The e-Book Reader: Hot Chocolate Versus Sunsets


From a Plinky prompt: “Would you ever get an e-book reader?”

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

Imagine if hot chocolate got in a fight with sunsets.

Or if you had to pick sides between the laughter of small children and tender hugs from loved ones. Imagine if great music somehow became the archenemy of tasty food, and you had to choose which one wins.

Can’t we all just get along?

And yet, that sort of quandary is where we are, thanks to the e-book reader.

In this corner — Cutting-edge technology. Oh, how I love you. Oh, how you make my life better. Words cannot express to you my gratitude for my iPhone, which makes me happy in countless little ways. I can’t imagine life without you. You make everything better and faster and shinier and usefuller and awesomer.

And in this corner — Words, printed on paper. Ideas incarnate. Facts and fantasies, information and imagination, captured in physical form. So delightfully visceral. So comfortable. So comforting. So familiar and yet so exciting — my oldest friend, continually taking me to unexplored realms.

How does one choose? How could one be asked to choose?

Yes, I love the idea of an e-book. I love the idea of being able to carry a library in this small portable form; of reading several books at once and always having the one I want to read with me when I want to read it. I love the idea of technology transforming reading; I love the idea of relating to written words in new ways I’ve never been able to before.

But at what cost? At the cost of not owning a physical copy of a book? Of not being able to hold it in my hands, to leaf through it, to feel its heft and know its dimensions? Of not feeling the texture of the dead tree pulp on which its words are printed? Of not having it on a shelf in my home, a proud sign for visitors that this volume is a small part of who I am? Of not being able to go into my library and pull down the perfect volume that a friend simply must read? Of not being able to skim a bookcase for that one book that has exactly what I’m looking for? Of not having a pile in my bedroom of books queued up to vie for my time and attention?

As an author, am I willing to pay the cost of no longer having the overwhelming thrill, the victory, of lifting a bound block of paper, and knowing — like Joyce and Faulkner and Dickens and Hemingway and Dostoevsky and Miley Cyrus before — that I made this?

May it not be.

I imagine it is inevitable. I imagine that in the not too distant future, enough people will have readers or tablet computers or whatever next-generation device they come up with by then that electronic books will gradually become the default, so insidiously that we don’t even notice that printed volumes have joined vinyl records in intriguing obsolescence.

And I imagine that it will be convenient and delightful, and make reading more enjoyable than it ever has been before. And I imagine that when that day comes, I will be happy, and will love reading books electronically.

But, so help me, I will miss real books.

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146 Responses

  1. e-books will never smell as awesome as real, old books.

  2. Amen!

  3. easy choice…real books. i want to be able to read first and last 10 minutes of a flight damnit!
    http://dearexgirlfriend.com/

  4. I have decided that when it comes time, I will have my hot chocolate while watching the sunset. It is likely that an e-reader of some sort will appear under the Christmas tree this year. I’m sure I will love the convenience of it while traveling, but have no intentions of curling up with it in the comfy chair when I’m at home. That’s a place for my real books.

  5. I love the idea of an e-Reader; but I love the smell of ink and the feeling of paper much, much more…

    😉

  6. I suffered with this conundrum when I first heard about the eBook readers. I swore I would never own one — it would ruin everything that’s fantastic about reading. It would take away from the experience of reading, such a physical activity (turning pages, flipping from front to pack, feeling the weight of the book, smelling the pages). And so I vowed never, ever to give in to the technological gizmo that would forever ruin reading.

    And yet, an eBook reader was at the top of my Christmas wish list this year.

    Great post — and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    Happy Holidays and Drive on,
    – M.

  7. Like everyone else here, the smell of a book gets to me. Wasn’t there some research about how smell was our strongest scent memory?
    http://theteachingwhore.wordpress.com/

  8. Dearex — See, that’s funny, because travel had been one of the pro-e-reader arguments for me. Figuring out which books go on the trip, and which of those go on the flight, would be easier if they were all in one device. Hadn’t thought of the electronic-device limitations, though. Good point.

    Tanner24 — Yeah, I’ve been curious how well they could co-exist in my life. I’m afraid it would start a slippery slope.

    M. — Hope you like it, and thanks!!

    Mikalee — I’m with you.

  9. I’m addicted to books, but not only. I’m addicted to its contents and I always want to have them all with me at all times. I can’t remember the last time I was able to pack for a get-away weekend and take only one from the shelf. However, I still haven’t been able to decide between a high-tech e-reader and the comfort of a real book.

  10. E-books can be deleted easily, that’s the problem.

  11. I’m leaning towards an e-reader right now because I never seem to have my current book with me when I need it. Then I usually have that same book lying around for months before I finally finish it.

    I’d like to see a digital copy with purchased books, like they do with DVDs. You buy the book, you get a code to download a free digital copy. Everybody wins!

  12. normal books all the way, a lot less expensive when you throw the book at the wall when you’re frustrated with the storyline!
    only joking, i don’t do that (much)!
    i get easily bored reading large amounts of text on a screen, and normal books are just far easier to read!

  13. Real books, hands down. I’ll gladly donate purse or suitcase space to a couple of books. There’s nothing like real paper and pages. The e-readers…cool, but just not the same.

  14. Berettaluvz26 — I’m with you completely about the digital copy. I’ve seen that done with vinyl LPs, and think it’s a great idea. I would buy more records if I could put them on my iPod, and I would be more likely to buy an e-Reader if I didn’t have to choose between the two formats.

  15. I’m not so excited about tablets and their e-books, but one day it’ll be the reality.
    Well, I’ll miss real books too!

  16. Yes, a quagmire to be sure. I think it’s foolish to not embrace technology, yet holding a book in my lap is much like holding my baby – there is a physical connection with the smell and feel of books that won’t die easily, even as my baby outgrows my lap.

  17. Id rather curl-up on the sofa when reading I like the idea of havng an techncal reading devce though especially useful whilst reading in bed Hapy Chrstmas 2010

  18. I love reading a good book but I also excited about the E-book I asked for one for Christmas it would be nice to be able to carry it while traveling..

  19. As long as I could read the book, I rarely ponder on whether the book is printed or comes in the form of an e book. Yet I must admit that I do miss the smell when ever I read e books! And that sucks, big time!!! 😀

  20. I’m with you on this. I love the library, I love old books, I love the feel of a book in my hands as I’m reading at night and falling asleep. I like the sound the book makes on my nightstand. As much as I “get” the convenience of the ebook .. I just don’t want on. Great post!

  21. No wait – it’s not a choice! I am the proud owner of shelves of beloved tomes as well as a Sony Reader. The shelves keep the books that mean something, the books that evoke from me the same passion you describe: Tocqueville, Dumas, Joyce, Melville. And I buy hard copies of new books that I want to hold and feel connected to. But the Reader has everything else. Do I need a shelf full of Tom Clancy novels? Or Vince Flynn? Not really, but I sure like taking those books on vacation, and love the ease with which I can do that thanks to technology and my handy Reader. So don’t fall victim to tyranny of the “or.” Embrace both!

  22. […] more: The e-Book Reader: Hot Chocolate Versus Sunsets Posted on 2010 年 12 月 14 日 by lanshang1460. This entry was posted in 未分类 and tagged […]

  23. I will be getting a Kindle for Christmas, but it won’t stop me from buying real books. First off, Kindles (or Nooks, or whatever) don’t come with the same kinds of pictures that real books do and there are times when I absolutely want pictures. Also, I buy books from other countries and, even if they are available in electronic format in those countries, I can’t download them to my machine here in the States. So I’ll continue to import books.

  24. I love my e reader (handy for travel) and I love real books too! The disadvantage to an ereader is that there are some titles you cannot download right now. The advantage is, I don’t have hundreds of books cluttering my room (according to my family) now…LOL!

    I will have my cup of hot chocolate and whatever title is handy–and it won’t be on my ereader this time. I bought a copy of “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo and I preferred the hard copy this time!

  25. Good post. I felt the same way 12 months ago…now have switched completely to the dark side and do not foresee ever going back. It’s a matter of taste, and hopefully we can provide stories via whatever medium people may wish for well into the future, whether its paper, digital, laser beams directly to the frontal lobe…

  26. I believe there is a “Nook” under the tree for me, and I love the feel of real books, so only time will tell which I prefer?! Maybe as you say, can’t we all just get along? I’m hoping that some times there will be the convenience of the Nook that the paper of a book just can not fill, and vice versa…the best of both worlds within my grasp! Aaahhh, gotta love it! Good post, thanks for sharing your take on this much debated subject…

    evelyngarone.com

    evelyngarone.com

  27. I have to stick with books!! I don’t really like those ereader things.

  28. I have an e-reader and I must say that it is the best thing that I have, but and this is a huge but, I can’t lend my books out. My best friend and I frequently exchange books and now that I have an e-reader I can’t just give her the book I finished and say read it because she doesn’t have an e-reader!

  29. Excellently put!

  30. Books a truly beautiful things. My guess is that people will embrace both; I can’t imagine books actually going away completely.

    I mean, I also couldn’t imagine video tapes or cassette tapes going away, but they don’t have the same aesthetic or emotional appeal.

    Also, bears.

  31. Books are truly beautiful things. My guess is that people will embrace both; I can’t imagine books actually going away completely.

    I mean, I also couldn’t imagine video tapes or cassette tapes going away, but they don’t have the same aesthetic or emotional appeal.

    Also, bears.

  32. I answered this same plinky prompt and have to take the other side. I cannot part with my paper books and I fear that e books will cause an increasing divide between the have and have nots. I also fear that this will make writing an even less lucrative profession in a world with potentially no bound books in the future. I understand the convenience and wonder of e-books for travel and portability, but I can’t picture my house without bookshelves and books to give and share.

    http://transplantednorth.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/why-im-never-going-digital

  33. Interesting post! I feel like books will never completely disappear (at least I hope not). I really wonder if e-books will simply evolve into something slightly different from the traditional book. Maybe a new form of stroytelling is begging to be found. After all, endless lines of words on a screen are boring to read. I mean, you can’t really write a “page turner” for an e-book. It’s just not the same. Something to think about in any case.

  34. I have enough eye strain from sitting at this darn computer when I have to. I don’t want to have an eBook as a default. As a writer, I still love writing my first drafts out longhand and print off my manuscripts to proofread. There’s just something about paper that makes my heart smile.

    I love convenience, but I don’t think that reading is about convenience and speed of delivery. Reading is the time when I slow down, experience all the sensory details, and lose myself for hours. I don’t want any speedy, sterile substitutions for that. At least for now.

    Great Post! 😀

    http://www.copywrite1985.wordpress.com

  35. Beautifully written. And what a dilemma! I want my hot chocolate and sunsets, too. So I’m going to side with @speakingofwine and choose both.

  36. I absolutely love this! I just got an e-reader about a week ago, my parents figured that I read so many books that this would be less expensive in the long run. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it, it is the bomb. But i am honestly missing real books already. I thought i was the only person out there that loved the way books smell, its one of my favorite parts of the book. 😦 i have decided i would wait a few weeks and then beg for just one more book. What can I say… I’m addicted

  37. We have started a wonderful tradition in my family that for Christmas we buy each other a new book as well as pass along a book that is dear to our hearts. Each year I open the book and see a lovely message inside from one of my family members. I have them all on a special shelf in my office.
    Ebook readers are convenient, but they take away the unique things that books evoke in us. The passion, the sentimentality, the joy that others can put into words what we have been feeling for so long.
    Great post, I will be back for more!
    Emily

  38. I have a Nook, and had withdrawls in the beginning due to not holding a physical book, smelling the smell, etc.

    Now that I have adjusted to the Nook, I like to keep it in my purse for emergencies. Where I would previously peruse the news on my Blackberry, I now read and expand my mind. Thank you for writing this.

  39. Books are beautiful, it’s because wordings, knowledge, and contents in books. Otherwise, books won’t be so beautiful. Then, when knowledge and contents are placed in e-readers for people to read, how will that change the beauty of books?

  40. The thing is with a book reading device, you can tell another person how great that book is. But with a physical book, you can hand it off and say “this is a greatbook” knowing you have truly passed it on.

  41. Speakingofwine – I agree with your completely! I am fairly certain I am getting a kindle for Christmas and I have spent a lot of time agonizing over how I feel about physical books versus e books. The answer? I won’t stop buying physical books. For those authors that really matter to me – the books that really matter to me, I am still going to physically buy those books. Plus, there are books I’d never buy/can’t buy in ebook form – art books, cookbooks, craftbooks, etc.

    I don’t think books will ever disappear. While I do have a strong connection to the feeling of holding a book in my hand, flipping the pages, and feeling them, looking at the cover art, the ereader has a really strong pull for me. This is a great post because it encapsulates the really intense internal conflict I feel as a lover of books.

  42. I would get one actually, it saves a lot of space around my house, and it certainly is cheaper and better to the environment. (I’m a tree hugger) Books take up too much space, and you get the same exact experience from reading it on an e-book reader!

  43. I myself have a Kindle and I love it. It makes reading my favorite books easier and I feel that it flows more smoothly than a book does. I will admit thought that I have a decent sized library because I love books themselves. Nothing can replace the feel and the smell of a good book. I love being able to see them all stacked neatly on my shelves and think back to the adventures that I had with the characters. I would have to say that I love both equally, so much so that there are several books that I have in both formats.

  44. […] E-Reader: Call and Response Posted on December 22, 2010 by Megan I am thankful for this post, because without it I may have gone into a non-blogging funk that would have ruined my 4-day-a-week […]

  45. I’m reading a new book now (from the library) and enjoying the rough cut edges of the paper.
    I recommend it, by the way: Remarkable Creatures.

  46. I would get one actually, it saves a lot of space around my house, and it certainly is cheaper and better to the environment. (I’m a tree hugger) Books take up too much space, and you get the same exact experience from reading it on an e-book reader!

  47. I struggle with the need to bit just a bit more green and not have so many trees dead for the sake of showing off shelves of books to the neighbors AND the pure joy of curling up old-school with a real book in hand. For me digital wins the race by a nose because I can have my whole library in my purse, not just a book or two. And, actually , with internet access that they have now, I’ve got friends, family and the world in my purse as well.

  48. i am definitely partial to books, but I have never used an e-reader so I cannot really say much. Let’s just say it is not for me, but I know it is convenient for some people. I have a friend in the marines and it has been his lifesaver. He is able to carry around several books all in one 🙂

  49. I think it is important to appreciate the attributes of technology while not discarding the benifits of the prior medium. They both have thier pro’s. Give yourself access to both, because they both appeal to different aspects of our senses as human souls.
    JUDGMENT DAY
    May 21, 2011
    http://www.familyradio.com

  50. Great post! I can already feel the nostalgia coursing through my veins as piles and piles of books get left untouched in empty libraries and landfills. Let it not be so!

  51. Like you, I am an author. In fact my debut novel is going to be released as an e-book. I had mixed feelings about that. I did not even own and e-reader. I had dreamed and dreamed of my books being in print, and never imagined that I’d begin my career as an e-book. Then I started thinking about what happens when I’m done reading a book. I give it away, or cram it into already overcrowded shelves, take it to the Goodwill or sell it at some second hand bookstore. Not green at all. I’ve recently ordered a Kindle. I’m a convert.

  52. Barbara — Congrats on the book release! That’s awesome!

  53. As someone who is just beginning the adventures of living in a 26 foot travel trailer an eBook reader is on my wish list. When space it at a premium and I am not always near a bookstore an eBook seems to be a wonderful solution. I am hoping the prices drop after the first of the year.

  54. a book is book that books your body mind and soul
    http://parwatisingari.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/book-wired/

  55. I also love both e-books and their physical counterparts, but I don’t think you need to be worried about the loss of print books in our lifetime.

  56. Will snow wake me this winter, inviting me to move along ?

    Or will she curl up under the hedegrow, covering us with blankets as we rest ?

    Will she whisper in my ear lustily, of a deeper sleep.

    It’s Christmas. She is falling, thick with intent. I wonder what song she will sing, and will there be soup in the kitchen ?

  57. Good post! I know exactly what you mean. For me, it’s been a long battle about whether or not I should put an e-reader on my Christmas list or not. I love the feel and smell of real books, and I wasn’t sure I wanted one more piece of technology invading my life. But it’s so appealing to get more books for less money and in less time. That was the deciding factor for me. I’m going to get an e-reader eventually, but I’m also going to continue getting regular books. I don’t think printed books will ever be extinct, but I do think e-readers will become as popular as iPods were soon. As a writer, it’s important to know what they’re about.

  58. my book fetish keeps me from getting an e-reader.

  59. How on earth did you get inside my head and read what was there??? I don’t even KNOW you! You summed up, so nicely, exactly how I feel, though I’m not an author – only a lover of words.

    Grats on being Freshly Pressed!

  60. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh. That was a long sigh because what you have written captures what I’ve been trying to say. My husband purchased a Kindle against my better argument. He doesn’t use it. So to get our money’s worth I’ve started purchasing my own discounted books. It’s fine, it’s okay but I am SO happy when there’s a book I need that isn’t available on Kindle. And now when I read I find myself stroking the bookcover and admiring it as if it was a 3 month old puppy.

  61. I would never get a e-reader as their are currently designed…..

    95% of what I read are science pdf articles in two-column format… I would only buy a reader that is at least as big as a true paper page (letter format).

    there doesn’t seem to be many such designs on the market yet.

  62. This is an incredibly well-written post on an issue I am constantly debating! As a lit major and writer, I love holding books and paging through them, etc. But as a traveler, I think I would enjoy the convenience of an e-reader. Right now, I don’t have many of either since I’m living in China – but I look forward to perusing the library and bookstores immediately upon my return to the States! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  63. I agree! 🙂

    Cheers
    Niconica
    http://niconica.wordpress.com

  64. yes….the smell! the smell!

  65. Yes, I will miss real books too 😦 Had this same kind of thought as I sent out my Christmas letter this year. When will the Christmas letter become obsolete, and in it’s place a Christmas “tweet”? I think I will continue to send a Christmas letter, even if I’m the only one!

  66. What’s good about kindle is you can easily find the meaning of the words in the built-in dictionary. Just click the word and voila! The meaning’s already in front of you. Unlike when reading the real book, sometimes I’m too lazy to get up and reach for the dictionary.

  67. PLEASE READ MY BOOK AT http://korisanjin.wordpress.com/

  68. I love my e-reader and felt much the same before I choose to get one. Now I just have come to terms with the fact that there will always be books I have in both forms. Because I well need to share them and feel them and remember…

  69. somehow, nothing beats the real thing….

  70. I know how you feel. I have the very same volume of John Lennon’s Bio on my shelf and I too am an author who has books printed in the very tradition of the greats who have come before me. I used to write ALL my manuscripts by hand! The edits…were all done by hand…the rewrites….by hand. I have thousands of pages of writing in stacks upon stacks of notebooks filed away ready to be published. I love the craft and the processes involved with making a real book but I am changing with the times.
    A new era has found us and we must progress or fall behind into the realm of the obsolete. We will fade away and die off as the E Book generation carries on to thrive. It’s impersonal…but it is….

    *RPM*

  71. […] The e-Book Reader: Hot Chocolate Versus Sunsets (via stories in my pocket) Posted on December 23, 2010 by Xanthor From a Plinky prompt: "Would you ever get an e-book reader?" Amazon Kindle eBook Reader Imagine if hot chocolate got in a fight with sunsets. Or if you had to pick sides between the laughter of small children and tender hugs from loved ones. Imagine if great music somehow became the archenemy of tasty food, and you had to choose which one wins. Can't we all just get along? And yet, that sort of quandary is where we are, thanks to the e-book reade … Read More […]

  72. You know, as we, today, are talking about the “hard books” that we enjoy, it is time for a new generation that will sleep an e-books and miss them.

    I consider that especially for the poor one, placed far away, such devices, in a traditional library, may help them, to read more, to be connected to a world and go ahead!

  73. Nice post! I’m with you, I love paper books. I get the most enjoyment of looking forward, when I’m in the middle of a good read, to passing the book along to my husband or a friend next.

  74. […] The e-Book Reader: Hot Chocolate Versus Sunsets (via stories in my pocket) From a Plinky prompt: "Would you ever get an e-book reader?" Amazon Kindle eBook Reader Imagine if hot chocolate got in a fight with sunsets. Or if you had to pick sides between the laughter of small children and tender hugs from loved ones. Imagine if great music somehow became the archenemy of tasty food, and you had to choose which one wins. Can't we all just get along? And yet, that sort of quandary is where we are, thanks to the e-book reade … Read More […]

  75. Very nicely written.Technology is taking up so many things. e- book reader is one such example. Personally i was not very impressed with this gadget as i am one such person who likes to have a collection of books that I have read.

  76. I agree. The smell of old books. The worn out feel that paperback gets after you’ve read it 90 times. The feel of the pages. There’s just magic in reading a physical book that I don’t think an e-reader can ever replace.

  77. i am not right.

  78. I´ll prefer real books – always!
    But it could be handy to have a technical documentation at hand if you need one. But I´m no technician 😀

  79. ON the one side- i love technology, and to be a 100% honest- i dont know how i ever lived without my Blackberry. I have downloaded an e-reader onto it- but have never actually used it. I think i just love the physical pages so much more.
    I also wrote a post yesterday about everything i would like to do before i kick the bucket- a bucket list- and one of those things was having a REAL LIFE library. With a ladder, and thousands of books. I can imagine nothing more heart warming. Books are awesome!!!
    xx
    http://husbands4hire.wordpress.com

  80. I wouldn’t be comfortable dropping an e-reader in a steaming bubble bath. It sounds like a dilemma all book lovers will have. Piles of books to prop up table legs, colorful covers and loaning your copy to a friend are only included with paper and ink books although the convenience of the reader will make commuting much cleaner. I want them both!

  81. I agree completely. I love the smell and feel of REAL books. I don’t think I’d really get into the idea of the e-Book

  82. Well, until all books are on an ereader, my family will still have to deal with me! If I can get a hard copy, I’ll bloody well have it! LOL

  83. Books and e-books will come along fine together I think. I’m also hopeful that some sort of new literary genres will sprout out thanks to electronic editions and devices.

  84. It will be a sad day when libraries disappear. One of my main sanctuaries growing up. Nothing beats the smell, the quiet and being surrounded by books. *sigh*

  85. honestly, my only worry had been that it would ruin my eyesight, but I just realised that it would probably hurt more to drop the Kindle on my face than a soft worn book that has been folded, dunked in my baths and tucked into suitcases, handbags and pockets galore..
    Plus, the possibility to show off your amazing book collection would prove rather difficult, so I think (although I do plan on adding a Kindle to my bookcase..) that I will keep bending bookshelves with touchable literature rather than lightweight screens..

  86. The computer was supposed to make us a paperless society, but it didn’t. I suspect e-readers won’t be the demise of paper books, either. It will be an option for some people in certain circumstances.

  87. Not sure you’ll ever read this as it’s buried under a mountain of comments, oh well!

    I had to laugh when you talk about the ebook in this way: “Cutting-edge technology. Oh, how I love you. Oh, how you make my life better. Words cannot express to you my gratitude”

    And then you went on to say about paper books: “Words, printed on paper.”

    Okay, so you may have gone into more detail that that — “ideas incarnate” , “delightfully visceral” (appreciate the writing, by the way) — but really, don’t ebooks achieve the same thing? If anything, aren’t they an even greater representation of ideas incarnate, and not just in a literary sense?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a book guy. My girlfriend is going to school for archiving and preservation of scripts and books, and I’ve been traveling around the world with a backpack full of paperbacks.

    However, I did bring a Kindle with me on this trip. It had it’s drawbacks, like not being able to flip back and forth several pages, having to be charged (although it kept its charge for an incredibly long time), the annoying highlights left by other readers, and the lack my own marginalia.

    But it was also incredible. From a beach on Cyprus I browsed and purchased three books written in english. FROM A BEACH! My Kindle had 30 books on it and it wasn’t even close to full! ! ! !

    However… one morning, for no reason at all, the screen went berserk. Totally self destructed. All 30 of those books — gone (actually they were on my Amazon account), but they were gone for the time being, and if the Kindle had been my only source of reading material, I’d have been very upset!

    That’s all!

    Jason

  88. As a writer of books, upon first learning of e-readers, everything inside of me balked. E-readers? Why? I love the feel and smell of real books made of slain trees. Nothing is more nostalgic than selecting a book from my shelf that I’ve owned for twenty five years, relishing the feel of the yellow pages on my fingertips.

    Until I bought an e-reader.

    Both have their place. E-readers are wonderful for traveling, periodicals and for people that are fanatical about having a certain book Right Now. To the person that says she can’t curl up with an e-reader, I beg to differ. You most certainly can. Regular books are great for reference material, color pictures that pop on a page and for those that can’t afford an e-reader. I will always use paper books for certain types of reading but my e-reader is second to none for novels. I can carry thousands of books in my purse and read anything anywhere. Try stuffing thousands of paper books in your purse. Tragically, you can’t.

    Non-believers-give them a try. They’re the wave of the future.

  89. I feel your pain – holding a real book is great. But we need to save the trees to. I stopped short of buying an e-reader recently thought when an NPR story alerted me to the spying factor – vendors collect your data about what you’re reading, what you skipped, how long you stayed on each page, etc. The conundrum continues.
    PS: Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. It’s a great ride.

  90. al book is so much better. But yes, sometimes, e-readers is a good alternative.
    But there’s one thing it can never give you : The journey of reading the book.

  91. “e-books will never smell as awesome as real, old books”… the thing is that it’s not their smell what made great books so great

  92. […] From a Plinky prompt: "Would you ever get an e-book reader?" Amazon Kindle eBook Reader Imagine if hot chocolate got in a fight with sunsets. Or if you had to pick sides between the laughter of small children and tender hugs from loved ones. Imagine if great music somehow became the archenemy of tasty food, and you had to choose which one wins. Can't we all just get along? And yet, that sort of quandary is where we are, thanks to the e-book reade … Read More […]

  93. I’m still on the fence about whether or not to purchase an eReader. I just hate the fact that technology, along with the poor economy, has helped to shut down so many bookstores in my area.

    I feel guilty for even entertaining the thought of purchasing an eReader. But, as a lover of books and anything convenient, I know that it’s just a matter of time…Oh, the guilt.

  94. Aayooh I’m tired of using technology 😀

  95. While I bought my mother a Kindle, I bought real books for my daughters. I embrace both but I much preferred browsing the shelves in the bookstore than the 30 seconds it took me to send my mother the Kindle through Amazon.

    How I will miss the bookstores, especially the locally owned, family-run stores.

  96. You can have the best of both worlds – I decided it was possible in my impossibly cluttered life. I will always love physical books, but I love having everything I read and re-read and refer to constantly, in one place. I also appreciate the lower cost of e-books. I just finished one book I’m glad I bought for $9.99 as opposed to $24.99, the dialogue was impossible, stupid, as was the plot. I was able to archive it rather than give it to the used book seller. As an author, I have no problem with people choosing the lesser-priced electronic version over the paperback. The act of reading, the visions, the imagination running in fourth gear while the words pop on the page and screen, is very much the same for me in both worlds.

    Remember when people fought home computers and I know I was one of those who would never give up my trusty typewriter….

  97. I can’t make the jump to e-readers. There is something so deliciously wonderful about spending $40 at Borders for 4 new hardcovers you weren’t planning to buy, but just couldn’t leave the store without. I love how they watch me from their homes on my den shelves…old friends who are just aching to be read again and again. Their dog-eared pages and cookie-crumbed bindings are reminders of where I was at i when I read them, and which authors words got me through different moments in my life. I need my hardcover books…I just can’t let them go. Kudos on being FP!

    http://miracleon32ndstreet.wordpress.com

  98. I’m just like you lol. I love having the weight, the smell, and the written word in my hand. But honest to God, I’m so excited about getting my hands on a Nook this Christmas!!! Books are always a treasure, but I’m really happy that someone invented this so that I can carry my books with me where ever I go!!!

  99. I believe you read my mind. Can’t just but help not having
    both. I really think one can live with the other. “Why can’t we be
    friends? why can’t we be friends? why can’t we be friends?…”
    http://kzsworld.wordpress.com/
    http://kriziau.wordpress.com/

  100. […] From a Plinky prompt: "Would you ever get an e-book reader?" Amazon Kindle eBook Reader Imagine if hot chocolate got in a fight with sunsets. Or if you had to pick sides between the laughter of small children and tender hugs from loved ones. Imagine if great music somehow became the archenemy of tasty food, and you had to choose which one wins. Can't we all just get along? And yet, that sort of quandary is where we are, thanks to the e-book reade … Read More […]

  101. I also had a great deal of trouble with the advent of e-readers, swearing up and down I would NEVER EVER own one, and yet, it was the one thing I really wanted for Christmas this year. It’s convenient. It’s amazing to know I can carry around up to 4000 books in it! Books I find for free as PDF’s that are otherwise difficult to find in print have a new home in my e-reader now, this was the main reason I wanted it: an e-reader just HAD to be more comfortable than sitting at my computer desk reading a book. And it does, but it has it’s costs too. I am constantly finding myself trying to flip the non existent pages, and there just isn’t that cozy feeling you get from a real book. Real books will always reign in my life and in my heart, but the e-reader is a much easier way for me to tote around the large library of books I normally try jamming into a bag when I travel…it takes up so much less space! Cheers on the fantastic article!

  102. Take solice in the fact that vinyl, though it has been surpased by tape, then cd, then mp3 – not forgetting minidiscs and all the other failures – is still popular amongst the more serious music enthusiast, no matter what type. Books will always be here. Just take good care of yours now so you can make sure your grandkids have a decent collection to start off with!

  103. Well, living in a place where shipping costs for books can kill, the e-reader is very handy, and yes, I do have a Kindle. But again, as a non-US amazon customer, Kindle book prices can hurt badly as well. So I choose. Books and series that I really really really like, I get them in book format, also for the sake of collection. New authors, samples, and reading while travelling, it’ll be on the e-reader. Hassle-free, easy 😉

  104. I must admit, I like both the e-reader and books. E-readers are great for the commuter. I have to lug so many things on the bus with me, I like to have the skinny electronic book to pull out a read. They are easier to read when you are standing too – something that is bound to happen while waiting for the bus and being on the bus. No lost bookmarkers, easy to turn the page and no one need know what you are reading. The worse thing is not being able to share a good book with friends. But then again, you need not fear never seeing a favourite book again.

  105. Loved this post!
    My hubby bought me a Kindle for my birthday. I tend to buy my books used, at thrift stores and garage sales, but I did splurge on a $9.95 new release and enjoyed reading it on the Kindle. I know my hubby has downloaded at least one more for me for Christmas.
    When we first read about the Kindle two years ago, we were fascinated, and said many of the same things you said. Can’t believe I have one. It’s great for travel! And nice to be able to read while you’re eating your breakfast or lunch and not have to juggle a book.
    But I still check out the bargains at the bookstores and thrift shops. I think we’ll always have both. Like someone said, I’d miss not being able to pass along a favorite book to a friend.
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  106. so true! congrats on FP!!

    -Tia

    http://www.tiallarising.wordpress.com

  107. I tend to agree with others I have seen here–drink the hot chocolate while watching the sunset.
    Have both! Have a long trip–use your e-book to take a library with you! Home in your comfy nook–grab that hard copy and enjoy the heft and smell!
    Or, like me, live in a country where choices of hard copy books are limited and shipping is prohibitive? Oh, thank you for e-books!
    We can get along!

  108. I dont know…there is just something about flipping through pages and hearing that flipping sound…books will always be it for me. E-books only have an edge when it comes to aging and maintenance….
    http://Harkheindzel.wordpress.com

  109. I dont know…there is just something about flipping through pages and hearing that flipping sound…books will always be it for me. E-books only have an edge when it comes to aging and maintenance….

  110. Books a truly beautiful things. My guess is that people will embrace both; I can’t imagine books actually going away completely.

  111. E-book reader will thrive and people will still buy paper book to read or as an antique.

  112. Stage survived Film & TV, but shrunken. Books will keep a niche. Sudden mass-wiping via SF’s ‘EM pulse’ aside, e-books as the main-game seems ideal.

  113. Your end game is so inaccurate. Vinyl records are still being produced and in better quality than EVER!
    There is still a demand for them; ther eare still DJs who play them along with CD, tapes of cassette (rare but still) or even reel-to-reel tapes. The deal is “choice” abounds and THAT is a good thing. I want my books to ultimately be in HARDcover editions in addition to the soft-bound paperback and any “e”-type gadget for the “Y” Generation, et al.
    CHOICE. ‘naff said except CONGRATS on Santa brining U a Freshly Pressed gift!
    https://www.createspace.com/3505160

  114. I too, am torn, but am leaning towards the eReader. For now, I use the library. But… when ebooks are widely available in libraries, eReader here I come! They are just so small and compact and efficient!

  115. Anyone recall what was around before Gutenberg and his ilk invented the printing press ? Want to hone my skills with that, push the clock back by 500 years plus.

  116. There will never be a ‘used e-book store’, so I refuse to believe that physical books will ever go out of style.

  117. ever read Cybertext by Aarseth?

  118. I don’t think e-books can ever replace real books. I try to stay up on the latest technology, but an e-reader is simply something I refuse to buy. How can you replace the smell of paper, the turning of pages and dog-earing the ones you like, colorful and interesting bookmarks, writing in the margins, and the feeling of buying a used book: finding a note written in a used book is like a treasure hunt for me.

  119. Have an ereader. Have a shitload of printed books. I’m going with both. Considering I’m currently in the middle of moving for the second time in a year, I’ve got it into my head to reread my favourite fantasy series before the release of the final one. Unfortunately, those are 9 odd books in 4 different boxes of book. Fortunately, I do have the ebooks.

    Which doesn’t mean that the box full of unread book next to my desk gets chugged aside, oh no.

    So…both!

  120. Well, I’d personally go with printed books. I hope they never die out, but it seems so with the shortage of paper and all. I love real books.

    I mean, yes, you can still read with the eReader, but hey ho, it’s way different.

  121. REAL BOOKS!! I love the smell of new books and the thrill of breaking in the spine! I also like the idea of page turning!!
    Thanks for the article!!

  122. nothing can replace life books ,itis real feeling

  123. I have every imaginable book I have read and want to read downloaded into my iPad. Sure, I LOVE the device, but never as a replacement for a book. I love shopping for new books, downloading them just does not compare. Bookstores are where I spent all my allowance growing up and I am rather proud of the collection of books I’ve accumulated over the years. Given a choice, I’d much rather curl up with a book than with a cold hard device.

  124. e-book helps a lot,real book takes spaces. it is really good when we’re going to another place, with one e-book that contains hundreds books. It helps us to find references without those hundreds books we should bring.

  125. […] From a Plinky prompt: "Would you ever get an e-book reader?" Amazon Kindle eBook Reader Imagine if hot chocolate got in a fight with sunsets. Or if you had to pick sides between the laughter of small children and tender hugs from loved ones. Imagine if great music somehow became the archenemy of tasty food, and you had to choose which one wins. Can't we all just get along? And yet, that sort of quandary is where we are, thanks to the e-book reade … Read More […]

  126. […] From a Plinky prompt: "Would you ever get an e-book reader?" Amazon Kindle eBook Reader Imagine if hot chocolate got in a fight with sunsets. Or if you had to pick sides between the laughter of small children and tender hugs from loved ones. Imagine if great music somehow became the archenemy of tasty food, and you had to choose which one wins. Can't we all just get along? And yet, that sort of quandary is where we are, thanks to the e-book reade … Read More […]

  127. I totally agree with you! Although I love technology and gadgets, I still am a fan of traditional books. It’s a scary thought to imagine that books would become obsolete as records are today, but I guess that’s what will most likely happen.

  128. I love real books, but those e-book readers can be so handy when traveling 🙂

  129. I love(d) real books too, but once you’ve tried a Kindle, there’s no going back. Real books suddenly seem cumbersome, dirty, bulky, …

    If only Amazon would move on with their plans to allow some form of sharing for eBooks then I’d see no reason ever to have real books any more.

    And all that said, I still love my iPad too for other internet access (blogs, news, etc.), eMagazines (Economist, Wired, etc.) and more graphical content (and I can still read my Kindle books on that too if I want, without even losing my page, even if I was previously reading the book on my Kindle or Mac).

  130. This issue has plagued me for ages. Finally I succumbed to temptation and my Mum bought me a kindle for Christmas. But I don’t get it till Feb so I haven’t tried it yet. Sad face.
    But I can agree with you wholeheartedly – I’m terrified of missing real lofty books with real pages and real ink smudges and yellowing paper. Ahhhh. Joy.
    But I’m optimistic, I am young and so I should keep up with technology for my own good, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the technology. And quite frankly, there are so many books in the house already – I won’t be lacking.
    I like your writing style and this subject in very relevant, thanks for talking about this.

  131. So, one downside of being Freshly Pressed — I REALLY wanted to respond to a lot of these comments individually, but it’s just gotten beyond me. And, timing’s been a factor — I hope y’all understand, but if I have to choose between spending time at the holidays with my loved ones or my blog …

    That said THANK YOU all so much! It’s been very cool to see the great discussion out there. I’ve enjoyed seeing that I’m not alone in my feelings, but it’s also been very encouraging to see how many people are quite happy on one side or the other.

    THANK YOU all very much, also, for the kind words about the post and the writing; they mean A LOT, and have been an incredible Christmas gift from you all.

    THANK YOU also for the congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. It’s a neat honor and a surprising one, but I love the fact that it mean I got to have you all over to my blog for a little while. Thanks for stopping by!

  132. Wow, what a quest? Sure there is a time and place for everything. I don’t currently own an e-book reader but I would love to have one for when I am travelling or waiting at the doctor’s. I made a weird habit of reading 2 or 3 books at the same time; don’t ask me how and why? But I usually manage to fit in an audio book in the equation as well! My iPhone plays a vital role in facilitating the weirdness, which I find very convenient. So as long as you find the right balance for yourself you should be fine…..I think

  133. Oh, also meant to mention that I am READING every comment that comes in, even if I don’t respond to it; and appreciate.

    A bit of clarification, from achilliad’s comment that my ending is inaccurate because vinyl records are still being produced.

    I’m quite aware of that, and that’s why I picked the analogy. In fact, I just got a brand new vinyl record for Christmas last night, and it was easily my favorite gift so far this season. But I stand by the fact that they’ve settled into a non-mainstream obsolescence; most people don’t buy them, and they’re never going to be the norm. It’s easy to see printed volumes becoming like that. Not disappearing completely, but being to books as records are to albums.

  134. Bloggers and blog readers much be really into this topic and also wonder what the future of reading will be. I noted that when I used an ipad to blog here at wordpress, all the functionality was not present. So, though disappointing, there are many uses for devices like the ipad. I’d love to try a wordpress blog on the nook. for ereaders, the nook is my preference because it is coming from a major company and accepts several formats. That is the downside of the Kindle, one format only. I love the way the Kindle for PC saves the notes from your book on the kindle web site but the downer is the archane numbering system.

    I also love the way the nook software bundles the notes and allows them to be ported to a word or other file for forwarding or printing.

    Now, to hardcopy books vs. electronic formats. I believe both formats will be around for a long time. the hardcopy book is a treasure and I note that many, many of the latest releases of Christian books, which I desire to read, are not in the eformat yet and some of the great ones may never be, therefore I resolve to hardcopy format.

    For reference materials of all genres, I can see that the electronic format is desirable. Reason is that you want them easily available, searchable, copy/pasteable, etc. So the electonic format is great for reference materials.

    That includes college texts and research materials–this category is huge and endless.

    Here is my early take on the nook color.
    http://goodnewsnow.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/nook-color/

  135. I don’t think, or rather hope, ebooks won’t replace real books. There’s nothing like the comfort of having a giant bookcase behind you. Knowing I own so many books and buying new ones gives me comfort and ebooks are just ebooks, good when the real ones aren’t around.

  136. I read,,, all tha time !! But I mean,, Real books,, they get in tha way sometimes,, if I want to eat while reading,, Which I do all tha time,, I can’t jus sit my real book in my lap and continue reading it,, tha pages will turn and I’ll lose my place.. But with tha Kindle, which I now have, I can sit in my bed, eating a bowl of cereal and jus press tha next button to turn tha page when I need to. !!

    I mean,, imma miss real books, but on tha Kindle,, they aren’t nearly as expensive as real books,, Like, New York Times Best Sellers are only 9.99 on tha Kindle,, in stores, they’re 15.99. or somewhere around there. So I have to say,, I like tha Kindle a little bit better than real books, but I still do read real books when I can’t afford any books on my Kindle,, Like jus the other day I read one of my older books ! I think we can live in a world where both Kindles and real books can mix..

  137. I love both my kindle and real books – they are like a wife and an ex wife of a one guy. He has kids with both so each woman has her place…

  138. I use both e-books and “real” books, just not for the same reason, in the same way that I use snailmail for important stuff like birthday cards, long updates to friends and job applications. For my studies, I buy the book I need to read in German, and sometimes to help me onmy way, I also download the translation in French or English to my computer from the Gutemberg Project website. I don’t think anything will ever replace books:
    1- they’re a great gift
    2- you can carry them around and stain them, and even drop them in the bath, which I’m sure an e-book reader wouldn’t appreciate…

  139. everything you say i think is definitely soooo true!!!!!

  140. ahh the e-readers! i love reading and books but for christmas i got a kindle and i have to say that i love that too! i keep books on my kindle as well as browse bookstores at least once a week for my new favorite book. i am madly in love with both and i can only relate it to having to choose between two things i love in life.

    i don’t think books will ever diminish though, because too many people (like myself) will keep buying them even with the technology!

  141. Great post! I enjoy reading…and love technology. The dilemna!! I imagine as eReaders get more affordable, I will own one. The books I do have are taking up a lot of space..yet as you mentioned, real books are very comforting….Congrats on Freshly Pressed and Happy Holidays! LB

  142. […] There are certain things that comfort me. Coffee, macaroni and cheese, my dog, and books. I recently received a Nook as a gift, and giddily spend time on a weekly basis perusing the online bookshelves of Barnes and Noble. This post is not about the e-reader vs. book debate, but if you’d like to read more about that topic, click here to read a fellow blogger’s thoughts. […]

  143. I own a kindle and have for almost a year now. I still read real books more than I use my kindle. There’s nothing that compares to a real book.

  144. […] read some beautifully expressed thoughts on the pros and cons of ebooks. Let me know […]

  145. My husband got an e-reader for Christmas this year. My husband has always loved reading, but just because of life hasn’t had a chance to do much of it the past few years (we had a child) But the e-reader woke his love of reading again. He is able to read his e-reader at work, but because of the nature of his job, he would never be able to hold a book and read. The e-reader allows him to put it down suddenly if he needs to, a book would take to long to flip over so that he doesn’t lose his page. I know it sounds funny as it is just a second or so, but in his case that second matters. So he loves his e-reader, but he also still loves all the books that sit on his bookshelf

  146. เที่ยวญี่ปุ่น เที่ยวฮ่องกง ทัวร์มาเก๊า

    i don’t think books will ever diminish though, because too many people (like myself) will keep buying them even with the technology

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