Paper or Plastic?

kindle v books

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I love books. Specifically paper books. I feel comforted surrounded by stacks of books piled up around me. I get a tiny  thrill every time I set my eyes upon my four by four cube bookshelf with all the pretty books lined up. Building my library is something I take seriously. When I buy books I am usually thoughtful about it, taking care with what will end up on my shelf. I make lists. Books of lists I want to read, books to check out, books to own.

E-readers exploded onto the scene a while back. Practically all of my book loving friends have one. It is not something I have ever coveted. Actually, I sort of vehemently didn’t want one.  I didn’t think they were bad, I just didn’t see the point in having one because I want to own physical books. I like reading library books. What would I do with an electronic device?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Since I received a Kindle as a Christmas gift from my dad, I have fallen a little in love. 

Mainly, I read the New York Times on it. I LOVE this. No bulky paper to contend with. No searching for the rest of an article. No paper delivery. I wake up in the morning and the current issue instantly uploads. I also like that every issue is archived. If I want to go back and check something, or catch up on yesterday’s unfinished issue, all I have to do is check the archives. I don’t have to contend with stacks of papers littering the coffee table. Or scraps I’m saving cluttering drawers.

In reading books on the Kindle, I have discovered that not only is it so much easier to read during my daily commute, it is so much easier for me to put a book down. I am person that gobbles books. I am always saying, one more chapter! One more chapter! Sometimes it is painful to tear myself away from a book. Especially books written by Nora Roberts or teen vampire series. However, when reading such a book on the Kindle (which I have, my first book was the final book in the Roberts Bridal Quartet series) I can’t tell where the next chapter begins. I can shut it off instantaneously and not feel that painful tug. I feel a little disconnect because it’s not an actual book.  That’s a good thing.

It is also much easier to read while eating lunch. Instead of wrestling to get the book to stay flat, the Kindle is already flat and compact. I don’t have to worry about dirtying pages. All I have to do is touch a finger to a button.

So while I won’t stop buying books or checking them out, the Kindle serves a great purpose.  I reserve it for reading the newspaper. The books I purchase on it are books I don’t care to have in paper form.  And I have to admit-it is supremely satisfying to hit the buy button and have a book downloaded in literally less than sixty seconds. Actually, it’s pretty awesome.

Suffice it to say, I was quite surprised how much I ended up enjoying my little e-reader.  It definitely doesn’t replace my real paper books, but it is another tool in my reading arsenal.

What are your thoughts on e-readers? Do you have one? How do you use it? Are you against them?

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26 Responses to Paper or Plastic?

  1. You did a beautiful job explaining how i feel about the Kindle. Never thought I would love it, but for travel, eating lunch and hands free reading, it’s terrific. I also think I read faster on it. (I still love print books as well).

  2. Kimberly says:

    I feel the same way — I like my Kindle more than I thought I would, but it’s not going to replace books for me. I’m a big book borrower, and while I love having books, I really only buy books by my favorite authors or ones that I know I’m going to reread/continually reference/etc. I definitely think there’s a place for ereaders (especially when it comes to traveling) but I feel as if a lot of nostalgia is with books themselves and would be lost on ereaders. I don’t think they’re ever going to fill bookshelves or replace a book that you can hold while under a blanket, cuddling up to a fire. At least, I hope not.

  3. penny says:

    I’m really not sure about these yet. I refuse to own one, although I keep reading testimonials on people who flat out refuse to own one and then they are gifted one and fall in love!
    I love the library. I don’t like paying for books. I go through so many books to pay for downloading would not work out. I don’t know…if I recieved one I would try it out but I am not going to buy one myself.

    • kaye says:

      I haven’t tried it yet but I read on someone’s blog the other day that they check e-books out from their local libraries on-line site. They download them onto the computer and then onto the kindle. My library allows a month to read the books. I’ve checked them out and read them on my computer–now I’ve got to try the kindle thing.

    • jehara says:

      I hear you, Penny. I never would have purchased one. If it hadn’t been a gift, I still wouldn’t have one. I wasn’t really excited about it at first but once I started playing around with it, I discovered that I liked it. Mainly I use it to read the paper. I’ve only read two books on it.

  4. izzybella says:

    I’m completely in love with my nook. For one, it’s a beautiful thing having that many books all in one spot. Stuck waiting for something? I just pull the nook out of my purse and have an entire library at my fingertips. Two? Okay, I like to read cheesy books some time-brain candy. I’m not ashamed of that per se, but I do get embarrassed sometimes getting caught reading the latest paranormal goof-off when it has one of those idiot covers of ab-dude and his ab-dude boytrash tattoo. The nook gives me privancy in that sense. I’ll be honest if asked what I’m reading, but usually people are more interested in the e-reader itself.

    Having said all that, paper/hardback books will always be in my life. If there is an author I particularly love, I will always pay the print book over the e-version. ALWAYS.

    So there’s definitely a place for printed books AND ebooks in my life. Though if you make me choose forever and a day one thing or the other? I’ll take the print books. They smell better and I don’t have to worry about the battery running out.

    Penny, a lot of libraries have ebook loaners now. They may be uploaded in an epub format and they’ll remain on your reader until they’re due at which point the file will “expire.” If you’re like me and turn stuff in late all the time, this is QUITE the awesome thing. 🙂

  5. Heather says:

    I got a nook for Christmas as well this year! I’ve only bought a few books on it that were really cheap and the rest are free. It also has picture books that will read to my son as well. He loves “flipping” through the beautiful color pages and listening. So there are some great things about it. It won’t ever replace my love of in-hand books. I have a million on my shelves and have a million more to buy…

    • jehara says:

      I think e-readers were the ‘it’ gift of the season. My sister got one too, as well as several members of my book club. E-readers for book lovers everywhere it would seem. 🙂

  6. kaye says:

    I’m totally converted to my kindle and love it very much. The only books I’ll buy now will be nice books, the kind you collect. Although I will admit–the kindle will never take the place of feeling and smelling a real book. That’s just something that I need from time to time.

  7. Bumbles says:

    Good topic! I received an iPad for my birthday in the fall. On it I have the Nook app, the default book app that came with it and the Kobo Reader app. I suppose I could get the Kindle app too. Through these various readers I have downloaded free books – mostly Classics but every now and then something recent that is a free special offering I stumble across. I’m too cheap to buy the books I want to read. That is why I love my library. I will have to look and see if they have e-books for loading.

    I will say this, I do most of my reading at the gym on the elliptical and that iPad makes reading a BREEZE! I tend to read a lot of chunksters and hands free reading is so incredibly awesome. I like that I can change the brightness or the text style or size.

    What I don’t like is that it is challenging to really get a feel for how much farther you have to go. I can see how many pages are left in the current chapter through Kobo. And if I go to the Table of Contents I can see how many pages are left. But I like the instant feedback I get by looking at my bookmark in the pages of a real book. I find I am more apt to pick up a real book and start flipping through a few pages during short breaks around the house. With the iPad, I don’t get as motivated to pick it up and read. Not that it takes more than 30 seconds to be reading with it – but it is just not as big a draw as looking at the cover of that book sitting on the coffee table.

    I wonder how today’s new readers (the people, not the devices) will feel, having known more of the e-reading tool than the actual book itself. We like real books for mostly sentimental reasons I presume. If you don’t have that basis attachment already, why would you ever develop it when the e-reader gives you all that you’ve ever wanted? This worries me. That’s why I think it is important to stick real books in the hands of children still – so they have that connection to grow with – keeping it a “tool in their reading arsenal” as you so beautifully put it.

    • jehara says:

      Hmm, I hadn’t thought about that before. I agree, it would be incredibly sad if future generations of readers didn’t get a chance to develop a connection to physical books. However, the e-readers seem to be encouraging adolescents to read more. . .
      I like the idea of starting kids on paper books and then when they get older they can ‘graduate’ to the e-readers.
      I still remember getting a box of books a month as a child and poring over the book fair catalogues. As fun as e-readers are, they can’t top the joy of receiving actual books.

  8. I got my nook last year, and absolutely love it. I have a tiny little house and since I’m an avid bibliophile and my husband is an avid musician, our house is crammed almost to the breaking point with books and musical equipment. I quit buying paper books. Not that I don’t love the feel and the smell, because I do, but because I love the convenience of having hundreds of books in the size of a trade paperback. I love being able to get rid of the books I don’t necessarily need to read at 3 a.m. when the power’s out. That means all of my Chaucer, my Harry Potter books, my graphic novels, and Jane Eyre are staying put. It also means that the really nice leather-bound histories I bought are staying put. And I prefer paper cookbooks, so I’m not getting rid of any cookbooks.

    But all the paperbacks I was buying at Half-Price? Gone. Various books I bought at BN on sale? Gone (or on the way out the door). It’s just so great not having the mess. Another thing I like is that if I can’t remember if I own a book already or not, I don’t have to go to a database on my computer or look through my shelves and stacks of books; it’s right there on my nook to tell me. I can easily organize my books.

    My husband’s never going to get rid of any guitars or amps or recorders, so getting rid of most of my paper books helps with the house overflow.

    Another good point, for me, is that when I’m on an airplane or stuck in the doctor’s office, it doesn’t matter if I finish the book I’d been reading, because I currently have something like 630 books in my nook, so I can start something else instead of having to sit there twiddling my thumbs or reading a 3-year-old magazine.

  9. My son recently gave me his Kindle for safekeeping while he’s in the military. I love it..absolutely love it. But it hasn’t stopped me from acquiring books. When I spend $$ I take a long time to decide what to buy. I frequent my public library and check out a multitude of books and while there I’m always finding something on their sale cart!! I love the ease of the Kindle too, especially when I’m eating lunch because I just click the button. Overall, I think the two mediums can continue to co-exist! I hope paper books never go by the wayside!

    • jehara says:

      Before I actually got the e-reader, I had a one-or-the-other mentality about them. I just didn’t understand why I, myself, would buy books for an e-reader when I would want them physically. Now that I have one, I realize there are books I can buy for the Kindle that I don’t need to own in physical form. Case in point: I purchased the last two books of the House of Night series because I was too impatient to wait in the library hold queue. I am still choosy about what books I purchase-on the Kindle and in physical form. I just have different requirements for each.

  10. Margot says:

    Add me as a member of the I Love My E-Reader Club. I just got a Kindle last July and couldn’t be happier. I’m already a book lover but my Kindle boosted my love up another notch. My husband and I live in an RV and together we read about 225 books a year. When visiting each of our children we use the local libraries but still we like some books the libraries don’t have. The Kindle is a good solution for us.

    Even so, we still love books that have a smell to them. We’ll never give up buying hardbacks or paperbacks but they are now the ones we either want to keep for a long time or ones we can pass on to someone else.

    As to the cost of books on e-readers. Kaye (commenter above) told me about a website that keeps track of free or inexpensive books on e-readers. Here’s the link:
    http://blog.booksontheknob.org/

    I’ve noticed that often, when an author is about to release a new book, he/she will release their last book in e-reader format for a dollar or two. Great way to promote themselves.

    I have a spreadsheet that covers everything I have on my Kindle and the costs (yes, one of my obsessive quirks). So far I’ve downloaded 91 books and 6 games at a cost of $140.39. When you look at the average costs of hardbacks ($25) and paperback ($8), my e-books are a bargain.

    • jehara says:

      Wow, that is a bargain price. I buy books sporadically. I keep a separate list of books I want to buy from my list of books I want to read. The books I keep around are those I want to re-read, favorite authors, or books I want to reference again. I also like to own plays and poetry.
      I will be checking out that link. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. Kathleen says:

    I love my Kindle too and I never thought I would say that! I bought it before I was taking a long flight over to Germany. I fell in love with it then for the convenience of carrying all of those books with me without my bag weighing me down. I also read the NY Times and don’t worry if I get a bit behind because instead of having old papers stacked up to read I have them all on the Kindle waiting for me. When I was in Hawaii a few months ago I loved reading my Kindle at the beach and by the pool with no glare. I feel like I sound like a commercial for the Kindle but it has been such a great device for me during my travels! Glad you have enjoyed yours so much too!

  12. Janet says:

    I ❤ my Nook…and it's all because of one of your book reviews that I got it! Also, Penny, I don't know if it's the same in your town, but in mine, I can download library books to my Nook…

  13. Julie says:

    I dont have an e-reader but I want one. One day my dream will come true. I will also never stop reading paper books, but when I travel I am always trying to decided which books to fit into my carry on luggage and always leaving books behind because I have no room – so for travel it is an e-reader for me!

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