Thursday, February 5, 2015

E-Reader vs Paper Bound Book

Today I'm talking the never-ending battle between the technological advance of e-readers, and the general classicism of the physical book.

I bet you're all wondering which side I'm on, right? (Well, the least ya'll can do is entertain me and pretend to wonder)

The truth is, I'm on the side of both. I have both; I have piles and mountains of physical books, and I also own a nice Nook with a lot of books on it. Basically, I think it's silly when people put down one over the other, and I find it particularly silly when people on the side of physical books do whatever it takes to try to prove the superiority of their team by talking about the smell of books, the feel of books, turning the pages, etc.

Let's just look at the big picture, here: when we read, we read for the words.


End of story. (Sorry about the pun)

When we read a book, the story that the author crafted is what takes us from reality into a world that's much more emotionally compromising. Words do that. So let's just agree that it doesn't matter if people are reading on a physical book or an e-reader, and instead let's be happy that people are actually reading, shall we?

So that's my little rant. There are advantages to both, too, so:

Physical Books

  • Fewer headaches. Honestly, this is the biggest thing. Spending all day on a computer writing or working on homework, then switching to an e-book can sometimes simply be too much for my eyes. I already get computer headaches, noise headaches, and pressure headaches; the last thing I want is a reading headache. That would be depressing.
  • The feeling of accomplishment when you have a really thick book in your hands and you finished the whole thing (example: I read Stephen King's UNDER THE DOME in two days; that book is over 1,000 pages long and was bigger than my head). You should have seen the looks people at my work gave me when they walked by my office and saw my head buried in that thing. And it's not for the reason that I should have been doing actual work. Because I was (promise!).
  • Being able to see what other people are reading without being creepy. Because it's weird to lean over a stranger's shoulder and ask, "Whatcha reading?" Really, try it sometime. Some people might see it as harmless, but in today's world they'll give you a strange look, scream, slap you, and/or call the cops. Okay, maybe none of the above, but it's kind of frowned upon to be that invasive in a stranger's life.
  • The books tend to be cheaper. There, I said it. And this isn't an always. However, you can normally find brand-new books for between ten and fifteen dollars, versus between eighteen and twenty-five. Many books go on sale for promotions, so you can get them for five or even two dollars. And this is all just books for the Nook through the Barnes and Noble store. Amazon has hundreds of thousands of books for free or only a dollar, and their commercial fiction tends to be priced around the same as B&N. So, there: cheaper books.
  • They take up less space. Yes, I absolutely love seeing a stack of books. I love seeing all of their spines and colors and the author's name. A bookshelf is the only decoration I need in life. However, and particularly since I'm currently living an apartment roughly the size of my bedroom back home (okay, maybe two bedrooms), there simply isn't enough space. So the fact that I've got 60+ books on my Nook (probably more; actually...yeah, there's most definitely more) makes my life a whole lot easier. Plus, in case ya'll haven't noticed: when you put a lot of them together, books are heavy. I can say (from experience) that hauling bags of read books back to my house every time I go on vacation is kind of tiresome (regardless of the awesome weight-lifting workout it gives me).
  • To get a new book, I don't have to put on pants. All you need is a credit card and a WiFi connection to download a new book. Seriously. It makes my life a heck of a lot easier, especially if I need the next book in a series (assuming it's already out) like, right when I finish the previous one.
So, really. That's my rant on why they're equal, plus what I think are the advantages of each one (put in a personal context. What are your thoughts on e-readers? Which do you prefer and why? Talk to me, folks, I love having conversations.

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E-readers versus physical books. Blogger @Rae_Slater shares her thoughts, plus the advantages of both (Click to Tweet)

When we read, it's for the words: the battle of e-reader vs. book is moot, as explained by blogger @Rae_Slater (Click to Tweet)


  1. THANK YOU FOR THIS. I personally prefer books just because I don't have an e-reader at the time, but when I had my Nook I made good use of both. I always get annoyed when book lovers start shaming people who would rather read on e-readers - I guess my stance is that what does it matter if someone likes e-readers better? E-readers are WAY easier. That's just the truth of it. I used mine for a lot of classics because Nook had them free, and also with bigger books because let's face it, big books are fun but if you have to carry it around all day it can get exhausting. Also, a lot of libraries let you check out e-books now, so hey, if there's a book you really want and there's a ton of holds on it...
    Anyway, I could go on and on about that. I love the feeling of a book in my hand, and I collect books like mad because I like owning physical copies. But I'd totally use e-books too. It's my preference, and other people have theirs, and that should be cool. It's the words and stories that matter in the end.

    1. You're welcome, Aimee! I completely agree; I've had my Nook senior year of high school (so 3 or 4-ish years), and it's great! Sometimes I find books I want to read for a great price, plus I get to carry many of them around in such a small space; considering the size of my school bag, it's great for that. But I still love all of my physical books, and buy physical often. It's a half-half thing, and both have their perks :)

      "It's the words and stories that matter in the end." You, my dear, are exactly right.

  2. I read way too much stuff on the computer. And it's not a great format for reading anyway. I prefer books. I don't want to buy an e-reader.
    I like electronic files (i'm a programmer after all) but I prefer books for their disconnectedness. And, well, they are very portable.

    1. The good thing I can say is that many e-readers have specialized screens so they're not quite as bad as reading off a computer; after some time, though, it can definitely get tiresome. And books are portable, in both physical and e-book style, so, always a great companion :)

  3. I'll admit it: I used to be adamantly against e-books. I think it was because a part of me was afraid they'd make physical books obsolete, and I was so not ready to give up my lovely books! But it's looking like for all the hype about technology, physical books are here to stay, and anyway you're totally right--it doesn't really matter so much how people are reading, as long as they're reading. Literacy for the win!

    I still tend to read almost all of my books as physical copies, though, because not only do I adore physical books, I just kind of feel like if I'm going to spend the money on a book I might as well have it to hold in my hand--and if I'm not buying it, I'm borrowing it at the library, so. But I'm not the e-book snob I used to be (I hope, haha), and I actually bought my sister's old Kindle from her not too long ago, so I have the option of buying e-books if I ever feel like it! TL;DR, I prefer physical books, but e-books are a good option, too, and if people prefer using e-readers then by all means, use them! As you said, it's a story no matter what the format--so to each his/her own. :)

    1. You said it! The biggest thing I was afraid of, too, when e-books started to come out was that they'd completely replace physical; statistics have shown that this fear is completely untrue: physical books are basically here to stay. Which makes me so super happy, because creating books is basically an art; they're so pretty!

      And, aw, I'm glad you're more accepting of e-books, now. There's always a preferred format, but I think it's also great not to put up too much of a fuss so long as you have the book in front of you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Taylor!

    2. Absolutely! Physical books are just so gorgeous. <3

      Haha, me too. ;) You know, I'm finding that as time goes on I'm becoming a lot more open-minded about some of the things that used to get me all worked up. I used to be so vehement about certain things, but now I try to embrace the whole "to each his/her own" philosophy whenever I can. The debate of physical books vs. e-books? Definitely not worth all the fuss, haha! ;)

    3. "To each his own," is totally my life motto. I find it helps me live my life better when I accept the things others believe and do, even if I don't like it ^_^