Why I Like Books

A fellow blogger, Liz Pezzuto, writer of 8-Bit Words, posted her thoughts about books versus e-readers. She asked her readers what they thought. I had no idea, until I began writing, just how strongly I felt about this. I decided to post it here as well. What Liz has to say may actually have more validity than what I wrote, only because she actually tried it. Call me stubborn, but these are the questions and thoughts I have on the subject:

1. Using battery power to read? Why would I want to do that, when reading a real book takes none? And this in the age in which we are supposedly becoming more environmentally aware?

2. Enter the rat race? You don’t have to be Amish to live life more simply… I make a deliberate attempt at avoiding the  headlong pursuit of the latest fashions and technologies. 

3. Losing all my books at once? What happens if I have 50 books loaded on the e-reader, and then I lose it, it breaks, down, or it’s stolen? Now I’ve lost all those books at once, which is the equivalent of losing a whole bookshelf full, whereas if I take a book somewhere and forget it, it’s just one book. Of course I can always buy a new e-reader to replace the books I lost… I’m sure the company selling them wouldn’t have a problem with that, but my budget might not allow for it.

4. What would a “book-burning” look like in the world of e-readers? Let’s imagine we all switch to e-readers, and several hundred years hence, books have become antiques that need to be preserved in vaults and are no longer available to most people. Anyone interested in censoring or burning books, wouldn’t need a physical fire… certain books could just disappear, never to be read again. This may seem far-fetched to us, but think about it… I ‘m sure Hitler would have considered that a gift, to be able to make certain books disappear with a push of a button. We are no longer passing on the classic stories in the oral tradition. Would I want to live in a world without the collective knowledge of mankind being passed down from one generation to the next?  Absolutely not. That is what traditional books represent to me… the collective knowledge of humans throughout time.

5. What are the unintended consequences? Whenever there is “progress” made in our society (and let’s imagine for a moment, e-readers are progress), there are always unintended consequences. For example, when the highways were new in this country, the small businesses faltered all along the old roadways, because they had been dependent on traffic for their livelihood. I have no idea what the unintended consequences will be of the mass exodus to the use of the e-reader, but I don’t for a minute imagine there won’t be any.

6. Succumb to the hype? Not me, thanks.  I resent the pressure readers, authors, and the publishing industry is under to change over. I don’t plan on handing my money over for yet another something I don’t need. And I resent the threats that I am going to be left behind the rest of the world, that I won’t be able to buy certain books in the future without one, or as an author I won’t be able to get future books published without going that route.  It feels no different to give in to this pressure than it did for me to finally give in to the people in my Amish community, when they pressured me into becoming a baptized member of the church. I did succumb to that pressure, and then regretted it and subsequently left. I learned I don’t like succumbing to external pressure, and so I will stay with the tradition of physically turning the pages of my book, thank you. After all it doesn’t take any battery power….

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11 thoughts on “Why I Like Books”

  1. I love books. I read about 2-3 a week. To me, buying all those books is a waste. Unless of course it is a reference or workbook that I plan to use often. I held off until just this weekend from buying an e~reader. I finally decided to go for it. I love it. I can have my book on my Nook in seconds. I can even download books for free. Which is how I enjoy my books, free from the library. Yes, it’s battery powered, however it is not back lit, so the battery lasts for 10 days. I feel it is a very simple way to read. Definitely not wasting paper. Not wasting gas or my time driving to the library. All my B&N books wether free from their site, or downloaded are registered permanently on my account. If my Nook breaks, is lost, stolen, etc. they can all be recovered.
    I do not think the e~reader will replace books. I don’t feel as though I would have been left behind had I not purchased one. I see it only as a convenience. I will still use actual books to read because I too enjoy the feel of the turning of a page. Just a few of my thoughts on the subject. :o)

  2. Well, a hearty amen to this. I agree with you, especially on point number 6. And I would add a few more things too. E-books have been hard on libraries, where we are often expected to buy copies of a book in every format (hard back, large print, sound audio, etc.) and e-books are horrifyingly expensive. It’s one additional pressure on our budget that, in the end, means we can buy less of a variety of books since we are pressured to buy one title in different formats. Publishers feel this pinch too, and are publishing a narrower variety of books because they have to invest so much in the popular titles that they already print.

    For me, like many people, I spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen so I like reading to be a different experience. I like a portable, light weight device that I can take anywhere, lend out, and not worry about batteries or outdated file formats. Yes, I like a plain old book.

  3. I work at a library, so of course I totally agree with you! I’d like to see an e-reader just to play with one for a while and I can see how they’d be convenient for traveling, but there’s nothing like the feel of an actual book in your hands. Books that are special and have meaning to me (or have been signed by the author – wink!) have a special place on my shelf and those can’t be replaced. OH, and old books…priceless!

  4. One must add that books smell, good or bad but it is a quality in books for me! I love the smell of a new book or an old one that smells ‘library’. The only book smell I do not enjoy is when they smell like an ash tray but fortunately not too many people I know are smokers.

  5. Amen to that! I’m a Library Director at a small Town Library in Clifton Forge, Virginia. We couldn’t afford to lend out e-readers with the cutbacks in State, County and Town funding. Also, important to mention – the the e-reader file formats aren’t the same from Reader to Reader. Say you have a Nook but would like to try to download a book off of Amazon. You wouldn’t be able to do that. Kindle file formats are different from Nook files formats. Also, try taking a Nook or Kindle to the beach or even dropping it accidentally.

  6. Wow — hot topic! I don’t have an e-reader, but I like ’em. I imagine bringing just one slim thing on vacation, rather than the stack that I usually have.

    I do have an iphone and once when I had an unexpectedly long wait at a doctor’s office and nothing on hand to read, I downloaded Jane Austen’s entire works on an app. Waiting with Anne Elliot passed the time very satisfactorily.

  7. I wish I could live a life that didn’t have batteries. TV obsesses about what is wrong in this world and exposes our young to it. Everything is computers, what happened to using your imagination and reading a really good book? So sad. Our children and grandchildren need to dream and have dreams, not just entertainment and be entertained.

  8. I think they have their good points: easy to travel with, can always access them (if you lose your reader)… that’s about it. Like others have said, they don’t smell like books, feel like books, have yellowed and worn pages from years of the love of reading or give your eyes rest from looking at a screen. The ‘readers’ are too expensive. Guess you can see where my vote is :-)

  9. I’ve read all the comments thus far and see the pros and cons all the comments. One thing that bothers me about library books is that I don’t know where the past readers have placed them: on the hospital bed near a bed pan, a dressing, in the bathroom of a persons home, on the floor, in a motel room later found to have bed bug, etc. Would much rather have a emailed version from the library. I prefer art & crafts books in my hand, however I wouldn’t mind previewing them in ebook form before purchase. I LOVE to read books, and continuously need more space for them. A book in one’s hand is one that can be resold to buy, (OH MY!) more books. I would rather lend an ebook, rather than a material. Too many I’ve lent out have not found their way back, were chewed up by someone’s bird or dog, or generally were returned damaged in one way or another. I still enjoy an oversized coffee table book in my lap, and paging through photos numerous times as I read memoirs. I enjoy all the older literary works for free download, and the ability to take a library of ebooks with me on holiday without the bulk of a material library. And for those of us that may be facing down sizing in the next decade or so, the choice to have certain books in ebook is nice. I have seen some ebooks more expensive than the actual book, but buying ebooks cheaper than actual book when the budget is short is a nice option. Two hands are not required for an ebook, so I can eat and read more comfortably with an ebook. And, I understand there are now ebooks out with additional video included. I will be buying your book Saloma in actual book form. I have been waiting for your book for some time, a special interest book to me, and my special books will be actual book format.
    Blessings to all,

  10. I’m thankful that my 18 year old was able to save up enough money for a Kindle because he would take two big bags of books along on a week long trip–and run out long before we got home!! And then no one was happy! Now, he loads his Kindle with free books from Project Gutenburg or Amazon freebies, and we are good for a week. Other than that . . . he and I are both very thankful and happy for REAL books. One other thing–As an adoptive Mom who has traveled out of the USA to foreign countries for weeks at a time, I can see a Kindle (or similar) being very useful in those situations too. It’s really hard to take along enough books when you are gone for weeks and limited to a suitcase and carry on.

  11. For a good chuckle, pick up the book “It’s a Book” by Lane Smith. Be sure that you read all the pages, including those before the story actually starts.

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