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Which Do You Prefer: eBook or Paper Book?

I don’t know about you but I’m still on the fence about the e-book vs printed book debate.

E-books are certainly the future.  For evidence of that, you need to look no further than the fact that Kerry Wilkinson’s book Locked In, has recently become the first self-published e-book to be Amazon’s top seller.  Plus, my grandmother now has a Kindle so I think they’re well past the “early adopter” phase.

Ever since I got an iPad I’ve certainly been reading more e-books than paper books.  I like the instant gratification of downloading a book I want as soon as I hear about it.  I enjoy being able to add notes and highlights without feeling the guilt over destroying a paper book.  I like that I can see the content that other people found interesting.  An integrated dictionary?  Awesome.  And you can dive deeper into any topic by easily connecting to linked references in the book.

E-books win hands down for convenience as I can carry an entire library around to entertain me during waits at the doctor’s office, etc.  I’m currently reading the Steve Jobs biography which in its paper form is massive and heavy. Certainly not something I’d carry around in my handbag.  I like that I never have to worry about a reading light because there’s one built-in. Of course, setting aside the issue of eye strain.  Plus I feel like I read e-books faster. Maybe I can skim the content quicker, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s all in my head.

But there is still something about a printed book.  E-books just don’t have that comfort factor.  Snuggling up on a cold day by the fire with your iPad (or whatever gadget you choose) well, it just isn’t snuggly.  And at the beach (my favorite all time place to read) I’d rather have a paper book, something I don’t mind covering with sand and sunscreen.  I’ve also always been a fan of sharing books among friends and the printed book reins supreme here. Yes, you can lend Kindle books but only on specific titles and not a single Kindle book that I have is eligible for lending.

And the book store, oh I used to love going to the book store.  It’s the ambiance and warmth of the place where I’d lose myself in the stacks of great literature.  I could spend hours in a book store just wandering around picking up books with compelling cover art.  I no longer have hours to kill in a book store (toddler!), but the sense of calm and peace I’d get browsing their aisles, I certainly don’t get that from Amazon.

For me, I don’t want to choose.  I want to enjoy them both for what they each excel at.  For me, there is a place in my life for both e-books and printed books.

Do you have a preference?  Which side of the fence to you sit on?

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  • Reply Amanda February 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Ive never read an e-book. I’m the sort who takes a bit of persuading to try new technology (not that e-books are new anymore!). However I’m also the sort that once I try something I often wonder why I didn’t do it before. So I’m going to read our next book club book on my iPad and the I can let you know my preference!

    • Reply katlightner February 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      You’ve got the iPad already so you could even give one of the free books a try to see if you like it. Many of the classics, like Great Expectations(!), you can get free because their copyrights have expired.

  • Reply Matt Pickworth February 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I disagree with your comment about notes destroying a book. I write in many of the books I own and have consistently since college. I’ve found it to be a scattered journal of sorts, since I’m not disciplined enough to commit to a proper one. Re-reading my favorites and seeing how my thoughts and opinions have evolved over time is often surprising and enlightening. I also think it adds valuable context to the prose when I ultimately pass those favorites along to my children.

    Then again, by the time my kids are old enough to hand them down, they might just sit in the corner in a dusty milk crate like I did with my dad’s album collection.

    • Reply katlightner February 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      You know when I wrote that I did think to myself that “destroy” was probably too strong a word as I know lots of people that do write in the books just like you describe. I can totally appreciate what you’re saying about the benefits of taking notes in the book. I do keep a journal so I think it’s just my preference to keep all of my notes in one place. Plus, I’ve cleaned out the “library” through enough moves that I don’t have nearly the stash of books around that I used to.

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