Monday, June 4, 2012

Old-fashioned Paperback versus Modern E-Reader

For Mother's Day, my family decided to all pitch in and buy my mother a Kobo (Canadian equivalent to the Kindle e-reader). She's a voracious reader, (which she thankfully passed down to me although she despises vampires and werewolves) and like my house, she has books everywhere. Usually for any special date or event with my mother we give her books, so I could see the look of disappointment on her face when she opened the Kobo.

I have the original Kobo with no bells and no whistles. It's ancient and people laugh when they see me out in public with it. So when she had some problems downloading books, I offered to help as I have downloaded dozens (and dozens) of e-books. When I was showing her how to download, she asked me if I really enjoyed reading books on a Kobo better than reading a paperback (which she referred to as a "real book").

I had to stop and think about my answer carefully because I like them both. I love to read books. I also love to go to the bookstore and just wander aimlessly for hours and study covers to figure out my next buy. I also love to buy books and place them on my shelves. I have eight shelves full of books. Some I've read several times, others are sitting on my waiting to read shelf. There is also nothing better than sitting on the couch or lying in bed and pulling back the cover of a book. I love the feel of the paper between my fingers and seeing just how far I've got to go until I reach the happily-ever-after ending. I also love to buy the entire series and have sitting right there for me to admire.

The drawback of the paperback is that they take up space - a lot of space and I don't want to get rid of them. I've got books marked with colored sticky notes hanging out of them for me to study a certain passage or how the author does something well or not so well.

I also like the Kobo because it is easier to take to work to read or on a trip and I don't have to worry about creasing the cover in my purse (I like my books in nearly perfect condition). It's easy to download and I never have to leave the house to buy the book. I have it within minutes, no matter when or what time I've ordered it. It's also easier to read with the baby in one arm and the Kobo in my other hand. There are also many books that are not in paperback form that I would be missing out on if I didn't have an e-reader. And the greatest reason that I love my e-reader is because I can sneak buying another book and my husband sees no evidence on a shelf. :)

The drawback of an e-reader? You just don't have the paperback in your hands and you can't see it on the shelf. With my ancient one, I also can't highlight or mark pages or passages, but my mom's can.

I answered that its a toss up and both have pros and cons, but I told her to give it a try and let me know in three months. I don't see myself not buying paperbacks or e-books. I'm still a paperback reader at heart.

What is your preference? Do you prefer to reach for the modern e-reader or the old-fashioned paperback?



Stacy McKitrick said...

I don't own an e-reader, so I guess that would be my answer!

If a book only comes digital, and I want to read it, then I guess it's my loss. But I just don't ever see me getting one. I have plenty of paper books to get by!

hypshine said...

Paperbacks are beautiful. Books are wonderful just to be around. There are thousands of books that deserve to be on everyone's shelves. Still, there are many that do not.

Since buying books is very expensive (at least here in Italy) and sometimes it's very hard to find what you need in a library, I think the e-reader is not that bad of an option. I can't help myself but to buy books, and sometimes I'm very disappointed with what I find between my hands.
Being able to read a book in advance on the e-reader help me to decide if it's worth its price (for an eventual purchase of the paperback version). And obviously, as stated, the e-reader is light weighted (marvelous for travelling) and practical.

I don't have a proper answer. I would never give up on paperbacks, but I find myself in the need of something like an e-reader - mostly because I like reading.

So, let's be open to possibilities and give the e-reader a try!

Rita said...

I own a Kindle and i love it, but i like to say i grew up in a library, so paper books are in my blood. Its nothing like having the weight of a book in your hands, whether its a textbook or a pleasure book. When i download a book on my kindle, i don't get that rush of excitement like i do with a paperback. So if i had to pick a side, i would say paper books hands down.

Emilia Quill said...

I got a Kindle last Christmas and I like both. I prefer the Kindle for trips, it's easier to hold while on the bus and you don't have to worry about pages ripping or scrunching on each bump. When at home I like the feel of paper and turning the pages.

I wish we could get school books in e-book format, specially the thick ones.

Terri Rochenski said...

I agree w/ the pros & cons.
I LOVE browsing a store / library's covers. So much stinkin' fun!
BUT I love my kindle's ability to nab a book from cyberspace if I'm at the lake house & needing a new book. NOW. The beauty of modern technology.
Still love the feel of a book & hearing the pages turn, though.

E.B. Black said...

I'm one of the few apparently who actually hates paper back books and prefers e-readers. I posted about it on my blog today actually. =)

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