, Mel!

      I do look forward to someday having an eBook for just that reason – carrying around my reading material gets heavy. (Although, it seems I can’t be trusted with an iPhone these days, so an eReader might not be in the cards. I dropped mine in water last night!)

      The beauty of a library is something to behold. I dream of sitting on the wide hearth next to a crackling fire reading a book off the dark wood shelves in my 15 foot personal library. *sigh* Someday…

  9. kevin
    August 12, 2010 | 9:22 pm

    Books are like radio and movies, soething new came along that people thought would destroy them but they still survive. When the lights dont work, and electricity no longer flows, books will be there for us.

    • Idearella
      August 13, 2010 | 3:31 pm

      Oh, yes, Kevin, indeed they will!

      In Houston we experience that occasionally during Hurricane season. It is then that we are glad you can’t literally read the words off the pages of familiar books.

  10. Emily
    August 14, 2010 | 1:00 pm

    All of the reasons you posted for resisting e-Readers are precisely the reasons I have resisted them. Yet, on a vacation last summer, as I tried (unsuccessfully) to cram my book into my bag so that I could read it on the subway, I found myself wishing I had just such a device. In light of this, I have now revised my position: e-Readers are appealing for their portability and size and therefore ideal for traveling and on-the-go reading, but for at-home, curled-up-on-the-couch reading, nothing can replace the feel of an actual paper and ink book. (And I am a spine-breaker, by the way. It’s why my sister no longer allows me to borrow her books. I just can’t help it – I like books to lay flat.)

    • Idearella
      August 14, 2010 | 8:29 pm

      Oh, my, Emily! I too am a spine bender – but am appalled at dog-earers! That really doesn’t make much sense.

      Thanks for your comments!

  11. Kenz1e
    August 21, 2010 | 11:42 am

    I’m not sure if Stumble brought me here to read why I should love paper books or the comments to follow. Either way the comments make me smile and I must agree that I do love paper books and have a bit of a fear that in the digital world one day paper books will no longer be here for us to enjoy.

    • Idearella
      August 24, 2010 | 8:24 am

      It makes me sad thinking of that, Kenz1e.

      With enough of us sticking around and buying them, we can hold that off…

  12. Lee
    August 22, 2010 | 6:27 am

    \O/

    I love books! The smell of a really old book just makes me happy.

    When I was 12 I read Jane Eyre for the first time. I’d gotten the book out from the library and was so totally upset every time I had to take it back. In the end I did buy a copy, but I missed the feel of the hardback library book. I glued hard cardboard to my softback Jane Eyre.

    … Wasn’t the same.

    • Idearella
      August 23, 2010 | 5:13 am

      Lee, I’m struggling with words to respond to you. It tugs at my heart – makes me want to hug the kid with the cardboard glued on the book.

      The image is powerful.

      Thank you for sharing that.

  13. [...] 6 Reasons To Buy a Book Made of Paper [...]

  14. remi
    August 31, 2010 | 4:47 pm

    I stumbled here. No offense, but those are terrible reasons. Particularly 3 and 4 are insultingly superficial. Do you realize how wasteful making a paper book is? Especially if youre not even reading it! There

    • Idearella
      September 1, 2010 | 2:44 pm

      Thanks, remi, for your comments. Here are some questions for you:

      How many times do you wear your clothing before washing them? If less than ten times, you’re wasting water.

      How many sets of clothing do you have? Do you repair holes or throw things away? I have yet to find a place that will recycle textile.

      At least we can recycle paper.

      As for #3 – I finished a degree in math because I purchased a book that gave me the courage to do it. I never opened that book.

  15. Marie
    September 19, 2010 | 11:38 pm

    I just put a badge on my Bookworm blog (http://theshorebookworm.blogspot.com) pledging to read the printed word. I adore books. I live surrounded by them and couldn’t have it any other way. The mere sight of a book gives me pleasure, even if saying so makes me odd, elitist, condescending or any other pejorative label. I absolutely agree with your reasons and could add at least a dozen more. As a matter of fact, you have inspired me to do a similar post. :)

    I cannot believe I have a ‘but’. lol But…it is also about the words. A book is a thing of beauty to me because of what will happen when I open it. So an e-book does have the same possibility, even if it will never be the same tactile experience.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post!

    • Idearella
      September 22, 2010 | 9:01 am

      Thanks for the comment Marie!

      It is good to know there are others like me out there. I look forward to your post!

  16. Dave
    October 6, 2010 | 6:42 pm

    So, no real reason, then. If I somehow want a tactile sensation when reading a book, I’ll wrap the Kindle in a newspaper.

    I can take notes on it, thanks, in fact it’d have more room than scribbling in the margins. Not to mention, you know, you’re allowed to still use a notebook.

    I think I’m missing the point entirely of ‘buying a book to not read it’, but then I’m kinda old-fashioned like that; I tend to buy books that I DO read.

    ‘Prettiness’ is fairly subjective, though personally I’d read a book that has something to say over one that’s shiny any day.

    The smell, see point one, and ‘crazy underlined link things’ gives a fair indicator as to your comfort-zone with technology.

    Did you run out of stone tablets to carve this article on?

    • Kate
      October 7, 2010 | 7:26 pm

      1 The feel of the book in your hand

      The cramp you get trying to hold a book open with one hand while you reach for a drink or pet the cat on your lap, or hold your bag at the bus station. The smudged print, the papercuts, the awful way paper feels in the winter if your hands are overly-dry.

      2 Note taking

      The tiny little space in the margins for you to deface a perfectly good book

      3 To not read

      I can’t even fathom this one. Like Dave, I buy books to read. If I did want to buy books to not read, I could do that with my nook just fine.

      4 It is pretty

      My purple leather case with the cherry blossom tapestry is pretty. So are the Oberon cases that I can’t afford just yet. And not all books are pretty. Some have covers that are so ugly or stupid it’s embarrassing to read them in public.

      5 The smell

      My cat smells like old books. This is because he sleeps under the dresser, where it gets dusty. Sometimes, I sniff him while I read my nook, and it’s like I’m sitting in a used bookstore. And most of that “old book smell” comes from a mild mildew, which I can replicate in my kitchen.

      6 Focused distraction

      Most ebooks don’t have links off to tangents. You’re thinking of websites. And even if they did, you wouldn’t have to click it. That’s like saying reading paper books are distracting because there are so many other pages you could turn to instead.

      I could list quite a lot of reasons why digital books are better than paper, but I’ve taken up far too much (digital) space already.

    • Dave
      October 7, 2010 | 11:54 pm

      Incidentally, if you can bear to click an underlined link thingy, I proposed my own list of reasons why paper books have an advantages over ebooks at http://su.pr/3eKHZP ;)

      • Idearella
        October 11, 2010 | 6:22 am

        Thank you, Dave and Kate.

        #3 is the most difficult for people to understand, unless you’ve done it. I purchased a book called A Concrete Approach to Abstract Algebra in undergraduate school and never read it. It gave me courage knowing that it was there.

        Dave, I commented back on your blog post. I find your #6 especially strange since you chastised my tongue-in-cheek list here.

  17. Jodi Kaplan
    October 8, 2010 | 11:56 am

    Real books!

    If you drop a real book it still works! The batteries never run out. Oh, and you can read them on airplanes too!

    If you’ll stand for a link (lots more reasons here):
    http://www.squidoo.com/print-books-or-digital-books

    • Idearella
      October 11, 2010 | 6:32 am

      Thanks for the comment, Jodi. Wow! 16 reasons!

      I’m especially annoyed when I am asked to turn off my electronic devices for takeoff and landing. Furthermore I don’t understand how we have such incredible technology and yet my cell phone being on could bring down the entire airplane!

      (I tried to post on your blog and I’m not sure if it is currently in moderation or if I accidentally deleted it.)

  18. David
    November 11, 2010 | 11:49 pm

    Thanks very much for making this post, I very much agree with you (:

    Being a poor college student, I only just bought a book-case (only took me 3 years!), and having done so makes me so proud. I can now do the books I love the justice of putting them on display, so I can admire the cover art and easily select one for rereading.

    And to be honest, there’s nothing better than having your entire favorite series all together in order, showing that you’ve stuck with the entire series and were dedicated enough to buy it regardless of how you prefer your books.

    Another plus is that you really can take a book anywhere, no danger of the screen getting broken. If I’m hiking and/or climbing, the physical guide book is much more practical, so I don’t have to worry about damaging it.

    My older sister is much the same as I am, but she has rheumatoid arthritis in her hands, and has problems physically holding a book open. To this end, she uses an ereader, but she still buys the books she loves. (:

    • Idearella
      November 12, 2010 | 4:35 am

      Thanks for your comments, David! I didn’t even think of the series all in a row on the shelves – how true. That’s how I did my Terry Pratchett books. (I love the Discworld series!)

      • David
        November 12, 2010 | 1:22 pm

        Eeee Terry Pratchet (: You just got more awesome.

        • Idearella
          November 13, 2010 | 4:26 am

          Now you’re making me want to dig out my illustrated The Last Hero. It isn’t Josh Kirby, but it is still a beautiful read!

  19. Chris
    December 2, 2010 | 4:58 pm

    Hey, I just wanted to let the author of this article know what a treat I found it to be.

    I agree, there is nothing like the smell of old books.

    However, I will briefly defend my choice to buy an iPad for eBooks. For I too was one of the many print-only defenders for a long time. I couldn’t keep it up, you see, because I have ADHD. What this means in the context of books is important. If I am reading a book and I have no outlet for my distractions, like you say, I will get lost in my own thought processes, and end up having to re-read sentences, paragraphs, sometimes even pages!

    I am also 20, which means I am considerably on the very precipice of the “cybernation generation.” This means that I have spend a lot more of my childhood time with my head in front of a screen, reading video game cheats and reviews, as well as instructions. I also spent a lot of time retrieving information off of the internet for papers and such; the internet is simply a much better-digested source of information than a book (You don’t have to flip through pages, checking the index or table of contents every 2 seconds, I can simply find what I need with a search function of any sort) so by this day, I have much better comfort and ease reading a screen than a sheet of paper. I simply read better and faster on a screen, for better or for worse it is a product of my environment and upbringing.

    Rather than sit in front of a book letting my unfettered mind run wild while I get nothing productive done, if there is a misunderstanding with the text I can “tab out” and read all about it. While you are correct, there is a lot to be gleaned from the context, if you are reading Ulysses, say, there is a whole lot that can zoom by you even with the entire context in front of you. So rather than wallow in my own unproductivity (is that even a word? Lemme look that up on google really quick!) I am allowed “mental space” to learn *about* what I am reading, and then go back to reading with newfound, easily-accessed knowledge in hand, without having to get up and drag myself into the other room to grab my Ulysses reference text (I prefer the one by Burgess, to any curious lit majors).

    Just wanted to provide a little bit of defense for the eBook position. I would like to end on the upbeat note that despite my preferences, I do retain a small library of my greatest and most favorite books (Dostoevsky, Faulkner, Shakespeare, many more to give you examples) no matter what cheapo apartment I am in that year!

    • Idearella
      December 3, 2010 | 4:39 am

      Awesome, Chris!

      Thank you so much for elaborating. Being in the GenX group, I don’t really understand this point of view. You explained it very well, though, so I can understand better.

      So funny that you are annoyed by the flipping of pages and referring to TOC and index. Because that’s exactly what I find so great! :D

      The different generations are so interesting that way. Everything is sort of hard wired in those early years and so the vast cultural differences in the decades make for vast cultural differences between our age groups.

      Thanks bunches!

  20. Ralph
    December 3, 2010 | 11:02 am

    As a computer scientist and a technology enthusiast I find myself incredibly torn between e-readers and physical books. There’s something so appealing about the idea of opening a door in my house and having a room full of hundreds of books worn from dozens of re-readings, and I have to agree that -nothing- compares to the smell of an old book. On the other hand the allure of having hundreds of books at my fingertips weighing no more than four or five pounds is nearly irresistible. The main thing preventing me from seeking one is the need to repurchase electronic versions of books I already own, or having to spend countless hours physically scanning them myself and potentially skipping pages in a senior moment.

    I think the problem most of we book lovers have with the general population toting around an e-reader and reading Twilight or some other trashy romance novel that the self proclaimed literati deem an affront to the English language stems from being teased in junior high and being called a book worm and a nerd. Their books became their only friends and an escape to some fantasy world became a comfort, and seeing these jock types begin to enjoy what they made their own seems like an intrusion into their private world that was supposed to be an escape from them.

    I doubt they would admit this to themselves and they may not even be aware that this is why they react so vehemently to e-readers, but I’m certain it’s the reason behind it.

    I look forward to/dread the day I am able to fully accept e-readers into my life if only for the joy of having ctrl-f available in all of my readings/giving up on my dream of having my own personal library.

    • Idearella
      December 4, 2010 | 7:59 pm

      Wow, Ralph.

      Thanks for sharing this. I’ve never thought of that. I was somewhat a hybrid kid – good at math and English but also in the drill team. I understand the pull of the eReader. I’m just not sure I’ll go there. (or maybe I will – who knows)

      Thanks for your comment.

  21. Paul
    December 9, 2010 | 1:43 pm

    Books are expensive. Sure, if you can afford them that’s not an issue. It’s much easier to download an e-book from some questionable source than pay anything between 3 and 300 dollars on a paperback. Then, books take space. I have about 50 books and more then 1000 e-books. Imagine a guy like me, who must move almost every year dragging along 1000 books. I actually don’t own an e-book reader as they are both expensive and too small. Moreover, it is always a question whether the format of my e-books is known to that reader. So, from my point of view, e-books + laptop.

    • Idearella
      December 11, 2010 | 9:11 am

      Thanks for the thoughts, Paul!

      I wonder, though, if you download questionable files wouldn’t that compromise your laptop? Unless you have a Mac, then you’re mostly good.

  22. mike
    February 9, 2011 | 10:27 am

    Had a chance to experience my first ebook over the weekend.. I borrowed my girlfriend’s kindle and went in search of something to read while waiting for my car to be worked on.

    I must say that it was a great convenience to have so many book options. The download took less than 30 seconds..

    And as Paul mentioned above.. I am planning a move in the near future and trying to get rid of a lot of “stuff’ to make the move easier.. One thing I did to downsize was to sell about 50 books. I can fit the kindle in my back pocket.

    • Idearella
      February 10, 2011 | 5:09 am

      It is nice to have tons of options, Mike. As long as you don’t get option-overload. That’s my issue. I’ve got lots of books on my iPhone and I read none of them because there are too many.

      But I have the same problem with paper books, so that’s not really an argument. Except that there’s no way I can haul 1000 paper books to the Ford dealership while my car is being worked on! :D

      Thanks, Mike!

  23. Adrian
    February 9, 2011 | 4:42 pm

    I think it is hilarious that people are so passionate about their choice of reading mediums.

    Me, I’m a free-for-all. Paper, digital, droid Phone, iPad, I am an equal opportunity reader! I wouldn’t care if the book were printed on sheets of toilet paper. As long as it is an interesting book, I want to read it.

    As for the touch, taste, or smell of a book, honestly, I never noticed. I was too busy enjoying the little words printed on the page! And it matters not to me if those words are little electronic bytes or printed words on the page.

    I saved for months to buy my Kindle when they first came out, but I am just as liable to pick up a paper book or a magazine if it has the material I am interested in reading at the moment. I guess that makes me the original “equal opportunity” reader. Vive la difference!

    • Idearella
      February 10, 2011 | 5:11 am

      Excellent way to look at it, Adrian! Thanks for the comment.

      I remember seeing some novelty toilet paper once that was printed with bathroom reading material. Alright – I just found a place that does is: http://www.printedtp.com/. Wow.

  24. Deidre
    February 27, 2011 | 8:15 pm

    hey, I Stumbled through on this and I 100% agree with every single point. Just reading #5+1 made me grab one of the books I was sitting next to!!!

    Sadly, because I am travel a lot I have given consideration into buying an E-reader…I will never forsake my dear printed friends. I carry around my copy of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke wherever I sure as hell please. I’ve fixed it with scotch tape, there are stains and notes in the pages. That book has been my constant companion.

  25. Sheila
    May 16, 2011 | 4:49 pm

    I haven’t read all the comments, so I hope I’m not repeating. What about the ability to pass on a favorite to a loved one with a sentimental handwritten note inside the front cover. How about personalizing with beautiful bookplates and of course collecting wonderful, artful, handcrafted TANGIBLE bookmarks. I feel like crying to think of the coldness e-reading leaves us with. Useful? Yes, but at a tremendous loss. Imagine someone giving up their Steinway for the sake of being able to play a Mozart sonata by pressing micro-keys on a condensed electronic piano that would fit in a purse? Let the e-readers have their convenience. Please let the rest of us keep our paper and ink. It’s personal. Sheila

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