As we make huge strides with technology, often that technology changes the way we do things. It also sparks controversy among those who are truly resistant or scared of change. When it comes to reading, technology changing the way we do it has been a historical constant. Just think of the nay-Sayers 2500 years ago “Oh no! I gave up my stone tablet and chisel for this papyrus stuff! It will never last as long as stone, and this knowledge will be lost to future generations!” Obviously we know that we did not lose knowledge, we just merely came up with a new – compact, easier-to-use – way of delivering it.
This is how I think about ‘real’ books versus e-books. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I LOVE my books – all 700 boxes of them (that was a little exaggerated) but when you move as often as I have and love to read as much as I do – well e-books just make a ton of sense and they are definitely easier on my back, and on the backs of my friends who have been pressed into serving as movers for me over the years.
I am also kind of a minimalist. Not because of any grand stance against material possessions; but seriously, because in the last 20 years of my life I have moved 22 times. You tend to get rid of stuff (books included) as you go and then in my case, I get a desire to re-read one of my books only to find that it now lives in Italy. I have to re-purchase the book. Good for authors and publishing companies, bad for Sophist’s wallet.
I will say that for school work I still prefer the ‘real’ books because I find referencing goes faster (although with e-books you can just copy and paste instead of retyping everything), but again, that speaks to my personal resistance to change in this particular instance. Also, if I am going to pay upwards of $300 for a book, I am keeping it. Forever.
For leisure reading though I am 100% a tech junkie. The Kindle Reader App saved my sanity many times when I didn’t think I would want a book with me and didn’t bring one; only to find myself sitting in a waiting room forced to watch Kathy Lee and Hoda get bombed on T.V. cackling like idiots about something Snookie or Honey Boo Boo did on T.V. last night. I would MUCH rather have a book. So if I can fit my entire library in my pocket and save myself from things that then so be it. Kindle wins.
Another reason I love my Kindle is the fact that I read fast. Have you ever been at the last 50-100 pages of a book and had to face this dilemma:
A: Carry two books with you
B: Take the book you are about to finish and finish it with nothing else to read for the day
C. Start a new book for your ‘outing’ and finish the older book when you get home.
An e-reader makes this a non-issue. Have your smart phone? You have your library. Boom! Sanity! You don’t even need the added expense of an e-reader unless you want one.
Which choice do you prefer; e-books or ‘real’ books? Do you think e-books take away from the pleasure of reading or take away some cultural significance of books? Why?