Books vs Ebooks (or My Love Affair With Books)

I had a conversation with a colleague recently about eReaders/eBooks vs. actual, physical books.  She couldn’t understand why I haven’t embraced the eBook yet, especially since I love technology.  She loves her eReader, takes it everywhere.  Loves how she can download a book she wants immediately and not have to bother going to the book store.  She loves that it remembers what page she is on and that it is so lightweight and compact.

Okay, she (and probably a thousand other eBook lovers) gives excellent reasons on why an eReader is an obvious choice for reading.  And if I was just all about the reading I probably would choose an eReader.  But if there is one thing I have discovered about myself through this blog it’s that it isn’t just about the reading for me.

I have a real, hardcore love affair with books.

Like my colleague, I too take my book everywhere with me.  Sure, the bigger hardcovers don’t fit as nicely in my purse which means I end up buying huge satchels just to carry my books around in.  And okay, if I want a new book I have to get in my car or hop on the bus to go to the book store, maybe wait in line and then get into an awesome conversation about this certain book with the person in front of me which ends up making me late for the appointment at my Chiropractor’s (which I’m going to see because lugging all those books around in my huge satchel hurts by back).  But!  Going to a book store is part of the appeal for me.  A book store is my church – it’s where I can breathe, slow down and feel grounded.  I love the smells that come from books (old or new); I love touching their covers, feeling them, sensing them.  I love gazing at book covers and smiling in admiration at their beauty or frowning in disappointment at the laziness of it.

Yeah sure, sometimes I get frustrated when I lose my page and have to take a few minutes to flip through the pages to find it but that’s what dog-earing pages are for.  I’ve always believed the more dog-eared pages there are in a book, the more loved that book is.

Lastly, it is the act of turning the page itself that fills me with such satisfaction; that another page has been completed, another part of the story has been revealed.  With my fingers I can physically turn the page on that moment in time and move on to the next.  Pushing a button just doesn’t have the same appeal to me.  I push enough buttons in any given day (especially now as I type this) – and a book allows me to take a break from technology.  To connect to a simpler time.

I often thought that turning my nose up at the eReader was the book snob in me expressing herself.  But it is actually the spiritualist in me who has decided to turn away from this one aspect of technology.

Books move me, their sheer physicality and presence fill me with awe.  When I pick up a book I am reminded that someone’s imagination is within the two covers.  It is a divine tool I hold in my hands, one that will either uplift and inspire me or one that will fill me with darkness and fear.  I won’t know until I lift that cover up oh so reverently and peer within.

I don’t think pressing a button can compete with that.

books vs ebooks

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About Geeky Book Snob

Learning stuff since birth. Happy introvert who likes socializing when she's not busy being an introvert who likes to read.

Posted on December 7, 2012, in Geeking Out, General Musings & Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. I’ve started reading short stories on my phone, and I quite like that when I’ve forgotten to take my novel with me, though I still prefer a paper book a thousand times more than an eBook. My main problem with e readers is the Kindle and the Amazon business model. That is my big problem with e readers.

  2. Yes! Yes! Hope you’ve started Metal Man Walking ; well – are going to start it eventually! I love books too and my Kindle is collecting dust!

  3. I finally broke down and got an ereader a few years ago (was actually a christmas gift) it does gather a lot of dust though. I love paper books, the feel, the smell, the bright colors, everything! I have read a few books on my ereader, but it’s just not the same. I am old school on this issue.

  4. I used to love books too, but my house was bursting at the seams (my house is 650 square feet) and the eReader is a great way for me to continue my collection without living in a tent on my own front lawn!!

  5. I haven’t jumped on the e-reader wagon, either. I love the feeling I get when I open a new book for the first time and turn the first few pages, admiring the typography and design, reading the thoughtful dedication, and taking in the new-book smell. It’s just such a nice ritual that would be lost with an e-reader. There’s something about opening a book that helps me get lost inside it. Also, I love looking at my shelf full of books that I’ve read; it tells a story about who I am, where I’ve been, and what I aspire to (the TBR shelf with lofty titles that I will someday read, like The Brothers Karamazov and The Age of Innocence).

    An e-reader would be wonderful for traveling, but for now I’m happy to read my print books.

  6. Yes! I’ve been told by a friend to convert to using Nook – but no! Try as I might, she doesn’t understand the value that an actual book has for me. The feel and the smell are part of the book enjoyment experience. In this day and age, people are just hungering for more information and are forgetting the importance of actually reveling in and appreciating an experience.

    Great post!

  7. Yes!! Finally someone gets it!! I love I turn pages, smell them, rub them between my fingers, feel the spine stretch in my hands. E books don’t compare 🙂 they just make reading a chore.

  8. I, too, love books, but have no more room to keep them, and I refuse to get rid of any of them. Borrowing books just isn’t the same as having them right there in my living-room, or bedroom, or office. So my partner bought me an e-reader, and I do love it. I agree with all of your reasons for having physical books, and I still have all my physical books. Now I have reached a point in my life that it’s physically painful and tiring to hold a book for very long, so now the books are gathering dust on their bookshelves while I read on my e-reader. But I still take the books off the shelf, and caress them, and turn the pages every once in a while, so they don’t feel neglected. 🙂

    • This makes sense. And never say never for me – that could totally happen for me as well so I am not opposed to the ereader. And when I travel those are the moments I think, man, an ereader wouldn’t be an awful thing to have right now. I think I have a small fear that books will disappear completely and that library’s will turn into museums. I hope that never happens.

      • I don’t think books or libraries will disappear in our lifetimes! But as much as I read, an ereader makes sense for a trip – it’s either the ereader or a book for each day I’m going to be gone. 🙂

      • I have a theory (and hope) about books and their disappearing. I believe they will eventually become like records. They won’t disappear. They will forever be produced and collected by those true followers and collectors.

        I too am a lover of books. The smell, the feel, the experience. Bookstores are a danger to my credit card and libraries are my home away from home. There is nothing more Zen then being surrounded by a sea of books. I have been know to stick my nose into the middle of an old book and breath deep.
        Two birthdays ago my husband bought me a Kindle. I didn’t initially want one. However I am now a cross-platform book lover. I would say my book consumption is about 50/50.
        I love the Kindle for it’s quick access to books, many free. I love paper books for the sensory experience. I find the stories to be just as good or bad no matter the format I read them on.
        The Kindle offers opportunity to many self-publishers who otherwise would not be able to get a book out on the market. Sometimes this is a bad thing, sometimes a good thing. I find myself trying new authors on the Kindle and then buying the book in hardcover if I love it. This has saved my checking account/credit card some wear. Also, I am physically running out of walls to put bookshelves on, so it is a good compromise.

  9. I’m only in my 30s and even I, at my relatively young age, appreciate that many scifi and fantasy books are still not converted to ebooks. I love browsing bookstores and libraries, finding these older treasures. At this time, that is difficult with an ereader.

  10. I bought the Sony e-reader some months ago and although I’ve used it, I still prefer books. I don’t understand why people say they read more after buying one of these e-readers than before, but who knows.

    I prefer buying the physical book even if it’s a classic I could get for free at Project Gutenberg.

  11. Thanks for all the comments everyone! I was thinking about this more and part of the appeal that books has for me is also connected to the spiritual. When I am in a book store I truly believe books choose us as much as we choose them. Ever wonder why that one book jumps out at you amongst all the others? I wonder, can you get that same type of impact with an ereader? Would love to know.

  12. Yes. THIS.

    I too have a complete book fetish. You know how you go to a fancy restaurant, and the food tastes better because it looks beautiful on the plate and the ambiance of the restaurant is lovely? You’re there to eat, but it’s everything else that makes the eating so much more satisfying?

    Books are like that too. I’m in ’em for the story, but it’s the physical object known as *book* that makes the story so much more satisfying. the feel the paper, the weight of the book, the act of carrying it around, the font, the way chapter breaks are presented, the flourishes of pages numbers, the cover art, the journey to find and buy it, the state of the binding, the pages that have been dog earred, the limited number of comfy ways to sit and hold it, it’s shape, smell, and texture.

    like i said, total book fetish. the story is just half of it.

  13. Power to the paper book lovers of this world. I love cover art and font styles. I like the way they look on shelves and feeling the weight of my bookstore or library choices in my arms. I’m thrilled that eReaders are keeping other people reading, but for me, it’s books all the way.

  14. Well said! I don’t care how heavy my book is; I carry it around everywhere, even if I only read a page when I’m waiting in line at the store, getting gas… Nothing beats an actual, physical book. I love just turning a book over and over in my hand, and flipping the pages a few times, right before starting a new book. Lovely.

  15. I have an ereader, and I do love it. I love it for work, travel, and I really love it at the gym as it fits on the little book holders. That said, I love my books the feel, the smell, the quite sound of the page turning. I love going to book stores/librarys and walking out with treasures I would not have found else where. I will not give up books, but I do use a ereader.

  16. I had the same misgivings you had, but we went on a 3-week vacation last year and it was so easy carrying around the 6 books I downloaded that I wouldn’t change my e-reader now for anything.

  17. I don’t think I’ll ever give up books unless I have to. E-readers are just another need created by companies to make money off of us. I’ll stick with my books.
    Great post!

  18. I travel and so recently i bought a kindle, (for long airport waits and travelling on sketchy public transport) It’s nice that when i’m away for 5 months i can have an unlimited number of books with me, but i usually end up having a few hard copies with me too.

    Pros and cons with each, like anything new 🙂

  19. I just discovered Geeky Book Snob and had to have my say on ebooks. I got a Kindle five months ago and love it for all the same reasons noted above. I also am a lover of books and still read “real” books and will continue to do so but on a more selective basis. Having to part with books because there is no more room for them, is for me, a painful experience. It is like saying goodbye forever to a dear friend.

    Overall, I just want people to keep reading, no matter how they do it.

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