Friday, January 24, 2014

Books vs. E-Books

I'll admit that I've owned a kindle since they first came out on the market. I know that many of my fellow bibliophiles viewed the birth of the kindle as something akin to the arrival of the antichrist. At first I was eager to show off my new device, but soon I was experiencing a feeling of guilt over it...was I abandoning books for this? For something that represented the threat to the world of libraries and bookstores? I went back and forth between feeling bad for not using my kindle enough to feeling like I was abandoning books, and by proxy, abandoning part of my identity as a reader. After many years (and immense growth in the e-book market), I've come to settle my dilemma. There are pros and cons to both physical books and e-books, and I now use my library card and kindle in equal measure and my reading experiences are considerably more happy for it.

Mostly, I use my kindle when carrying books is inconvenient. This includes during the academic year when I am already lugging around binders, textbooks, my agenda, and any number of other supplies. In that case, using my kindle is so much easier. In past years I've even used my kindle as a electronic textbook. I also use my kindle whenever traveling. That way, I can carry multiple books at once, and even download one in case I finish my current read. The e-book market is expanding considerably, and in the years since I first received a kindle, they've become more like tablets than readers. That is where I find fault in them now, as a big part of the draw is that the screen is much easier on my eyes than a traditional electronic screen. As a student, I spend a considerable part of my day on the computer and I know that my eyes are suffering for it, so reading on the specialized "paper" screen helps give my brain and eyes a break from all that stimulation. At the moment, I carry a second generation kindle, but the only one I would considering upgrading to is the paper white, as it is smaller (even more convenient) and maintains the specialized screen.

That being said, I will always be loyal to books. Though I love my kindle and couldn't imagine traveling without one, there is no better feeling than bringing home a big stack of books from the library or bookstore and physically turning the pages. There's something about the smell and feel of books that makes reading so much better. Besides that, books are great conversation starters. When a person is holding a book on the metro or in a waiting room, it's much easier to comment on their reading when you can read the title first. (Even if I've never heard of the book, there's always a comment to be made about the cover art.) Plus, I love the sight of them on my shelves, nightstand, and pretty much every other surface in my room. It was Cicero (the great Roman orator) who said, "A room without books is like a body without a soul." That just about sums it up.

What do you think of e-readers?

1 comment:

  1. Chalk one up for the e-reader as the volume and diversity of my reading materials would suffer without the access my kindle affords. While I do enjoy that our shelves are jammed full of books I tend to regard those as home decor and look to my kindle for my next read. I won't say that I am too lazy to hold a real book and turn the pages but in truth that might just be the case.