Monday, September 19, 2011

Why a Book is Better Than a Kindle or a Nook



Unlike most of the tech-savvy people I know, I just can't get excited about e-readers.  Don't get me wrong, I love technology.  I use an iPad, smart phone, Facebook, Twitter and Pandora. But, I come from a long line of book-reading nerds that believe a book is meant to be held and smelled.  I frequent the library for the tactile satisfaction of picking a book off the shelf and flipping through the pages. 
I can't get cozy with a hard piece of plastic that I have to plug in.  I have tried to read a book in my iPad, and I hated every second of it. It took me forever to get through the book, which I also ended up hating because it all felt cold and sterile. 
I know you are thinking I am crazy, but I have come up with 5 reasons that a book is better than a Kindle or Nook.
1. The smell and feel of a book can't be digitally recreated
At least not yet.  I enjoy holding a book in my hands and turning each page.  I can turn down a page or write a note in the margin to remember next time I read the book. That paper smell just relaxes me, and lets me know it's time to sit down and read. Soon people may walk into a library and wonder what the funky smell is, and I have news for you, it's the BOOKS!
2. You can't share your Kindle with your friends.
At least not without parting with your e-reader while a friend reads the book you are "loaning" to them. I know some services let you borrow books, like at a library, but so far I haven't found a great solution for this problem. I regularly read something and pass it on to a friend and get books from my friends in this same fashion. 
3. I read a book to get away from the computer screen
With an e-reader you are stuck staring at a screen.  I work in a job where I look at the computer most of the day.  I like to come home from work, and grab a book to get me away from the harsh computer screen. Not to mention all the other technology we deal with regularly like TVs and iPads. I've seen the Kindle digital ink, and it's not bad, but it still feels like tech in my hands. Sometimes I just need a visual break from all the screens in my life, and I go to the pages of a book to get it.
4. Used book stores are a huge part of my life.
I do buy new books too, but I frequent the used book stores and trade in my books and buy others.  Without books in our world these places would not exist at all.  Sure it's convenient to download a book and lighter to carry, but there is just something about shopping in the store for a book that gets me excited to read it. Another thing I love about the used book store is I can get a book for 1-3 bucks, and with an e-reader the prices are usually not that good.
5. With a book I know where I am at.
A Kindle gives you a visual representation (like a progress bar) and a percentage of how far you are in the book. A Nook has the page number in the upper right hand corner, but since you can change the font and size, the total number of pages will change. So page 87 of 242 is the same as page 96 of 267, or in Kindle speak, 36%. I don't want to do math, I just want to read!
We can agree to disagree on this if you think I am way off. I would love it if I could learn to read on an e-reader, but for now I will continue to be a book lover.  And that means I will keep holding, smelling and turning actual pages as long as I can.
About the author: Elli is an avid skier and tennis player who enjoys writing in her spare time for http://bundles.usdirect.com/ – home of <a href="http:/bundles.usdirect.com/">CenturyLink Internet</a>.

29 comments:

  1. To me, there's nothing quite like the sight of a full bookshelf. That said, I do read some on my Android phone (Kindle app), but books are.. well, they're books, know what I mean?

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  2. Christine, I cannot agree more. There's nothing like the feel of a book in the hand, is there? I also find it's a lot easier to find stuff later -- a favorite paragraph / description / poem -- in a "real" book that in its e-version.

    E-books do, I must admit, have two big things going for them. At least in my opinion. One is the sheer ease of acquisition of titles that have been out of print, or hard to find, for years. The second one is saving trees. *sigh*

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  3. A lifelong lover of books, I never thought I'd say this, but, I have to admit, I love my Kindle. Lately I've been reading books on a Kindle virtual app on my iPad - enjoying that too. We travel frequently, so the ability to load into Kindle the 10 -12 books I normally bring on a weeklong trip is huge for me. The money I save on overweight fees alone helps to restock my library.

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  4. RN, Guilie and Terri: many thanks for the comments. Books vs. e-readers is such a hot topic, especially among avid readers. Elli, who wrote the post, is clearly on the side of books. Personally, I'm on the fence. I adore my physical library but look forward to the day when I can lug hundreds of books in my iPad. Perhaps some of us will continue to own physical books while enjoying the convenience of digital.

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  5. Well said! I will always read paperback/hardcover. It is nice to have the Kindle for PC on my laptop, and I purchase items for it once in a while. But the vintage Nancy Drews on my shelf or the enjoyment of reading a book while taking a hot bath, or relaxing in bed (away from screens!) can never be replaced.

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  6. Wonderful post - I couldn't agree more! I look forward to visiting again.

    Sylvia
    www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com

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  7. Thanks for the positive comments on my post! I would compare reading books on a Nook or Kindle to reading the news or news articles online. I have such a hard time getting into an article or column knowing that it is not written down on paper.. The minute I print out an article, I trust it more. Clearly, I could stand to stop being so stubborn and reap some of the benefits of these cool technologies (iPad, Nook, Kindle, and the online space in general). I guess I just process information differently when I read it on a screen as opposed to when I have something physically in my hands that I can write on, fold the corners, mark up, send via snail mail to friends halfway across the country, and so on.

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  8. Elli makes a good point regarding how we each process information. I can't help but wonder if some people assimilate content better through a book while others are more comfortable with digital.

    Wendy, you must share the Nancy Drews. I adored the series during adolescence.

    Sylvia, thanks for stopping by!

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  9. You are not alone... I want an actual BOOK - I'm not a fan of the e-books. One thing I have always wanted is a big library in my house. I can't have that with a kindle! I love the look and smell of a new book. I love the cozy feeling of one you've read over and over. I just love books. Nothing digital required!

    Love your blog. New follower!

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  10. I love my books and proudly display them. I never thought I'd see the day when I would even have an e-Reader, but my son got me one and I am loving the simplicity of having it ALL at my fingertips and I read on it almost exclusively now.

    I do love my own books in print, so am going to feel lost next time I write one if it isn't in print first. I don't have to worry with my DREAM REACHERS series because they have over 300 photos which makes a mighty bulky e-reader book, so I will deffy have those in print to look forward to. LOL

    I agree with some of this and think there is nothing that warms a house more than a well-organized bookshelf.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Christine.

    Hugs - Betty

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  11. Abby and Betty: I recently gave away my huge library to the Salvation Army--there simply won't be room for all those books in my new home in Charleston. Of course, I'll continue to by books but I'm thrilled about exploring more fiction, faster and affordably, with e-books. And digital publishing has already opened doors for many talented storytellers. Love it!

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  12. I use my Kindle a lot more frequently since starting to book blog but I still can't fall in love with it like I do with my plain old fashioned books. Holding an actual book just makes me happier!

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  13. Meet a kindred soul who loves used book stores and the smell of printed pages, who still enjoys old-fashioned finger-licking page turning. Just tweeted this!

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  14. Hi Christine - I'm okay with print & digital. Not a big fan of the iPad as a reader - Kindle & Nook are better, in my opinion. I still buy paper versions regularly, but you can't beat the convenience of the ereader - especially for travel. Used books? My one & only experience wasn't so great - Cheeto crumbs inside. (My OCD kicked into high gear.)

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  15. Hi Christine, I so agree with you! The only advantage I see is saving of storage and shelf space. I couldn't reconcile with the Kindle, but someone adviced me to get the Kindle cover and it has made slight difference. Now I feel as if I'm holding something!

    And with the amount of reading I'm doing....

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  16. I love this piece. I also fear that the kindle-ization of bookstores will mean that certain books just fade from our culture, like computer files that can't be "read" anymore. Our culture is a long culture of books. Something will inevitably be lost in the translation to digital tech.

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  17. Great post. The kindle is great if you are traveling but in general, I much perfer a book in my hand. I laughed out loud when I read the word "smell." I catch my husband with his nose in books all the time smelling them. Give me my book over a kindle any day.

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  18. Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments! Maggie, I pray you're wrong about the kindle-ization of bookstores causing some books to fade from our culture. On the positive side, the advent of e-books has allowed many new Indie authors to reach the reading public.

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  19. @christinenolfi RE: Are Books Better than Kindle, Nook? http://tinyurl.com/3ndro9o {am torn between look & feel of real VS immediacy of ebooks~sb} ... how about BOTH? ;-)

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  20. I love my Kindle as well. Knowing I'm 50% through a book is fine for me. There are little to no books available anymore anyway. Plus, the Kindle is so much easier to read in bed or at the gym. A big book that you have to hang on to is more a hinderance than a pleasure. Granted people are entitled to their opinion but I suggest you get a (fairly cheaper) Kindle and see how much better it is to read than a shiny iPad screen.

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  21. I agree with you completely. This is why I created a site which celebrates hardback books. Take a look at my site:http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-BookCase-Project/201733486549165

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  22. Sarah & Suzanne, I now use both--why not? I love the convenience of my iPad but also adore the tactile experience of a physical book.

    Philip, thanks for reading along.

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  23. Yeah, real books are just flat out awesome. Digital books are now trying to come out with gimmicks like movable covers, (interactive covers) n such, but i don't buy into the hype.

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  24. Charles, I don't think the gimmicks will move anyone from books to digital. It's the convenience. I love the notion that I can lug a trove of books around in my purse, in a conveniently small digital device.

    That said, there's nothing as delicious as buying a new book in the bookstore!

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  25. I love books. I finally broke down and purchased a kindle for travel. A kindle that, oops, doesn't work, so a replacement is on order.
    But books, real books, don't let you down. :)

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  26. I have loved books through and through. Sure, they're clunky old things that can smell and have odours, but that's their charm. I enjoy carrying my clunky, smelly old books with me to read. I love using bookmarks of all shapes and sizes, I love wrapping up a book or two at Christmas time and putting them under the tree and knowing it's a book for somebody special!

    e-readers are impersonal. They can be lost, broken if you drop them, sit on them or shove them inside your bag amongst other things. How you treat your e-reader may not be the same way your friends or relatives treat theirs (if you let them use it at any point). So, if you do ever let somebody else use yours, it might come back in worse shape than how you gave it to them.

    Books are something that are personal, beautiful, and stackable. I love having shelves of them around me; they make my house a home, they are all the imaginations of writers in one place just waiting for me to open up and read. They're magic... and we're about to be taken on the carpet ride of that author's story between real pages that we can feel with our fingers... and not on any computer screen.

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  27. I wasn't sure I'd like e-reading either. The screen thing was a huge issue for me, but once I began using one, I realized that, as far as "ink" goes, the experience is almost identical. Everyone has their preferences, but I've switched almost entirely to e-reader now. It's just way too convenient. Books are great in any form :)

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  28. I love my 3 kindles and Ipad (yes, you heard me right); but I will opt for a book any day of the week. I love the readers for travel and that is how I receive 99% of the books I review for my blog. If an author offers me an autographed copy of a book, I jump at the chance. I collect them and have them in a special place. I agree with everything in the post. Would I give up my readers. Not on your life. They have become a part of me, just like my books which are extensive in my house.

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    1. Eva, I'm finally reading on my iPad and love it. The notion that I can haul around an entire library of books has me utterly hooked. Still, it's nice to know that some of those lovely reviewers like you still hold a special fondness for physical books.

      Many thanks for leaving a comment.

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