Paper books, electronic books

Paper books are the best. The feel of the paper, the smell of the ink, the weight of the book.

E-books are the best. My e-reader is so convenient, I can take so many book with me in one fine small device and they are ever present.

Yes, the fight is on, since a long time. Reports from Amazon.com show that the number of books sold in e-format outnumbers that of hardcovers and paperbacks combined. Reports here in the Netherlands show a dramatic increase in the sale of e-books and e-readers. E-books are seriously on the rise.

Will paper books disappear? I don’t know. I think it will take a long time before they do, if ever. More and more people will switch to e-books, the more as tablet-devices are becoming more mainstream. Most of them come pre-loaded with an e-book reader program, which makes the step to e-books easier. But there will always be people who favour paper and print. The whole shouting contest on what is the best is a total waste of breath and energy. Use what you prefer and enjoy it. Do not try to convert someone to change their favourite medium. Converting is useless. It is, for me, even an offense. Respect that someone can have a different opinion (and that is not just because of their reading preference). No need to agree with it.

I am an e-book reading kind of person, but I am not going to slap someone on the head with my e-reader. If they return the favour with their favourite 800 page hardcover, they will win that battle, even though there is not a war. After all, it is the joy of reading that counts. Not the medium you use for it.

And who knows. Modern technology goes fast. Maybe soon there will be e-readers that can emit the smell of ink for people who like that…

3 thoughts on “Paper books, electronic books”

  1. But do you actually read an e-book in the same way that you read paper books? I don’t (but give me another few years, and I might). I find I absorb far less from an e-book, and find it more difficult to pick up again halfway through. No reasons why this might be so.

  2. Since I have my e-reader, I have not bought paper books anymore, except for some special occasions where the e-book was not available. Perhaps it has to do with the way someone reads, but for me there is no difference in taking in the words, the story, the atmosphere, whether they come from paper or an e-ink screen.
    I appreciate the e-reader because it is light, stores many books, and so easy to take along. Perhaps the difference between you and me is that I am a gadget-lover. I work in ICT and I am quite interested in all kinds of electronic novelties.
    I know many people who vow never to use an e-reader. It is what you like, prefer.

  3. It’s all to do with nostalgia. The comedians were funnier when I was a kid, the music better, the air fresher… I grew up with book and although I have embraced technology – I’m sitting here in front of two laptops while my office PC is downloading files for me – I am never going to love e-books or music downloads. I understand totally the need to cut down on our use of the world’s dwindling resources but don’t ask me to like it. I have a Kindle – my wife bought it for me – but it’s not the first e-book reader I’ve owned – my wife bought me a Rocker eReader about ten years ago – and I have no problem with them other than the fact I have so many paper books still to read that I don’t have the time to download more. I have four bookcases in my office – floor-to-ceiling affairs – and they are full of books, CDs and tapes and it is a nice place to be in. On the other hand all my electronic media is in a dust-covered black box sitting under the table beside me in the living room. I would be upset if I lost any of it but I’d be devastated if I lost what’s in the office. When I pick up my copy of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a book that I have carted around for thirty-five years, it is not just a book; it is a lifetime’s worth of memories. It was the first book I bought after leaving school in a small newsagents on Burns Square in Ayr. I can’t imagine having the same emotional attachment to a few kilobytes of space on a hard drive.

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