Think About This: E-Books Versus ‘Real’ Books


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?

6 thoughts on “Think About This: E-Books Versus ‘Real’ Books

  1. I am obsessed with my kindle!! It took me a really long time to buy one since I was emotionally attached to ‘real’ books. And while there is nothing like opening a book to smell that “new book smell” and to feel the crispness of turning unopened pages…I don’t have the space in my tiny apt, or money to keep buying books. If I need my ‘real’ book fix I go to a small independent bookstore by my apt and stay there for a few hours.

    • I too am a book sniffer and I do miss that new book smell, but like a bad relationship – once the thrill is gone you are just left to carry around a clunky book. Like you I am content to just wander into a nice bookstore to get my ‘smell’ fix! Thank you for your comment and happy reading!

  2. I am still stuck in the stone age of wanting to have a physical book to read. At the same time I am not one to have shelves of books around, I love switching them out every week at the library after I read them and donating the ones I buy. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something special about the smell of a library and a real book. 😉

    • Thanks for your comment! I think that donating old books or ‘finding’ that one great book at a used book shop or garage sale is one of the downsides to e-books. That whole ‘experience’ of reading and sharing is changing to book lists on Facebook instead of just handing your recently read masterpiece to a friend; as far as donations go – well, you can’t donate your used e-books. Maybe that is something to look into – a new way to donate our ‘used’ e-books to schools and libraries. I know I have purchased way too many that I have just deleted because I didn’t like the book – I used to donate those.

  3. Pingback: Thank You! « tolerantpeople

  4. I bought the etinre collection of books for my kids, and also for my nephews who live in California. The kids’ ages range from 4-10 yrs. old, and all of them enjoy the books. My kids find the books to be funny and fun to read. My husband and I appreciate the creative way that the books reinforce the Armenian language and culture to our kids. Great initiative by the author to capture in story-form what we as Armenian parents have experienced during our youth. As more and more generations of American-Armenians grow farther away from our foreign-born parents’ customs and rituals, these books allow us to bring the concepts back and share the funny anecdotes with our children so that they can continue to exist in their repetoire of the Armenian culture.

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