The Rise of eBooks: evil or essential?

The eBook debate continues to rage incessantly and provoke some very important questions.    Is the controversy less about the value of books and more about the development of modern technology?  Who are the winners and the losers in this supposed eBook revolution?  Does it really matter what format books are available in?  For many people, it certainly does.

Although I don’t actually own an e-reader yet, I do plan to get a Kindle soon (hopefully for Christmas this year) after borrowing my sister’s one earlier this summer.  I will be using it almost exclusively for when I’m commuting by train as it is the practical side of e-readers which appeals to me the most.


Source: The Guardian

There are a fair number of advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the printed book vs. eBook debate.  Some of them are obvious, some of them are not so obvious:

The disadvantages of eBooks

No sense of the ‘weight’ of the book.  Looking back, half of my enjoyment of reading ‘1Q84’ by Haruki Murakami was going into a bookshop after my exams were over to buy a copy and then marvelling at the sheer size of the object.  You can’t do that with an eBook.  As objects, books also have other important functions like being used as doorstops or mini steps for reaching things.  I would not go as far as endorsing their use as weapons though.

You can’t flick through an eBook with the same ease as a real book.  Occasionally, you will be 92% of the way through a book thinking that you have a couple of chapters left to go until it abruptly ends only for you to find that the remaining 8% of the text is taken up by background notes or an index.  I felt a bit cheated when I found a glossary hiding in the back of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess although I guess it was more interesting to work out what the words meant by myself.

E-readers require batteries.  Ok, so the Kindle does last a long time before it needs to be recharged but you don’t have to think twice about starting to read a long paperback in case it suddenly flickers and dies in front of your eyes.

The death of cover art.  eBooks do have front covers but they are much less prominent than they are on printed books as you are only likely to see them once.  One blogger (can’t remember who) recently wrote that after reading ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern on an e-reader, they now wanted to buy the book because it would look pretty on their bookshelf.  Cover art is important and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Bad news for bookshops.  Whether it’s a specialist independent bookshop or a charity shop which stocks second-hand books or even chain stores, eBooks are slowly killing the paperback.  Browsing shelves is always much more satisfying than browsing a website.

Piracy.  Downloading isn’t just about music and films anymore.  Authors and publishers stand to lose a lot of money from the illegal distribution of books online which is a whole lot faster than using a photocopier.

You can’t play spine poetry with eBooks.  Enough said.

No such thing as signed eBooks.  I have a treasured signed first edition of ‘Private Peaceful’ by Michael Morpurgo that I will keep forever, even when it’s worth a lot of money one day.  You can’t ‘collect’ e-books in quite the same way.  You also can’t go to an eBook signing and eBook festivals will not necessarily generate a huge turnout.

No page numbers.  This is just me being petty – I don’t really have a solid reason why I prefer page numbers to percentages, I just do.  Percentages unsettle me.

Source: The Guardian

The advantages of eBooks

Carrying a library in your pocket.  I travel by train very frequently and I like the fact that if I finish a book on a Kindle halfway through a journey, I can immediately choose another book from a virtual bookshelf and start reading it there and then.  This is much more preferable to staring out of the window watching the tunnels and industrial estates flash past whilst listening to other people’s inane conversations about men who look like Hobbits (you really do hear it all on the Tube).

eBooks are light.  I deliberately had to read ‘1Q84’ in a week when I knew I wasn’t working and didn’t have to go on long journeys.  It’s a heavy book even in paperback.  Carting it around with me on public transport just wasn’t an option.

Reading more books.  People who use e-readers will buy more eBooks and read more regularly. They are more likely to take a risk on something they wouldn’t normally read  – my sister says she reads a lot more non-fiction since she got her Kindle mostly because of Amazon’s Deal of the Day offer.

Free classics.  I am looking forward to downloading some classic literature when I get an e-reader.  If you are either skint, a cheapskate, or a bibliophile who gets through books faster than Homer Simpson gets through donuts, then cheap or free eBooks are always a bonus.

eBooks are good for students.  My life would have been made so much easier if more eBooks had been made available at my university library.  Fighting dozens of other students for the same textbook is not fun.  In spite of the stingy reputation that students have, I think most would be willing to pay for some sort of service which allows access to online copies of key texts even if it is just out of laziness.

Good for self-publishing authors.  I know this is really a separate debate but ultimately, self-publishing is probably more of a good thing than a bad thing.  Yes, it is true that self-publishing means that the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey will soon take over the world, but if you are prepared to search through all the dross, I’m sure you will find some undiscovered gems out there too.

You have easier access to obscure books.  Bookshops are only ever going to have a certain amount of space to stock their items and ordering things in is time-consuming.  Even buying paperbacks online means you have to wait for them to be delivered.  With an e-reader, the literary world is at your fingertips instantly.

eBooks don’t take up valuable living space.  You will never have to throw them out to make room for anything else nor will you have to spend hours packing and unpacking them when you move house.  You can’t trip over eBooks and break your neck.

You can read embarrassing eBooks. Whether it’s erotica or trash of any genre, nobody ever has to know…until someone like me looks over your shoulder on the train, works out what you’re reading and passes judgement anyway.

A Neutral Point

eBooks don’t smell.  I was originally going to suggest that this was one of the downsides of eBooks because I do enjoy a good book smell.  On the other hand, I have also come across plenty of library books that smell of antiseptic and other unpleasant things so perhaps the fragrant aspect of books can swing either way.

I guess you could say I want it both ways: I am generally not against eBooks so long as their rise doesn’t lead to the interminable decline of printed books but I think this is unlikely anyway.  As Stephen Fry once said:

What do you think?  Are you a total convert to e-readers or do you remain devoted to the humble paperback?

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428 Comments

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428 responses to “The Rise of eBooks: evil or essential?

  1. I am a complete believer in a ‘proper’ book. For some reason I cannot engage with a book when I am reading it from a screen. My eyes blur and I give up after a page! Paper books all the way for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thank you for leaving the first comment on my Freshly Pressed post! There seems to be a pretty clear divide between those in favour of books and converts to e-readers. I don’t know if you have used an e-reader or not but the fact that it isn’t backlit like a computer means that it doesn’t feel like using a machine – it’s very comfortable to read on. I would still never give up books though!

      Like

      • I have used them in the past but only for demos. People have said that you can forget that you’re not reading a ‘proper’ book when you use them but I just can’t quite commit to using one! Plus I would feel like a cheat if I didn’t have to heavy my bag full of books to uni! I like old books too, you can’t get the touch or smell of a 100 year old book on an ereader!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m totally a proper book devotee. I’ve often contemplated getting an ebook reader, but never actually taken the step. I suppose like Hannah, I also loose interest trying to read a book on a screen. I’ve downloaded some ebooks to read on the computer before and it just doesn’t work with me, I need to print them off so I can sit and read them with full concentration.

    However, I recently brought my mum a kindle for her birthday, because she was having trouble reading paperback books and after some deliberation, she decided she’d like to see if they were easy for her to read, since the font size can be altered. I’ve used it a couple of times, but it would never replace my glorious collection of pretty paperbacks!

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I wouldn’t give up books either! Using an e-reader is different from using a computer because the screen isn’t backlit so it is more comfortable to use than you might think. Also, adjusting the font size is another advantage that I didn’t think of. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. You have got some very compelling reasons on both sides of the equation.

    I agree: “so long as their rise doesn’t lead to the interminable decline of printed books,” I think ebooks are fine. I think that Stephen Fry tweet puts it well, too.

    One other bullet point that I didn’t see up there is the tree-friendly aspect of ebooks. I love trees, and I love books, so this is a complicated issue for me.

    Even so, I maintain a stubborn personal preference for the printed page.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Good point about the trees 🙂 I suppose it could also be argued that the process of making an e-reader creates a lot of carbon emissions too so you can’t win either way when it comes to being eco-friendly!

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    • DomeniiNebunie

      This is an issue for me too. But a lot of book publishers now replant trees or use recycled paper 🙂 check the first couple of pages and it should say what they’re doing to stop deforestation.

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  4. I just can’t engage in e-books! Something about reading on a screen makes me feel like I’m on a computer and not relaxing with a book!

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  5. I am torn on this one, but ultimately it’s like Stephen Fry suggests in his tweet, e-books don’t have to spell the end of traditional paperbacks or hardcover books. There is room in our world for both, so long as devoted readers don’t forget to spread their money and their love.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I agree. Even though carrying around a 900 page book like ‘1Q84’ is the most impractical thing in the world, I still bought a paperback copy instead of an eBook because it’s a much more satisfying experience than downloading something!

      Like

  6. I have an eReader (not a Kindle) and for certain things I find it very useful. Still prefer reading “real” books though…

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I think e-readers are very convenient for travelling but when I do get one, I don’t see myself using it all the time.

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  7. The continued availability of proper books with paper leaves and provocative covers has little to do with the personal preferences of readers. As long as publishers make a good profit on books, there will be books, but as more and more readers are turning to ebooks, the publishers are approaching a loss of profitability supporting proper books. Increases in price will do two things: first, the real books will still be available, only more expensive; and second, since the real books are more expensive, more readers will turn to the cheaper ebooks. It will all spiral down and if the publishers can make more money on ebooks, the proper books with paper leaves will go the way of the 8-Track.

    “It is a mistake to think that books have come to stay. The human race did without them for thousands of years and may decide to do without them again.” — E. M. Forster

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Forster may have been on to something there… the pricing of eBooks will be the main factor in dictating the future of the paperback.

      Like

  8. Not sure if anyone mentioned it in the comments – but most ebooks (on a Kindle at least) have page numbers as well as percentages. You just have to hit menu and it’ll show up. Everyone’s pestered Amazon to let you choose between page numbers and percentages, but nothings happened.

    I like both ebooks and regular books – I love the fact I can have a heavy book on my Kindle and not have to worry about lugging it about (I do a lot of reading on the train). I have books I will never part with and occasionally I buy new ones to add to that shelf. I think advantages of the ebooks are that they are easily accessible – having access to books from the local library via my desktop is amazing when I’m out of town for a while.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, e-readers are very convenient for travel. I wouldn’t get rid of my existing books and swap them for eBooks – I have room in my life for both.

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  9. I was strongly against the kindle until some misguided soul bought it for me for Christmas last year. I’m now a little bit of a convert, although I still love my physical books. eReaders have definitely encouraged more people who wouldn’t normally buy a book to actually read, and that can only be a good thing, so ebooks are definitely not evil. Though there is very much a rise in the sale of ebooks, a lot of people forget that physical books are still very much the bread and butter of the majority of publishing houses.

    I personally don’t see the physical book disappearing into oblivion anytime soon. Publishing is ultimately a business and they will produce what the consumer wants. Aside from educational publishing, in general consumer publishing, a very large part of the market still value the physicality of a book.

    And as for me, if I one day have children, I can’t seem to picture myself passing an ebook down to them so that they can pass it on to their own children in turn. I will not develop that kind of sentimental attachment to an electronic file. Fact.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, the industry will always adapt. The fact that clothbound classic books are still being sold shows that some people will still pay for a nice looking book when they could download a free eBook of the same text. I can’t see myself getting sentimental over eBooks either.

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  10. I question whether people with ereaders read more books than those without. Buy more books, maybe, but read more? I’d be interested in hearing more evidence on this point. Also, I question whether there is “easier access to obscure books” because many obscure books are not available in electronic editions because they are, well, obscure (e.g., this semester I’m teaching B.S. Johnson’s novel The Unfortunates, which is unbound and comes in a box. There’s no way to reproduce its form electronically). For what it’s worth, I teach English at the university level in the USA, and just had a conversation about this topic with one of my classes last night. Many students admitted that they read electronic texts much less carefully than they do printed texts, even when the electronic text they are reading is an important one. It is hard to break the habit of skim-reading electronic texts that we develop via such activities as checking Facebook or reading an online football match report. It’s one thing for booklovers who were raised on real books to use an ereader, but it’s another thing for young people who haven’t developed proper reading habits yet to use them.

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    • I’m not aware of any statistics on whether ebooks result in more reading but there are clear instances where the ability to almost instantly have a copy of a book you are looking to read suggests both a time savings and also a more rapid attachment of the book to the desire to read it. I know I have read a review in the TLS and put the title in question on my list of books to buy but by the time I get to a bookstore, I have forgotten why I wanted to read that particular book. Of course the online bookstores help here but I see their operations moving more and more towards the digital editions and, as I said before, when it is more profitable for them to drop the “real” books, then they will.

      Also, obscure or otherwise outre books that are still making a profit for the publisher are not going to be freely available on the internet (unless pirated) and the big-box bookstores online are not going to vend digital editions unless they will assuredly bring in profits. But I believe what is a major advantage of readers is the seemingly endless availability of texts, often obscure, that are no longer in print and are in the public domain. I defy you to gather a complete collection of Balzac’s Comedie Humaine going to bookstores: a few of the major titles are published but you’ll have to dig deeply in the used book market to get most of the other titles and even then chances are you’ll still have a few to go before you give up. But I can download the entire corpus of Balzac’s work for free from Project Gutenberg and load it into my ereader. These are the obscure texts that are easily available in digital editions only.

      As far as reading carefully: the analogy to Facebook missives, texts, etc. is just as applicable to reading real books. Besides, most all ereaders effectively recreate the experience of reading a book, albeit on an electronic device: you turn the pages and see them flip, you can drop in a bookmark, jot a note, etc. Since I am a voracious annotator, underliner, book defiler, I do miss the simplicity of reading with a pencil in my hand, but it probably allows me to read faster.

      Another common feature of ebooks that speeds up the reading process is the automatic link and return to footnotes or endnotes. Experience shows that too many readers just skip the notes and even the embedded extras like poems and songs, but even though that saves time, it hardly qualifies as reading.

      Like

    • Here’s one reader that has increased his reading dramatically due to eBooks. I’ve discovered authors I would have never read because of my Kindle. I tend, like most readers, to stick with authors I enjoy after reading their first installment of a series of books. True, the first addition in a new series may cost you nothing or $.99 but once hooked I’m willing to pay $9.99 for the recent additions.

      I’m a science fiction buff for 50 years. I’ve read at least a half dozen authors with 3-7 books in a series. I now wait for automatic notices sent by Amazon when the next in a series is available.

      One thing that hasn’t been mentioned in the comments is the profits the writer gets on eBooks. Although Amazon has come out with a way to “loan” a book to a fellow kindle reader it’s not the same as used books being handed out by readers.

      I feel ebooks are here to stay & paper books are already on their way out. The same can be said for magazines & newspapers. – Bob

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    • You’re definitely right to question whether they read more. When I first got my kindle, I was on amazon pretty much every day. Perhaps it was the novelty of it. Eight months later, the majority of those ebooks remain on my kindle unread. I’ve read a lot of physical books in that time though and I think that has something to do with quality. If it’s a book you value, I think most people would prefer to buy a physical copy, leaving the ebooks for cheap and perhaps less desirable books.

      And also, when Amazon harp on about the large number of ebook ‘sales’, they’re including those hundreds and thousands of ebooks that are free (and mostly crap).

      Like

    • joannawriting

      My kindle is what made me fall in love with reading again. Especially in school, I never found time to go to the library or a bookstore to find reading for entertainment. My kindle is just more convenient, fits better in my large bag stuffed with textbooks, and overall cheaper.

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      • This is exactly the same for me, lack of time means that I never go to a book store and as I live in France but still read in English, this means that english books are hard to find and expensive, the ebook saved my life and I’m reading far more than before.

        I took some time and wrote a page on my blog concerning the Sony PRS T1, http://wp.me/pc5vi-rn

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  11. L W

    I’m going to wait a few more years before I start on e-readers just to make sure the world hasn’t gone blind from it.

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  12. I’m slowly getting used to e-books, but have to admit that I am totally in love with “real” books. It’s a bit like albums vs digital downloads – the tacit experience of handling the physical object is just so much more fun.

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    • uhm, I meant tactile… not tacit… duh. 🙂

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      • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

        Yes, I still buy CDs too. I guess a lot of the points I’ve made about books vs eBooks could also be made about CDs/vinyl vs mp3s like the death of cover art, the joy of browsing real shops and the fact that it’s just not the same!

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  13. I have a Kindle and I absolutely love it. I’ve always been an avid reader and I admit I was sceptical about eReaders before I actually got one. My parents bought me a Kindle as a birthday present. It goes everywhere with me now! A note about page numbers – you can see the page number on a Kindle. While reading, click on ‘Menu’ and the page number will appear at the top of the screen. For me this is really the only downside to having a Kindle but I can live with it!

    It was the perfect tool at uni – I used to put all of my PDF documents for various classes on it and then take that to class instead. So much easier than lugging around masses and masses of paper!

    The books you download are often much cheaper than their physical counterparts which is always a plus 🙂

    I still enjoy reading ‘real’ books, though, my boyfriend certainly prefers me to download new books rather than buy them – we have boxes and boxes full of wonderful books that I simply cannot get rid of… Even if they are available in electronic format!!

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thanks for the tip about page numbers. I’m starting a Master’s degree soon so if I get my own e-reader soon then I would definitely make use of it for my academic work too. I’m also dreading the next time I have to move house!

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  14. Caroline

    I was once a total ereader, but now that I’ve owned my over a year I enjoy it. Very correct that there are positives and negatives to both. I still visit the library and bookstores and love the smell and feel of books. You also can’t trade an ebook. However it’s nice to buy the book immediately and start reading it. Overall, reading is reading

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, reading is reading whatever format it comes in – the content should be the most important part!

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  15. I want an e-book reader and I also love real books. Reading on public transport makes me feel sick so I would not use one there, but it would be nice to have an e-book reader, read the book and then when I can afford to build a library in my house then I can find the real copies and still say ‘Yes I have read that.’

    Right now I am reading (In paperback form) ‘Ma, he sold me for a few cigarettes’ written by Martha Long ( http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2153238.Ma_He_Sold_Me_For_A_Few_Cigarettes )

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      There don’t seem to be many people who buy e-readers and then give up printed books completely. Good luck with building your library!

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  16. I have had the base Kindle for almost two years now. As a teenager I used to live behind a book and devour the collections at my local library. That was about 50 years ago.

    After retirement i returned to being an avid reader solely because of the Kindle. Amazon’s willingness to distribute their reader software, ie. Kindle for Windows, Mac, iPad, has even increased my desire to increase my library. I now own over 50 eBooks, stored safely in Amazon’s library. A lot of these are reference books that are always at my fingertips

    Such books as multiple versions of the bible, photographic owner’s manuals, travel books on state & federal parks and medical reference books on my diabetes & hypertension are all invaluable volumes I count on for a healthier, happier life.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Is it easy to find what you want in reference eBooks? One of my criticisms of eBooks was that you can’t flip through the pages so easily as you can with a printed book when you want to find something like in a dictionary. Is there an easy way round this or do you just memorise how to find certain pages?

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  17. You made many great points in your blog, but I think that you left out a particularly pertinent point. As resources continue to grow in scarcity and the cost of energy increases, the cost of all “real’ goods, not just books, will increase. The energy cost of an e-reader is pretty enormous itself, but that’s nothing compared to the cost to make and ship a couple hundred pounds of books.

    A few years ago I had 700lbs of books. These days, most of those have been replaced digital copies. Though that choice might not be for everyone, it has certainly worked well for me.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I read somewhere that the carbon emissions produced to create an e-reader is equivalent to producing about 50 books (approximately – someone please correct me if you think that might be wrong…). I guess if you read a lot then yes, using an e-reader is the more environmentally-friendly option. Thanks for pointing that out 🙂

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      • I’ve always thought that ‘real’ books were more environmentally friendly because they are made from a renewable resource, rather than relying on battery power or electricity etc that is non-renewable? I wonder which side of the argument is right – difficult to know. I have resisted a Kindle because I know it would be expensive – I would buy books I like twice so I had a paper copy on my shelves as well as in the Kindle library (which seems less permanent somehow). Great post and congratulations for being Freshly Pressed!

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  18. I’ve owned a kindle since the first generation. At this point, I do think that the advantages of ereaders outweigh the disadvantages (for me). I read much faster on my kindle than when I am reading a print book, and the minimal weight of the kindle makes reading huge tomes – my preferred type of book – much more pleasurable.

    On the downside, a kindle isn’t pretty like a book, though. And there are certain books that can only really be read in print format, including any books where the illustrations are a significant part of the experience. I would include a book like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in this type of book.

    The other significant upside is the ability to have family accounts that enable a number of people to all register their kindles and read the same books. This makes book sharing possible even when your family members live far, far away. My mother (who lives in Arizon) and I (in Portland, Oregon) can both read the same book at the same time. Amazing.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Good point about books with pictures. I know there are colour e-readers out there but I guess they are only worth the investment if you read a lot of art books or children’s picture books. Also, I found I read faster using an e-reader too – I don’t really know why!

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      • The colour ereaders are often backlit, so back to the strain on your eyes thing. We have some books for my 8 year old with black and white illustrations and while not as good as a ‘real’ book they do work ok. Not as easy for sharing when reading to a child though.

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  19. I got an ereader out of necessity (living overseas with limited access to English books) and I like it’s convenience but agree with you about the downsides. Some people complain they don’t like reading on the screen, an ereader doesn’t feel like a tablet device as it is not backlit and much easier on the eyes. My eight year old daughter, who reads and reads, wants one but I am just not sure. You get a lot of information about a book when holding it that you don’t from an electronic file, the font size in a children’s book gives you a good indication of the age the book is aimed at.
    Congratulations on being freshly pressed.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, as an electronic file, eBooks do all look the same in terms of font etc. I liked the fact that e-readers are not backlit too – there are so many pros and cons that I have left out from my original list!

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  20. I think everyone overlooks my favorite feature of eReaders: word definition lookup. I’m a person that would look in a dictionary, and later on my smartphone, every single word I didn’t know because I enjoy the challenge and comprehension. I just bought my first book on the tablet which was a limited publication offered for only 3.99, I never would have had access to or seen otherwise.

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  21. sewforward

    I resisted the ebook reader, too, until my father gave me one for Christmas – did it stop me from buying traditional books? No. Did it stop me from going to our local library? No. Have I read more because of the ebook reader – Oh! Yes! Reading is my first choice for entertainment, for information and for enlightenment. As another commentor stated, ‘Reading is Reading’. So true!

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I haven’t come across anyone who has bought an e-reader and completely given up buying printed books so maybe you can have it both ways. And yes, reading is reading, whatever format it comes in!

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  22. Great article. I love both…certainly won’t stop buying hard copies but very excited to have hundreds fo books at my disposal when I travel (including all of the guide books and phrase books that I could purchase cheaper and certainly wouldn’t be lugging around with me otherwise).

    It’s also easier to sneak an extra few pages at your desk after lunch on the Kindle 🙂

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      E-readers are definitely ideal for travel. Also, I have been doing some part-time office work this summer and it’s definitely true that a Kindle is more discreet than a real book for finishing a chapter when you should be looking at a database 😉

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  23. I recently converted to an ereader because of space constraints. I literally do not have any more room for books, the new bookshelf I bought has immediately become full, and now they are piling up in towers on the floor.
    I will still buy books when they are nice objects (I like photography books), but I have drastically reduced the number of fiction paperbacks and manuals, and I must say it’s a relief. I read way too fast for keeping all those books, and yet I can’t get rid of them, so that’s a good compromise.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I am dreading the next time I have to move. Living space is a real constraint on buying printed books!

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  24. I hated Kindles initially, but I inherited my dad’s when he never used it. I live abroad and travel a lot, so it’s definitely useful and more enjoyable than I anticipated. I do like it for testing out books too.

    That being said, there’s a more special experience when you read a paper copy of a book, from the artwork to the size of the book to even the page texture. I find I remember books better that I’ve read hard copies of because they seem more unique.

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      That’s interesting what you say about reading something in a printed book being more memorable. I would tend to agree with that especially because eBooks all have the same font so they really do all look the same.

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  25. Shana

    To solve all of my angst about paperbacks vs. ereaders, I want all of the paperbacks I buy to come with a free digital copy! There is a time and place for both, but I will never give up my signed 1st Editions!

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, it would stop people having to choose if they were given both options. The same thing should be applied to DVDs as well!

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  26. Awesome! You got Freshly Pressed for this! I knew you did a nice job with this one. 🙂 Congrats!

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  27. I have to disagree with some of your points. I received an e-reader for Christmas last year, I love it. It is light, your wrists don’t get sore holding a big book.

    The battery lasts forever.

    I see the cover of the book each time I pick it up, as when it sleeps it reverts to the cover.

    The surprise ending of the book? It happens all the time with non e-books, a preview chapter for the next book is there, you think you have lots left.. and all of a sudden it is over.

    You carry a lot of books with you, when one suddenly ends on your train ride, you have another to read.

    E-readers have page numbers. You can visit the library from any hot spot, or buy new books.. at reduced prices.

    *nods* it is bad news for book shops. This will be like digital cameras.. there will be no book shops soon. Like the demise of video stores and music stores.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I like books for more sentimental reasons and I like eBooks for more practical reasons. I realise that my post only scratches the surface of the pros and cons of both books and e-readers so thank you for your points.

      Like

  28. I still prefer to buy my books at the local used bookstore or at Barnes & Noble. Rarities, I usually find on alibris.com or other internet marketplaces. I just can’t adjust to the idea of an e-reader. If I had a public transportation commute I would think about it, but since I do the majority of my reading in the quiet of my own home, it’s not a necessity for me. My last girlfriend had one, loved it, and tried selling me on the idea, allowing me to borrow it, but it didn’t work. If someone buys me one I won’t complain , but I’m satisfied paying $4 for a paperback with pencil notes on the pages and a broken-in spine.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      E-readers are great for travelling and when I get one of my own, I will be using it mostly for commuting on the train. At the moment, I am spending most of my time at home before my Master’s degree starts and so I don’t feel any particular need for one at the moment. I don’t intend to give up printed books.

      Like

  29. ‘Real’ books all the way for me! But you brought up some very interesting points in this post, and if this is true: ‘as their rise doesn’t lead to the interminable decline of printed books but I think this is unlikely anyway’, I’ll be less animosity towards ebooks 😉 I don’t actually have anything against ebooks, I just don’t like reading them myself. Apart from the fact that I feel we already look at screens more than enough, I absolutely love holding the actual book in my hand, turning the pages, slipping in a bookmark…I love the creases in books I’ve reread…Can you tell I love proper books?? 🙂

    Great post and congrats on being freshly pressed!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes I would never use eBooks exclusively – lots of people with e-readers have said the same thing. I found a Kindle quite comfortable to read because the screen isn’t backlit but it still doesn’t replace turning the pages for real.

      Like

  30. I like books in both paper and electronic formats, so I’m fairly neutral on this issue. It should be noted, however, that when you purchase a paper book, you own it, but when you purchase an e-book, it’s more like leasing. This has a huge impact on libraries, who could freely circulate paper books under Right of First Sale (stating, basically, that you can do whatever you want with a paper book), but are much more constrained when they buy ebooks. Publishers of ebooks charge libraries up to three times as much, or place very low circulation limits before the book “expires” from circulation, etc. I like ebooks, but I don’t like how they play with libraries.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Good point – it will be interesting to see if libraries will embrace the new technology. Also, people are generally under the impression that eBooks are a good thing if they are cheaper but they may think twice if libraries have been put in this situation.

      Like

  31. I like both. I love the smell of paper, the feel of it the ownership of a book actually I love everything about books and I have hundreds of them. But at the same time I like my kindle because it’s convenient, especially since I travel a lot and move between countries so can’t have all my paper books on me. I’ve had my kindle for a few months and I found it really useful. The first book I read on it was Anna Karenina and the reading experience was great because it was easier than carrying a massive book. Incidentally I bought 1Q84 in hardcover when it came out but still haven’t manage to read it (shame on me). Also I’ve read some strange classics I don’t think I would’ve read otherwise – “Incidents in the life of a slavegirl…” and “Confessions of the English Opium Eater” to mention some. Also being an english literature student this should mean I won’t spend as much money on books I probably won’t ever read again.

    Having said that, having a kindle hasn’t stopped me from buying paper books. I think both readers and books can definitely coexist.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      It seems like lots of people who have bought an e-reader have also said that they wouldn’t completely give up buying printed books which is a good thing – maybe it really is possible to have the best of both worlds 🙂

      Like

      • yeah, also you can’t buy an electronic book for someone as a present, that would just suck. So people will still buy printed books if only as presents. At least I hope so, I love getting books 😀

        Like

  32. I love my Kindle, but the smell of the books in a library get me every time!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Generally, I do love the smell of books. However, I did once come across a book in a library that I really wanted to borrow which smelt very strongly of antiseptic and I ended up not taking it out! This is why I put the smell of books as a neutral point in my post because you can’t always guarantee it will be a good smell!

      Like

  33. inkyscribbles94

    This was really interesting to read 🙂 I agree with all of the points you’ve made, and as a reader of actual books as well as ebooks, I can definitely see where you’re coming from on both sides. The way I see it is that whatever gets more people into reading can’t be a bad thing, as long as the value of a traditional book is never forgetten.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, it’s the content of the book that is the most important thing whatever the format. As other bloggers have said here, reading is reading 🙂

      Like

  34. I am also planning to buy an e-book this coming Christmas, however, I want my future children to have a good library. The feeling of entering a room full of books is splendid, like I am on a magic carpet ride.. 🙂 So… up to now, I am still buying printed books.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      There are a lot of good things about books that you can’t get with an e-reader and real libraries is one of them.

      Like

  35. First, huge congrats on the Freshly Pressed!

    I an a nook user (Barnes and Noble’s version), and it uses pages, not percentages 😉 It was actually one of the selling points, for me.

    I am a big fan of both traditional books and e-books. Books I know I will want to keep and share and mark up (which I mostly do with nonfiction), I mostly get in print. For my e-reader, it’s more fiction and things I won’t necessarily be sharing out. (The lending thing is a total “upside of traditional books”! On the nook, you can lend things, but only once per book and only for a 2-3 week period, total.)

    Of course, I do also think a house without books is a bit like a house without a soul, so you’ll never find me without print books, too 🙂

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, it is much easier to lend individual printed books. I borrowed my sister’s e-reader for about 2 weeks and she definitely felt the absence of me pinching her whole online library! Also that was quite a risk on her part in case I had lost it but luckily I can be trusted! And yes, my house would definitely look empty and also feel empty without printed books in it.

      Like

  36. ooplalund

    I love both :]. I used to be very anti about E-readers until one day when I was struggling to find a copy of a really fantastic book I wanted to read (The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen – such a good read) and gained a new appreciation. I use both now, but funnily enough the kindle does not ever intrude on the domain of the actual book. I love books, but sometimes there are situations where I wouldn’t have a book handy in the first place where the kindle has really come through for me, or times when something is really incredibly difficult to find in physical form here in the little island nation and rather than forgo access to it because of cost I can load it up in digital format. Fantastic.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I really do think it’s unlikely that eBooks will completely replace printed books. As you say, an e-reader comes in handy for certain situations but lots of bloggers here have said that even though they have an e-reader, it hasn’t stopped them from buying more printed books too.

      Like

  37. Both are beautiful, and we’re lucky to be in the right place and the right time to reap the benefits. The physical book will never disappear–for the same reason the paper office hasn’t: the human brain works visually and tactiley. According to an article in The New Yorker several years ago, air traffic controllers, with all the technology available to them, still used little bits of paper to track the trajectories of flights. Sticking little pieces of paper on a board made the information stick in their brains. I’m thrilled to read a book, and thrilled that e-books are available, for all the reasons you listed.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Another blogger also said that they found reading something in a printed book more memorable than reading something on an eBook which I think is very interesting. I think there is a lot to be said about the value of paper especially if it makes us use our brains more!

      Like

  38. There will always be some books that I want to have in my library. But the ease of using the Kindle or iPad for reading means that I will do most reading electronically. So the answer to your questions is “Yes.”

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I definitely favour e-readers for their practical purposes and books for sentimental reasons. I hope it is still possible to have it both ways!

      Like

  39. There’s something about holding actual paper and losing yourself in the printed words that make reading more magical. I still choose traditional books but buy them only if I really, really, really like them because of the living space it takes up. Now, for books I like a lot less but are worth reading, I go for the ebooks. I just wish there was some more efficient way of buying ebooks in this side of the world.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I have definitely got more picky about which books I buy too. I think eBooks are good for trying things that you are not sure about as it doesn’t matter about the space they take up.

      Like

  40. thevampirepen

    Since I am a sadistic tree hugger I would have to say that e-books is essential to save the environment( I don’t even think it’s true I am just saying because it’s paperless). I think paper books should be a novelty of the past. I don’t like hauling 10 of my fav novels with me on a camping trip/retreat when I can just take my Kobo/Kindle with me.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Apparently, creating an e-reader creates roughly the same amount of carbon emissions as printing about 50 books so overall, it is the more eco-friendly option but only if you read a lot. E-readers are great for travelling – the days of agonising which books to take with me will soon be over!

      Like

  41. I have nothing against eReaders, but for a non-fiction work that I’m looking to study and apply (rather than leisure read) I need a physical book. Because I will highlight, underline, write in the margins, write in the front and back covers, and otherwise thoroughly beat up that book in the process of studying.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I agree with that – when using reference books, I would definitely find it easier to use a printed copy for scribbling on and flipping through chapters easily. I would use eBooks for university study only if I was desperate and couldn’t get a copy for a reasonable price anywhere else.

      Like

  42. I grew up with the love of books, imparted from my parents and frankly, while I own a kindle and I LOVE the convenience that a kindle brings, nothing will overtake my (undying) love of (real) books! But as with everything, change is inevitable and when I find myself stuck with the unenviable task of deciding which books to keep and which books to discard when I was moving, I chose to keep only the classics and convert most of my physical book collection to a ebook collection instead. I’ll have you know I cried buckets when I was deciding which ones to keep! But I must admit, I really do read more with the kindle, simply because its so light and I can just about read anything I happen to fancy at that moment.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Oh no, that’s such a shame that you were forced to choose between the two! I wish it was easier to have it both ways but at least lots of bloggers here have said the same thing about not giving up printed books even if they have bought an e-reader.

      Like

  43. I just broke down and bought one. It’s nice that I can have it for a trip, but I really miss the feel of a book….

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      E-readers are definitely more practical for travelling but I hope you don’t give up on books too! Lots of bloggers here say they still buy some printed books even if they have got an e-reader now.

      Like

  44. I love my Kindle! I love it so much I devoted a blog entry to its glories. For me, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks (although I absolutely agree with you on missing page numbers, and missing the “weight” of a book.) Great post! 🙂

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thank you! Kindles and other e-readers definitely have their good points which shouldn’t be overlooked. While I don’t think people should completely abandon books, change isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

      Like

  45. Oh, oh, oh, well said. I had a bit of a squint at your book header, (by the way one of your books needs to go back to the library). I have some lovely books like that, a couple of first editions, too, Paperbacks replaced hard backs. Some of us (not me) found them more convenient and easier to toss once read, so it’s goodbye to paperbacks. We are a throwaway society. The more of us that buy Kindles (I have one) the less inclined the publishers are to print books. Forget about second hand book shops and libraries filled with print. In another generation it will be electronic. Future citizens aren’t going to miss what they have never experienced. Enjoy your Kindle, but don’t let it take over your library, will you?

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      No, I really don’t think I would stop buying printed books and lots of other bloggers here who have e-readers have said that they still buy printed books too. I like e-readers for practical reasons and books for sentimental reasons. As another blogger said, printed books are still the bread and butter of the publishing industry. I too hope that libraries and bookshops survive.

      Like

  46. Total convert to e-books. Once you reach the age of needing reading glasses, the ability to increase the size of the text is a welcome pleasure. The one and only downside for me is not being able to flip through the pages — especially when the increased text size has fewer words per page. It could take you three e-book page flips to equal one paper book. In my opinion, words take on an even greater meaning since there’s none of the fluff like a fancy cover or special type to influence the mood — purely words. Great post!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      That’s an interesting point about eBooks having fewer ‘distractions’ like different fonts. Some bloggers have said that they find reading text on an e-reader less ‘memorable’ because they all look the same but speaking as someone who is short-sighted, I also appreciate how e-readers allow you to choose how the text looks so that it is comfortable for the individual to read.

      Like

      • Everyone seems to be overlooking the obvious: printed books are and will always be static … they are artifacts of the past and although they may survive, they will not change with the future. Digital editions, however, are already being expanded, creating highly colorful, modifiable, and interactive texts that can include graphics, audio, and even movies. I have several texts in digital editions that provide variations of the text, photocopies of the original handwritten text as written by the author, complete footnotes and references linked automatically to the texts, various readers of the text including the author, etc.

        It may take some time but I suspect schoolbooks are already red-lined and students of the near future will not be limited to learning from an old fashioned text book but will learn through digital editions, many of which no longer require the direct involvement of a teacher. Also, more and more libraries are taking on digital editions and the software is such that a visit to the library to pick up a book will also become a thing of the past.

        We might still express our preference, even our love for the musty smell of old books, the shoddy printing that leaves a smudged text or glues the spine across the last two characters of every line or the occasional paper cut, but digital editions are growing and changing the way we read and learn. I love horses too but I’m not going to ride Ol’ Paint out to Chicago to visit my brother … I’ll take the Toyota.

        Like

  47. df

    If we run out the resources need to make Kindles or batteries, or their successors, we won’t be able to operate them. They simply aren’t sustainable to my mind. While we’d also lose the ability to print any new books in that kind of future, we’d have a vast collection of marvellous books still at our fingertips. I realize this sounds very doom and gloom, and don’t intend it as heavily as all that. They just don’t make sense to me. I make my living from the internet, but I don’t trust it ultimately. I like paper, I like pens, I like books. The Stephen Fry quote is totally sound and absolutely true, but ultimately I just trust in the ‘permanence’ of books (they can of course be destroyed and quite easily) and their ability to carry those smells and stains and imprints from other people.

    All that said, I thought your pros and cons were pretty comprehensive and it was a great read! I can easily see the attraction of ebooks for all of the reasons that you list.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I don’t know a great deal about the materials and components needed to make an e-reader but it’s true that the amount of carbon emissions emitted from creating one is quite significant. Hopefully someone will invent a truly sustainable e-reader soon.

      Like

  48. I still haven’t quite accepted e-books. Sure, I have short stories on my iBook to read when I’m bored during my commute, or PDFs to read for books I can’t find in the library, but there’s really nothing like a physical book – like you said, it’s easier to flip the pages. 🙂

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I didn’t realise quite how necessary it is to flip through certain books until I used an e-reader. That’s probably my number one gripe about eBooks or at least definitely in my top 3!

      Like

      • Ever think of a quotable line from a novel and spend the next two hours flipping through the pages trying to find it? With a digital edition, a simple FIND brings it right to you in seconds.

        Like

  49. Interesting article, however you can have an author autograph an e-book: http://www.autography.com/.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Wow, thanks for the link, I didn’t know that was actually possible. I wonder if it really will catch on though? You have to admit, it’s not quite the same…

      Like

      • I’ve never had an eBook signed, so I can’t say. However, I rarely read a book that’s been signed by an author because I don’t want to damage it. But if the autographed book were an eBook, this fear would be alleviated.

        Like

  50. I don’t know about the greater ease of acquiring obscure books with e-readers. I get a lot of old German theology stuff that will likely never be put in e-read format.

    Interesting stuff, though. The only disadvantage I would add is the smell of a book. Heavenly!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I guess it depends on the text. Like you say, there are a lot of things which are still not available in eBook format. On the other hand, eBooks won’t go out of print in the same way books do so once someone finds the time to put it in the format, it will be there forever.

      Like

  51. A book is not the same as an article or review you would read online. A book is long and dense. Though it seems convenient to carry around an e-book as opposed to an actual book, there are other things to keep in mind. Books were meant to be tangible tales of literature. For some people, books are everything: their passion, livelihood, escape. If you can’t reach out and turn the page or smell the fresh, clean cut scent of a new book, it loses its value.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I see what you mean about dense texts being less ideal in eBook format even if they are easier to carry around. Another blogger made the point about text on a printed page being more memorable than text on an eBook – I think this is also true and demonstrates the value of the printed page.

      Like

  52. aspiringwriter25

    Ah! don’t do it! Books! Save the books! I work in a library, and I would hate to see the day when we stop circulating real books! I don’t want everything to be digital! Digital is so cold and fleeting. It’s not the same!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I love libraries too. I am really upset by how they are being affected by local government budget cuts and I would hate to see eBooks exacerbating the problems they face. I hope it is some consolation that literally all the bloggers commenting on my post who have bought an e-reader say they would still never give up printed books as, like you say, eBooks are just not the same.

      Like

  53. You bring up good points for both sides. However, I’m going to have to hope that print books stick around for a loooong time. Otherwise, what will I read on the Sabbath? I can’t use an e-book, that’s against tradition.

    Like

  54. I love reading ebooks and paper books, but am more into ebooks now. Transportability, ease of reading (if you get the noddy’s with an ebook you don’t lose your page). I like to read a number of books at a time and it is much easier to do with an ebook than paper copies.
    These days the majority of writers do so on computers, so this is more effective going to ebook than to paper.
    Plus think of the environmental impact, yes electricity and biodegradeability, but less need for tree destruction.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, eBooks have a lot of advantages, particularly practical ones, or at least they offer things which printed books just can’t. Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      Like

  55. Rayni

    Last year, I firmly said I will never buy a Reader. Ever. Well, last Christmas I got myself one. The main reason I got one was because it was getting so hard for me to chuck a book/s inside a bag. I like the convenience of having multiple books with me at a time as I read about 3 books at the same time. Everyday, I wouldn’t know which book I’d decide to read and I always used to end up either not feeling the book I brought along. So I decided to get the Sony Reader. I can totally say I’m a convert. And by getting one, I just realised how big an impact books have on the environment, the trees and all. Going paperless is the way of the future, I reckon. But of course, I still smell my old books from time to time. 🙂 Cheers!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, e-readers are very practical and not having to choose which books to take is definitely a bonus!

      Like

  56. Miss Y

    I read ebooks as well as paper books and find I prefer the paper variety, for all of your reasons listed above, though its definitely handy to have an electronic version available when traveling.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, it’s the practical advantages of e-readers especially travelling which I like so much. I love books for more sentimental reasons.

      Like

  57. I agree with you on both sides of the argument…great points!
    I think the new kindles have an option for using page numbers instead of percentage?
    I agree that there is a satisfaction in completing a big,heavy 900 page book that you miss out on with Kindle!
    A positive effect is the ereaders are making reading “cool” again! I think more people my age are reading just because they can do it in a new and fun way that their parents couldn’t do when they were kids.
    Over all I love my kindle bc of the portability and also the “mystery” of no one knowing what you are reading…I mostly chose convince over tradition. A little sad, but its true. :/

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I definitely think my experience of reading a huge book on an e-reader would be somehow less satisfying than reading a printed copy but the practical advantages of e-readers are great too.

      Like

  58. I read 1 book at a time while travelling i like to see the scenery outside no matter how many times i have traveled the route i am very sincere to paperbacks i tried reading an e book once a drama actually it was part of my course and i couldn’t get “real” book A doll’s house the experience was awful i had to buy and read the real stuff.

    Like

  59. mary

    Reblogged this on citynightsandbrightlights and commented:
    I’ve tried the kindle, and I’ll be honest, I’ll never read an e-book as long as I don’t have to. I most definitely prefer page numbers to percentages, the turn of the page and the smell of a good book.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Those are very good reasons for reading printed books. I would never stick to an e-reader exclusively, I just think they have a lot of practical advantages.

      Like

  60. I’m totally a paperback book person and I enjoy reading words on what I’m holding on to instead of the screen though I do hope that I get a Kindle soon so that I can get and download cheaper books for school

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      An e-reader screen isn’t backlit so it is more comfortable to use than a computer or phone screen. It’s also easier to carry around than a pile of textbooks 🙂

      Like

  61. jamesroom964x

    I’ve given the Kindle a try, and while I like it for reading magazines like Foreign Affairs, and the Economists, I much prefer real books for my more intense reading. Also, there’s a certain satisfaction that comes from building one’s own little library, that can only come with physical books, and not digital ones.

    Like

  62. I agree! With nearly everything you said. I was reading a book on my Kindle and it said that I was something like 60 percent complete, and then it suddenly ended! I mean, I knew it had to be ending because of the content, but I was still surprised. The last 40 percent of the book were pictures and advertisements for sequels. This only happened with one book, though. Then I read 11/22/63 by Stephen King and had no idea how long that book was. Took me three weeks to read it! But I wonder if I would have read it if I knew how long it was when I started it? Also, I read the Fifty Shades books – which I would only have done on my Kindle. Especially in the airport and on the airplane. I don’t need the stress of everyone knowing I’m ready sex novels! hahahaha. 🙂

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yeah, that happened to me when I read a book called ‘Nothing to Envy’ – it’s a non-fiction book all about North Korea but the last 15% of it was background notes and sources (it’s still a very good book by the way). And again, I sort of knew that ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ was a longish book but I still found it hard to judge on an e-reader how long it was going to take me to read whereas I can do that more easily with a book. Also, I’ve seen so many people reading the printed copy of Fifty Shades in public places now – nobody seems embarrassed by it anymore!

      Like

  63. so much of it, i am still after the book. because i can smell it’s crisp pages and get to be very very excited when you know you are nearing the end of the story..
    i do not have a kindle yet but it is coming since a cousin from Singapore wanted me to have a kindle, but primarily, i am still in the ”by-book” thingy :))
    i love books that i can’t get to own them,, i get to give them away since i stongly believe that books have to travel :))

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, you can’t really swap eBooks in the same way. I hope you do enjoy your Kindle when you get one but books are still important too so it is good to keep a balance 🙂

      Like

  64. Reblogged this on chryzalynmaeysao and commented:
    the war between them can really be endless but i still believe that books have to travel, that we should respect the authors for their handicraft of their talents in an awesome paperback :)) mwuahhh!!

    Like

  65. ekadevimaya

    There’s an art in reading paper book…

    Like

  66. Dvorak

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    no matter how much i love electronic devices or gadgets, nothing can change my love to books. especially the smell of the papers.

    Like

  67. My books are in both formats – but I still prefer the ‘real’ paper book 🙂

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Lots of people with e-readers have said that they haven’t given up printed books – this can only be a good thing 🙂

      Like

  68. I agree and disagree with some of your points.
    I actually was not sure if I wanted a Kindle or not–at first. Then I got one for Christmas one year, and I really like it. Don’t get me wrong, I still read “real” books every now and then and still like to look around in bookstore for ideas on things that I want to read. Because for me, the cover art does sort of provide me with an idea of whether or not I think the book will be interesting–even though sometimes, it can be misleading and the book can actually suck.
    The thing I love most about Kindles are the convenience of them. You want a book? You can have one in less than 30 seconds. That, to me, is reaching the masses. True, there will be tons of crappy books, like 50 Shades of Gray, which is nothing more than erotica and pointless and degrading to women. You will probably have to search harder to find that really good book, but, then again, it is great for writers who want the power of publishing themselves.
    There are alot of good things and bad things about them. As someone who is investigating publishing an ebook, I found this post really interesting.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I think with e-readers it is good to try before you buy – it wasn’t until I borrowed one and used it that I decided I would like one. Before that, I was indifferent towards the whole idea. It’s the practical side of e-readers which appeals to me the most particularly for travelling.

      Like

  69. carmenlorene

    I have an e-reader for me it is practical because I live in a small town without a decent bookstore near me. I love my e -reader but I love paper books as well and agree with Fry. One thing I do miss about having loads of paperbacks around is the adventure to the used book store I would take at least once a month…oh how I love you McKay’s. I still have reason to go, just not as often.

    Like

  70. I love my paper books, for many, many reasons. I added another one just yesterday, when I read an article somewhere pointing out there’s no way yet to split up your e-book library among your heirs when you die.
    That is, hopefully, many years away for me, but I just came home from the UK with two borrowed books, and I’ll send my host a book of mine that we talked about – sure, she could buy it online, but what’s the fun of that? I love borrowing and lending books, and that just doesn’t work with e-books!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I hadn’t thought that far ahead myself either! I’ve heard about people bequeathing their ‘digital’ assets to relatives in their will so I reckon inheriting these things will become quite common eventually – eBooks and mp3s may only be files but they still have some value. My grandad had about 8000 books crammed into his bungalow. When he died, we kept a lot of them but there’s only so much space for these things so a lot of them had to be sold.

      Like

  71. The real downside to e-books at the moment is that those of us who buy them are overcharged to cover the costs for those of you who insist on having printed books.

    On a personal level, everything about my Kindle is a delight: my arthritic hands don’t have to struggle to hold open paperbacks with insufficient inner margins; annotation is a breeze; new editions to my library aren’t adding clutter to my house; I don’t have to lug heavy books to donation centers; every e-book I own is at my fingertips and stays by my side all day and night.

    Most of the “problems” you find are disappearing: they are page numbers now for those who must have them, and battery life is so long that only the most careless person would have a Kindle go down while reading. Frankly, I am no more interested in propping up bookshops than record shops or buggy whip factories.

    But artificially overpricing e-books has very serious ramifications beyond folks like me having to pay for others to enjoy themselves.

    E-books could make a huge difference in literacy around the globe, just as the netbook enabled so many more computer users. (Most Americans don’t even understand that they can buy netbooks now because they were developed so that students in poor countries could have affordable computers.) But, no, those of us using e-books have to pay exorbitant prices so that those who want to continue the expensive process of printing, shipping, and storing printed books can have their way, even if those prices mean far less access for society’s less privileged.

    Do any of you needing “the weight of a book” and “the fun of flipping the pages” stop to think how much cheaper e-books COULD be for schools and public libraries alone? But it cannot happen as long as e-books are priced to cover the cost of print books.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I don’t know if this is true in other countries but in the UK, eBooks have VAT added on to them (currently 20%) so they are not as cheap as they could be for that reason. As for the rest of the price, there are so many other costs involved in proofreading, marketing, editing and, of course, the actual writing which apply to both eBooks and printed books.

      Like

      • The VAT is an excellent example of a surcharge without merit. You can bet the publishing industry has seen to the size of that markup.

        Producing an e-book costs a fraction of what books printed on paper cost. Felling trees costs money, making ink costs money, printing costs money, packing for shipment costs money, transporting for shipment costs money, storing and displaying books as stock in a store costs money, shipping out or storing unsold stock costs money. And lok at the carbon footprint for all that!

        I have friends in academic life as well as a friend outside academia who have all published and sold their books as e-books only, priced them under $8.00, and made money on them. Once you strip out the production costs for printed books, publishing is cheap. The pricing and taxing is artificial and driven up by greed, selfishness, and shortsightedness.

        Here’s another point to ponder: e-publishing is so cheap that it gave birth to Kindle Singles, relatively short books by authors who cannot get their publishers to handle them. Yes, we are talking about known authors, such as novelists who wish to write nonfiction pieces their publishers don’t think will be big sellers. Yet there is no problem in publishing them at low cost and selling them at a low price and still making a profit.

        Like

  72. Terii

    I’ve been leaning more and more toward my Kindle, though I do still have a love of the hard-copy book. We keep our hardbacks proudly displayed in our living room (and yes, I read them often), but lost nearly all our paperbacks when the basement in our apartment building flooded. Just no space in our tiny apartment for more than a couple shelves of books. Another thing I love about the Kindle is I can take it camping with me. Given how fast I can tear through written text, it’s nice to have 5 or more new books in a handy little package to while away the evenings in a tent.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Sorry to hear about the loss of your paperbacks. I love the practical advantages of e-readers too – definitely looking forward to not having to choose between books when I go travelling.

      Like

  73. Ali

    I have a Kindle and I’ve always been a big reader. I love “real” books and scouring “real” bookstores, but for shear convenience, the Kindle is great. It is perfect for travelling, which I was doing at the time I purchased it. No more lugging around the Lonely Planet guide, plus my favourite novel (or buying novels only to have to leave them behind in a hotel)…they’re all in the one, lighter, location. When I first purchased the Kindle, I went a bit nuts and downloaded a heap of books that I haven’t yet looked at…but I also have a heap of “real” books I’ve purchased over the years that I haven’t yet looked at. I can’t decide what my preference is, but I will be sad if “real” books stop getting printed.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I buy books and then ignore them for ages as well. I can see myself doing the same thing with a Kindle especially as there are so many free books and also because downloading them requires such little effort.

      Like

  74. I love having a Kindle around, but I love real books even more–when I’m at home. When traveling the Kindle is much more convenient.

    Also, on piracy. I read awhile back that an author let his book be downloaded illegally, but saw a spike in sales overall because more readers were exposed to the author’s work than would have otherwise.

    So while individual copies of books were pirated, those same people were spending money buying other works by the author.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      That’s an interesting point about piracy being used as a form of publicity. I’m sure the same thing happens in the music industry too.

      Like

      • Yes it happens in the music industry as well. The reason why publishers (book and music) don’t like it is because they miss out on all those sales where people blindly buy the book.

        If they randomly buy a book or a movie and its not good, then there is no residual value for the author of the content because the customer won’t search out other works by them.

        Like

  75. paulvinten

    I’m a kindle owner and I’m new to recreational reading. I never realized how much enjoyment could be had from reading and the kindle facilitated this discovery. My girlfriend has a huge selection of paperbooks and a kindle and splits her reading approximately half and half across the two formats.

    Will it kill paperbacks? No way, there are so many people that love the feel of a book too much for that to happen. The prices are getting closer, you can buy books at charity stores (of course in the eyes of the author you may as well pirate it, they won’t see any money from either). There’ll always be a market for both paperback and ebook, I’d be much more concerned about hardback fiction….

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I know there are some who think that an e-reader is ‘just a gadget’ but if it helps people get into reading that can only be a good thing. Given the response, I am more convinced than ever that the paperback isn’t going to die out any time soon as there are so many people ready to defend it. Like you say, hardback books are a different story… I never buy them unless they are at a discount price and I’m sure lots of other people do the same.

      Like

  76. journalplace

    Read on an ebook, a nook.

    Like

  77. rachel

    I was against getting an e-reader. I love books and libraries and thought that my reading experience would be less than if I bought an e-reader.

    In some ways it is. I no longer go to the library or book store and get the experience of checking out or buying a book. I miss that. I love libraries and book stores. There’s a shared, quiet experience that I feel when I’m there.

    In some ways, though, and e-reader is better. I get book recommendations that I never would have never heard of otherwise. I don’t have to wait for a book to be returned to the library or even wait for the money to buy a book with the large selection of free books. With such easy access to books, I’ve started reading more.

    I actually have two e-readers now. I bought the 3rd generation Kindle, and then the Kindle Fire. I love being able to download books, music, and movies!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I guess it’s about finding a balance between printed books and eBooks. I visit libraries regularly as they still have plenty of choice too but e-readers are generally more convenient.

      Like

  78. mysweatyshirt

    Kindle! Want it badly. E-books are okay, but books are better. Great post. 🙂

    Like

  79. The Book Lover's Sanctuary

    Great post!

    I adore my ebook and it has become as essential in the ‘tap-my-pockets-before-leaving-the-house” routine as my keys and phone! I love having 1000 books in my pockets and – as an English teacher – to have the whole of Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Chaucer, The Bible to hand and searchable is great.

    That said, I wholeheartedly agree that the pleasure of the THINGINESS of a book is a sad loss: the weight, texture, paper… And some books are about more than words: House of Leaves by Danielewski or A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness or even Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne need illustrations and font and presentational devices that don’t translate well.

    And I wouldn’t want to STUDY on one: the ability of a book to ‘remember’ important sections by varying degrees of spine stress, breakage and abuse, the ability to flick through, even to remember broadly which side of the page a quote was on…

    I will often buy a book in one format and, of I like it, get a copy in the other format as well. And, yes, The Night Circus I also have two copies of because it looks so pretty!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Haha I too love the ‘thinginess’ of a book. That’s a great word. There is something about reading off a page rather than a screen which makes the text more memorable sometimes so yes, printed books are still better for study purposes.

      Like

  80. I find myself torn on the subject. On the one hand, I prefer proper books. I like the weight of a real book in my hands. I stare at a computer screen all day at work so I don’t always want to look at an e-Reader. With textbooks, real books are a little easier to make notes in. And e-Readers are valuable commodities that are at risk of being stolen. I don’t think anyone’s going to mug me for my books.

    On the other hand, e-books are easier. I finally broke down & bought a Nook this year, & I love it. It’s so easy to find & buy books. Part of this is the e-Reader’s fault in the first place, because now there are no bookstores close to where I live. It’s cheaper, & it saves me space, which is important because I don’t have a proper bookshelf at home. Strangely, I’ve found that if it’s just for fun, I’ll use an e-book, but if it’s for professional reasons (I’m studying psychology so I’m reading through important psychology books) I prefer the paper version.

    In the end, while I love my e-Reader, I hope it doesn’t kill the bookstore. I love going into a store, finding a random shelf & seeing what’s there. It’s an adventure.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Even though I suggested in my post that eBooks might be useful for students when printed copies are hard to get hold of, I prefer to study from real books as there is something about reading from a screen which is less memorable which is obviously not good if I’m trying to learn stuff. And yes, nothing beats browsing shelves.

      Like

  81. I love ebooks! I grew up with books, having bookshelves filled with books but I hated carrying them on transit because I enjoy having a medium sized/small bags. I used my iPhone to read a book and that lead me to getting a Kobo Vox and since then, I haven’t borrowed or bought an actual book in a while. Sometimes, I do head back to the library and browse the shelves for something but other than that, I still prefer ebooks over actual books now.

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  82. Pingback: Freshly Pressed! | A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

  83. Zen

    You make some really great points. While ebooks are cheaper and great for self-published writers (like yours truly), nothing can beat the feeling of holding a book in your hands and turning over the pages. I love looking at the cover art (both front and back, because the back can be very nice too), and the smell of books is pretty nice (most of the time!).

    Like

  84. Thanks for an interesting post with a lot of pertinent points.
    I’m 50-50 on it at the moment.
    Each side has good and bad points. Probably even more than the ones you’ve listed here.

    From a cartoonists perspective, the print media is almost dead and the net is the new frontier for earning a living.

    Over the last few days, I’ve been researching eBooks, with the view of publishing a series of my cartoons in a couple of eBooks.

    I’ve just started a survey on this on my blog. So please have a look at my cartoons and make a comment on the (1 question) survey.
    http://www.cartoonmick.wordpress.com

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I hadn’t thought much about what eBooks will mean for illustrators and cartoonists like yourself – good luck with your eBook!

      Like

  85. liamodell1

    I’m for the book, technology to me destroys the traditional publishing industry. I’ve read Private Peaceful, very good book isn’t it?

    Like

  86. I admit the advantages of the eBook and somehow I feel it is predestined to eventually win the debate; but I will always prefer the paper version – maybe because it’s romantic, maybe because it feels real. Also, I like my books – when I buy one I keep it and if I happen to love it I cherish it. I have a bookshelf of favorites, which I have collected through the years and I like feeling surrounded by them, like the emotions they provoked in me are still lingering in the air. Many of them I bought while in university when I was always short on cash, so they are very precious to me. Books are a connection to the past, to the romantic perception of knowledge and I am very afraid of braking this connection for the sake of convenience…

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Some bloggers have said that they find reading text more ‘memorable’ than reading text on a screen. I guess readers also have more of an emotional connection with a book than an eBook.

      Like

  87. shimmyshake1984

    Hi!

    This topic seems to be very popular among book lovers today. My first blog post was about the topic. I didn’t like the idea of a Kindle, or ebooks at first, but they have their advantages. Although you can’t beat the great feeling of having an actual book – there is just something so comforting about it.
    Please feel free to check out my post on the subject: http://shimmyshakeloves.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/shimmy-shake-loves-her-kindle/

    Thanks for the post, great read : )

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      It seems like nearly everyone with an e-reader approached the idea of eBooks with a lot of scepticism at first but then soon realised how many advantages there are. Of course, printed books are still irreplaceable. Thanks for the link!

      Like

  88. Firstly, well done on getting Freshly Pressed! Secondly, what a brilliant blog post! I love how you provided the pro’s and con’s so well. I’m not a huge e-book fan, but having said that, I also recognise the need for such innovations in the world of literature. Paperbacks were despised when they first made their appearance way back when. So who knows. Great Post!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thanks! I think all new things are approached with some scepticism so hopefully people will at least accept eBooks even if they don’t come to love them. Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

      Like

  89. I have a Kindle and I adore it. I do a great deal of reading on my commute and it has been wonderful not to have to lug around a big book every day. I still collect paper books, but find I am reading much more since I got my Kindle. Hope you get yours and love it as much as I love mine!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, it is the practical advantages of e-readers which appeal to me. I don’t think I will stop buying printed books either.

      Like

  90. I am pro-ebooks for the plain and simple reason of it works for me. I live in a small apartment with minimal storage room for books and previously to this apartment, I lived on a different continent, so it wasn’t an economically viable option to buy books there and ship them home.

    Books are great, they smell good, a large collection of them makes you look intelligent and in buying them, you’re supporting a network of publishing houses, book shop chains and independent book shops… but at the end of the day, most people don’t actually buy from independent book shops, they buy from the large companies so there really isn’t much of a change there at all, except the product they are buying.

    Also buy a Sony, they have page numbers!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I think storage space will become an issue for me too eventually. Apparently the Kindle now has page numbers but I will look into other e-readers too.

      Like

  91. DomeniiNebunie

    I can see the logic of e-readers and as a result I am confused by my attachment to paperbacks (and good old hardbacks). I feel like I’m just being overly sentimental. I’m also a bit of a show-off. I want people to look at my shelves and see what I’ve read; it’s can be a good conversation starter if you’ve read the same thing. No-one can casually pick up a person’s Kindle and flick through their library!
    Anyway, the battle rages within, but my purse decides my side; e-readers are expensive compared to secondhand books so I know where I’m staying.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, even though eBooks are generally cheaper, sometimes a book can be found cheaply second-hand. I’m a student so I already buy a lot of second-hand books and definitely won’t be giving that up if I get an e-reader.

      Like

      • DomeniiNebunie

        I’ve just graduated. Second-hand books were a life saver for the past three years. It’s awful how expensive academic texts can be! 😦

        Like

  92. I haven’t read all the comments, so may be repeating what has already been said. I have a kindle, and agree with you about most of the pros and cons. I do find that, after 18 months, I’m using it less. One of the pleasures of a book is that you can lend or pass it on to your friends and share the experience. Ebooks have essentially privatised this social aspect of reading. Also, I love second-hand bookshops!

    Like

    • This is not true. Many e-books can be passed on now; and the technology is in place, so all of them could be.

      What is holding up the process is publishers who will not allow it, which is part of their scam to make e-books cover the cost of printing books. Individual publishers determine how much to overcharge for e-books, which cost very little to produce, and whether or not to permit them to be loaned by their purchasers.

      When Amazon began this wonderful adventure that could make every book in the world affordable around the world, they wanted the top price for any e-book, including a new book by an author with a history of bestsellers, to be $9.99. If that had held, we would by now be reserving the printing process for specialties such as art books and other types that can’t be read on e-readers.

      And everyone would be paying less:

      –students would be paying much less for textbooks, which have become a huge part of the cost of college education;

      –school boards would be paying less for textbooks and getting more recent editions;

      –public libraries would have huge collections with no maintenance costs;

      –and the reading public would have plentiful, affordable products from which to choose.

      The situation now is based on the publishers overpricing e-books, and this hurts society. Period.

      There is some parallel here to what happened when CDs hit the music market. We paid far too much in the beginning, considering the cost of manufacturing and marketing CDs, but the record industry told us the price would “come down soon.” It never did, because the record industry was greedy and there was NO PUBLIC OUTCRY. Eventually, the public decided not to take it anymore when technology made pirating music simple.

      Are publishing houses going to remain so obstinate and so obscenely greedy? Of course they will, UNTIL THE PUBLIC WISES UP.

      Like

  93. Great blog. Your point about thinking you have a few more pages left only to find the remaining 8% is acknowledgements and marketing for vaguely related products is soooo true. Ideally ‘The End’ should come at 100% and the rest of the crap should be un-categorised.

    This might change, but if I REALLY want a book, I’ll buy a physical copy, if it’s cheap and i’m just slightly tempted, I’ll get it on the Kindle.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I did find that aspect very annoying – admittedly I could have checked the contents page a bit more thoroughly but nobody ever does it, do they? And yes, eBooks are good for trying out something new that you wouldn’t necessarily risk buying in print.

      Like

  94. I still love the tactile feel of a book, I like to rub its cover with my hands (if I like it) and I have a dedicated shelf for my all-time top reads like a trophy display…can’t do that with an e-reader. However for travel the e-reader is perfect.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I have a similar shelf with all my favourites on it. I would never replace my existing books with eBooks. The main appeal of e-readers for me is for travelling and commuting.

      Like

  95. I love my Kindle because I can take it on long trips and such and its so much better than jostling around several books to read on the plane while trying to get through the airport screening process. The best is me snuggled up on a rainy day with a cup of tea in my library reading my kindle. There’s nothing like the smell, the look and the feel of real books; even if they’re piled around me or sharing shelves with mounds of dust.

    Like

  96. you can more readily suggest changes to developers of ebook apps than you can to publishers. In view of accuracy, errors, typos, font and layout there should be more flexibility with digital formats, too. The question is, what is more damaging: pollution from making these devices or paper production?

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    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, this is true about mistakes being fixed more easily and quickly on eBooks. I have read that making an e-reader creates the same amount of carbon emissions as printing about 50 books so if you read a lot, then the e-reader will become the more eco-friendly option. I guess books can be recycled more easily than e-readers though.

      Like

      • thanks for commenting.
        yes, true about recycling. Though I can’t tell you really how much is being actually recycled (and for a price) and how much is being burned into the atmosphere.
        Then again, how much junk is being printed (before it is recycled, or whatever)?

        Like

  97. yomicfit

    I agree.
    Good for travel.
    More room in your carry on.
    Less weight.
    But…
    To miss out on the smell of the printed page and vintage books
    Or
    Walking through a disorganized
    Book lovers book store
    Or just the pleasant conversation brought about by a stranger who just must say something about the book you are reading…

    Like

  98. This is a debate near to my heart, having graduated from library school. People have said for years that the library is on the way out, not needed now that everyone has a computer and googles for information. I disagree, but that’s another argument.

    I broke down and got a kindle a year ago and I love it. Me…the used to be librarian love it. I have to say there are things I don’t like, mostly, like you, the lack of pages numbers and the difficulty browsing through it, or going back to find something. I hear they will come out with one that HAS page #’s though. I’m always going to Amazon to find out the # of pages in the book, then applying the % on my kindle to figure out how far I am. Frustrating.

    And the ebook is not something to be used with books that have illustration. Just takes the illustration and makes it flat and almost useless. My first ebook was one on small house architecture. What a bad decision that was! Though it might be better on the color nooks.

    Anyway, wanted to say I enjoyed your post and agree with almost all of it! Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, other bloggers have said that there is now a way to get page numbers on the Kindle which is good. It’s also true that books with photographs or illustrations are not ideal for most e-readers. I expect colour e-readers will become more popular for that reason and will come down in price eventually

      Like

  99. I just finished my first experience with an e-reader. I bought a Google Nexus 7 Tablet because it was multi-functional, and not just a reader, because I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole e-reader thing, and didn’t want to be stuck with a big, square coaster if I hated it. For my first e-read, I purposely chose a book in a series by an author I like, because I wanted to make sure the story itself wouldn’t be factor in liking it or disliking it. My overall first experience pointed me straight back to paper and ink, mostly because on an e-reader, I was easily distracted and not nearly as engrossed in the “book.” There were too many other things available and it didn’t seem to hold my attention – it took me three days to get through the story, and I was on vacation – no excuses! After I finished that one, I picked up an actual paper-and-ink book, and devoured it in a day. It was NOT a better story, but I didn’t feel like the book was doing anything else while I was reading it. It was just telling me a story – pages ruffling in the beach breeze, as if to say, “Bet your e-reader can’t do this!” While the tablet/reader may have advantages in terms of how many books I can have in my hands at one time, I have decided that one is all I really need. And I prefer it to be actual, not virtual.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I think it’s good that you gave the e-reader a fair test by choosing something you knew you would enjoy so that a bad story wouldn’t cloud your judgement about whether or not you would like the e-reader. It was also sensible to buy something multi-functional. With e-readers, I would always ‘try before you buy’ – if I hadn’t already borrowed one, I would probably have remained indifferent to the whole idea. As it is, I liked it and now plan to get one.

      Like

  100. kibbled

    Nice blog. Most of the people who come out in favour of ereaders seem to use them while travelling. Perhaps that is why I am still a fan of the printed version. I don’t commute on public transport and I rarely read when travelling anywhere.
    I love browsing book shops and spending time finding new books and authors to enjoy. Unlike some I have no problem clearing out books from the house and giving them to charity shops so that they can be enjoyed by others.
    My mother, now in her eighties, has recently acquired a Kindle and she seems to be getting on just fine with it.
    Ereaders are another outlet for published works and suit many, but not yet for me.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, it’s true that I might not have considered getting one if I didn’t commute It is the practical advantages of e-readers which appeal to me the most.

      Like

  101. Im not sure the ereaders give me the same satisfaction as the book seems transitory and there seems to be a lack of permanence on that medium. I know that sounds a weak arguement but the feeling of opening a book gives pleasure aswell as the contents. Oh and the lack of book cover design is a really goo point too!

    Like

  102. I’m seriously allergic to old books (the faeces of the mites that live off the spine glue to be exact) and I can’t even go in a library now. My old books are useless because I can’t even open them up or be in the same room as them. So future books on an eReader is just the ticket.

    However – the problems from illegal file sharing will overwhelm the writers soon.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Oh no, that’s awful about your allergies! Although the problem of piracy is well known in the music and film industry, I wonder how much it costs publishers and writers now…

      Like

  103. I think I might be a little too practical for my own good. As a “digital native,” I see the eBook as a natural innovation in the world of reading, and a great way to devour more literature, poetry, and/or non-fiction (whatever suits your fancy). I think my biggest concern is (and always has been) piracy, since writers weren’t exactly getting rich off their books proper. I don’t expect that the print run will die anytime soon, though, so the good news is that there is still the possibility for people to buy the eBook to decide if they want the book, and then buy the book as an object later on if they so desire. There may even start to be an industry for “De-eBooking” eBooks in the future, if publishers ever do stop with print runs: If you want a book proper, have it printed by a professional book-binder and you have your product that you can keep forever. So, really, love eBooks or hate them, I don’t think we will ever lose the book as an object.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, although piracy in the film and music industry is a well known problem, I wonder how much it costs publishers and writers now? Some bloggers have said that sometimes they do buy both the eBook and printed book copy so hopefully the industry will stay afloat. I hadn’t really considered the ‘de-eBooking’ problem. I had always assumed that eBooks wouldn’t go out of print and that they would be available forever.

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  104. Ebooks are a natural progression of technology but unlike the mp3 or DVD it will not replace the technology that it was designed to outperform. I think most people will own a e reader in the future but most like myself will always want to have something physical to hold. My only real concern over the demise of the paper book is some future legislation banning the printing of paper books because of environment issues, I really think that some liberal from the UN will try to propose this to conform with Agenda 21

    For the people out there concerned about tyrannical authorities the e reader does hold security issues as once we no longer have free access to written books it would be so much easier to manipulate facts.
    Whether it takes ten years or a hundred years we will in my opinion see a massive reduction in the sale of paper books. I see this as a great shame. I love books and I love the inviolability of the pages already written and this will be the biggest casualty of progression.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I think printed books will survive. Obviously the industry will have to adapt but there are many more practical reasons for why printed books should still be made than there are for why CDs should still be made so I don’t think they will die out yet hopefully.

      Like

  105. JT

    I like both as well. I recently bought a Nexus 7 after researching e-readers, kindle et,al I found the nexus to be a much better value with a lot of versatility! That being said I will never give up “real books” for a lot of the reasons you mentioned as well as a few others, such as dog-earring a page writing notes or observations, highlighting etc.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I am planning to look into other e-readers as well as the Kindle. It would make sense to go for something that is multi-functional. Lots of bloggers have said that even though they have bought an e-reader, they still buy printed books so I think they will survive.

      Like

  106. jamielynne82

    I love both! I love my kindle because it makes traveling easy and I can read a lot of books for free. But if I really love the book, then I’ll buy it. So for me its win win!

    And congrats on being freshly pressed!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, it’s the practical advantages of e-readers that really appeal to me. I will still buy printed books and lots of other bloggers have said the same.

      Like

  107. Enjoyed reading your post.

    I too prefer actual page numbers and I prefer being able to flick back and forth through pages in case I’ve forgotten something.For me that’s a big Kindle drawback.

    With Kindle I have an entire library at my fingertips. I used to take an actual book with me everywhere but would sometimes find myself with some time to read but wishing I had brought a different book! No problem with Kindle.

    Bought 1Q84 (paperback) recently and agree you just don’t get that same physical ‘book feel’ with Kindle. If I like a book I will chop and change between whether to get it on Kindle or the actual book. If Kindle is substantially cheaper then that wins but sometimes the sheer artistic draw of a paper book will win even if more expensive.

    On a side note, I’m on my second Kindle Keyboard as the first developed screen problems but the replacement which Amazon provided completely freezes when I try to use the underline facility. Not a problem with a paperback!

    One gripe I do have is that digital books, to my mind, should be a fraction of the price of paper books but frequently are only marginally less than, or sometimes inexplicably more than, the physical book.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, paperbacks are free from the technological downsides that Kindles have. As for the relatively high price of eBooks considering there is no printing or shipping involved, I guess there are lots of other costs that need covering like editing, proofreading, marketing and of course, writing. People in publishing still need to make a living but at least there are still plenty of free eBooks.

      Like

  108. My sentiments exactly! 🙂 I’ll say this thought, one other advantage of paperbacks is that you’re only out a few pound/euro/dollars if you forget your book on the train/plane or drops out of your bag. You not too bothered by it (at least I’m not) because someone else will find it and may enjoy (or hate) the read just as much as you did. It’s rather sad knowing that there’ll be a day when a generation wouldn’t know the joys and trials of a paper book. I suppose as long as the Beetles song “Paperback Writer” is still being played there’ll at least be a curiosity of this ancient form of entertainment and enlightenment!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Ha, yes imagine a child in the future asking what the song means! It is a risk taking an e-reader out and about as it is an expensive gadget whereas one book is easily replaced.

      Like

  109. I don’t like e-books because, to me, it’s not a book. When I want to read a book, I go buy it for real; when I hold it in my hands, it feels really good. I remember being in a book-store with my cousin and he made fun of me saying I could download it on the internet and read it on the computer, easy. This is too bad. In my opinion, even though they have little advantage, e-books should NEVER win over the physical books (which most people are forgetting its value)…

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, this is exactly why I deliberately bought the printed copy of ‘1Q84’ even though it would have been so much more convenient to have it as an eBook.

      Like

  110. I agree with all your points. I have a Kindle, but my room is full of books. I bought the last book in a series of four as an e-book, despite the fact that the other three were in paperback, because it saved me money and space. I bought a book that was one of my favourites as a kid as an e-book because it’s now out of print, but the author had e-published it (slightly updated, too, which was interesting). I constantly pick up books cheaply in charity shops and book stalls, but I also download mythology books and classics on the Kindle because it’s cheaper 😀

    I do agree about the percentages, though. They lie to me. The prose edda (norse mythology) was only 66% edda. The rest was notes.

    However, one advantage of paperbacks is that people sell them online for a penny plus postage. Kindle editions are all the same price. If you’re looking for a copy of an old favourite and don’t want to pay the full price, it’s nearly always cheaper to go for a secondhand paperback than to go for a Kindle edition.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, it depends on the book I suppose. It is often cheaper and easier to find certain things as eBooks especially if they are out of print but then there are still lots of other ways to get good second-hand books too.

      Like

  111. Some books are already not being printed and can only be bought as an e-book which leaves real book devotees like me sad. I will never own an eReader unless they simply stop printing books.

    I believe another con is being just another electronic that helps ruin eye sight.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I think wherever possible both formats should be made available so that people have the choice. E-readers are not backlit like a computer or phone screen so they are very comfortable to use – I don’t have great eyesight so this is a real bonus for me and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that they have a special screen.

      Like

  112. I totally agree with the points in the post. If I have to choose, it is the ‘real’ book. For me, the feel and the joy of reading is in holding the book, flip through pages back and forth, and experience it…. Can’t get the same feel with e-books. At the same time, e-books have their positives. Of all, the two main things about e-books are – 1. convenience and 2. we tend to read many books which otherwise we would not have.
    May be it depends on the book itself. Some, I would only read holding the book in my hand and some I would not mind reading on the screen….
    Very nice post and congrats for being on FP…. 🙂

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Lots of bloggers have said that even though they now have an e-reader they still buy printed books. I guess it depends on each individual book. Sometimes, people may want the printed copy, others want the eBook so wherever possible there should always be a choice made available.

      Like

  113. It surprises me that no one has mentioned the problem of access. Yes ebooks may have great advantages for people, but think about what types of people. People who can afford it, who have electricity to charge it, people who have the luxury and free time to read. The problem with ebooks as well as technology in general is that it is not accessible to those who can not afford it or have the resources to maintain it. Don’t get me wrong I love my iPad, but I understand the privilege that comes with it and I understand that a lot of people don’t.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      That’s an interesting point. I think technologically-savvy people often forget that there are still quite a lot of people who just don’t have the option of getting one especially from lack of money as e-readers are expensive items. This is why libraries are still important as they really are for the whole community. E-readers are a luxury and we shouldn’t forget that.

      Like

  114. I collect the books I read, even though I have no-more room for them I still couldn’t throw them away! Each book has memories, like the music I would listen to in the background when I was reading… Or where I read the book…

    The last book I read was ‘The Hunger Games’ – I read the whole thing when I was travelling around Ayia Napa! I actually lost the book when I was out there and bought a new one as soon as I got home, although it had already been thoroughly read I just wanted a copy of it to display in my bedroom along-side all the other books I have read!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes there is something about reading text on a printed page that makes it more memorable than reading text on an e-reader screen. I don’t think many people develop a special connection with an eBook!

      Like

  115. Hello,
    There is something unsociable about ebooks. It is not easy, when you are in a train, to see what book someone with a handheld device is reading. Similarly, the reader cannot advertise to the outside world their reading matter: I’ve sometimes had my curiosity awoken by the sight of a hipper-than-me person reading a book I’ve heard of but don’t know much about.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I commute by train regularly and I always have a good look at what everyone else is reading! Even though e-readers are still meant to be more ‘private’, I still find it’s possible to work out what people are reading (I am quite nosy). It’s almost like people are trying to hide something from you by using one!

      Like

  116. I wrestled with this debate for a good long while before getting a nook color for Christmas almost two years ago. As an avid reader and book “collector,” I love the fact that I have huge, multiple shelves with books double-lined on them.
    What I’ve learned is that there is a place for both in my life. I greatly enjoy having the classics for free, but I also have a lot of them in paper format on my shelf. Books that I expect to read and reread, that I feel make a good collection, go on my physical shelf. “Fluff” books and long series are easier on the nook. I still buy beautiful books. I still buy used books from delightful little hole-in-the-wall stores.
    At the same time, my friends and I have utilized the “lend” feature for nook with great success for books we just want to share with each other. Having a nook for the bus has been incredible and so convenient.
    I don’t think the eReader will ever replace the physical book for me, but I certainly relish in its advantages, as well.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Lots of bloggers have said the same thing – I don’t think anyone commenting on this post has said that they have given up buying printed books even if they now have an e-reader. It’s all about selecting the format according to the advantages they offer.

      Like

  117. I’m a bit in the middle. I love having the collection of books on my bookshelf, love browsing in the thrift store for way cheaper books than I could ever get on my Kindle app, and definitely enjoy the “feel” of a book. However, my Kindle app on my iPad/iPhone means I have my book everywhere I go, and I can pick up from the spot I left off without even having to lug my iPad around. I think Kindle recently added page numbers to the app, so I’m pretty stoked about that. I can carry a bunch of books with me at once without having a stack of them. Plus, when I’m laying down reading before bed at night (which is when I do most of it), I don’t have to hold the book open and it’s easier to find a comfortable position for me. I also read on my lunch break at work, and the iPad has a stand that can keep it upright while I eat. Either way, both have their advantages, and I wouldn’t want to choose one over the other. Congrats on Freshly Pressed! You did a good job of outlining the pros and cons of each.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      E-readers are definitely convenient in certain situations. Lots of bloggers have said they won’t give up printed books either – looks like it is possible to enjoy both formats without having to choose.

      Like

  118. Great post!

    I’m learning to love my Kindle more and more but can anything really take the place of a really great book?

    On the flipside, self-publishing has helped me get my first book to market and made that published book dream a reality for lots of us so I think the good outweighs the bad there (although there is a lot of nonsense out there as well!)

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I think the response to this post shows that lots of people enjoy both eBooks and books and there is no need for eBooks to completely replace printed books as both have their advantages. Good luck with self-publishing. I think it’s great that it gives people the opportunity to get their work out there even if, as you say, there is a lot of nonsense out there too!

      Like

  119. I swing both ways, lol. I enjoy using kindle because you can have a book right away. But I don’t think I’ll ever give up my paperbacks.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Given the response from other bloggers, it looks like lots of people enjoy both eBooks and printed books as they both have their different advantages. I think there is a place in the world for both.

      Like

  120. Ever since getting one, I’ve found myself reading less and less. You know what, just as an experiment, I’m going to buy a book and see it it’s just the e-reader that’s bugging me. I used to enjoy literature.

    Like

  121. E-books are evil!

    I didn’t even read your post–I skipped down to “Leave a Reply” and started typing.

    I’m joshing. I like your post.

    Really though, e-books are evil.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thanks! Lots of bloggers here seem to think that eBooks shouldn’t replace printed books but are not wholly evil. Maybe there is a place for both formats in the world.

      Like

  122. I think there is room for both, especially when space is an issue. I don’t have an eReader yet but purchased one for one of my kids who is an avid reader and almost a hoarder. We’ve downsized and just can’t keep everything. This way, when she reads a book in a day, I don’t have to keep it for a lifetime, buy book shelves, dust, rearrange them. She keeps a few classics, though. Notably, her little sister did not enjoy her Kindle, it got broken and she doesn’t want to replace it. She says she wants “real” books. I don’t have a problem giving away most books I’ve read and right now I’m not traveling much, so I don’t really see the need for me, though it would be nice to make some impulse buys on one and read the embarrassing stuff. Nothing worse than a malfunctioning Kindle, though — I find myself saying, “Wouldn’t have this problem with a real book!” Anyway, there is room for both. Just like how online shopping is convenient and efficient, it won’t entirely replace going to a store with or without a friend, making a purchase and carrying home an item that could have easily been bought online.

    Not having page numbers would drive me crazy, though.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I don’t think eBooks will replace printed books. Like you say, an e-reader is a gadget which doesn’t last forever.

      Like

  123. i confess i’m still on the fence. But I also haven’t taken the plunge to buy one.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I would advise to try before you buy – e-readers are not for everyone but most people come round to the idea of eBooks when they actually use one. There are also lots of different ones to choose from now.

      Like

  124. I would like to congratulate you for being on Freshly Pressed, do you know that your blog is very essential and is really insightful? Yeah, it is..awesome! After reading your ideas on advantages and disadvantages of E-books, it also become an issue to me. I love real books, and love reading those. However, me, myself, also love E-books, especially when I am traveling and can’t carry real books considering the weight, and also, E-book is more useful during emergency cases. But of course, I still love real books!

    Like

  125. with over 5000 books, most of them older ones. I love anything published in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s especially so I will always have books around me. They are my security blanket. That being said I do have a kindle and many of the classics I have in hardback I now have on the kindle. I don’t have to worry about my old books being damaged by carrying them everywhere and the lighter weight kindle makes my chiropractor very happy. No more out of joint shoulder lugging heavy books everywhere. I don’t think kindles will ever replace actual books, at least I hope not. Nothing better than learning how to read in a real book. I do feel kind of sorry for the young kids who may never hold an old musty book and treasure it because it was their Grandfather’s favorite book and he wanted to share it with you. I have several books that my Grandfather gave me before he passed away. I treasure them.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      My grandfather also had a huge book collection including some very rare ones that wouldn’t be available now. I guess passing on an eBook collection to your children and grandchildren isn’t quite the same as passing on your real books…

      Like

  126. As an English major in college, I cringe at the thought of not actually holding a book…

    But I do prefer e-magazines and newspapers by far… these “short term” reads that are not meant to be kept fit better in this format.

    But I still love the smell and feel of a new book!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thanks! Yes, this is true – there is something about reading text on a screen which makes it more suitable for shorter works or articles. It’s definitely more satisfying to read a long book rather than a long eBook even if it is less practical.

      Like

  127. hmm…i clicked on the “like” button, but only grudgingly…why? becuase i dont like e-books, basically! i agree with your title…e-book phenomenon is evil in some ways…evil cos it is demeaning the value of books per se….evil cos it will mean the generations to come will be semi-literate, as the human brain just does not work in the fashion that e-book technology works…for some odd reason, it has been said the human brain is more efficient at assimilating and understanding information contained in a physical book…not a Spindle, Kindle..or whatever they call it! nobody in my family, nor any of my relatives even…have a Spindle..nor are any of them interested in getting one…ever! that said…your blog is great! anything that pushes real books is a plus…keep it up!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes some bloggers have said that they find reading text on a printed page more ‘memorable’ than reading text on a screen. I think there is a place in the world for eBooks as they have their practical advantages but there is no need to give up printed books.

      Like

  128. Great, simple breakdown of the pros and cons. I’ve always been a book lover – real book lover, that is. Then a book I wanted to read was free for download on Kindle so I bit the bullet. It’s not the same, but it’s pretty convenient!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes I think most people see there are at least some practical advantages to e-readers once they start using one. I don’t think eBooks will replace printed books though.

      Like

      • Agreed! I think we tend to make the assumption that readers will abandon one for the other, but it seems that a lot of people will continue to enjoy both. It’s also interesting to see how the market has developed relative to predictions that books would become obsolete. There definitely seems to be a difference between how preferences have developed in digital versus print media for books as compared to, say, music.

        Like

  129. helenamallett

    I’ve had a 3 month affair with my kindle only to now find myself longing for the weight, texture and covers of a book – plus the ease of casting back to read a favourite line …

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      There’s nothing stopping you using both – lots of bloggers here have said they still buy printed books even if they now have an e-reader.

      Like

  130. The main disadvantage I find with my Kindle is my inability to let friends and family who don’t also have an e-reader borrow a title from me.

    However, personally for me, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. As with many others, the convenience of always having my Kindle with me has allowed me to read so much more than ever before.

    Before book publishers and authors complained that people didn’t read enough. Now that people are READING MORE THAN EVER they are complaining about the loss of the paper form. When you think about it, the latter complain seems petty in comparison.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, when it comes to borrowing eBooks, I think it depends on the e-reader because some bloggers say that they can lend eBooks through their account. I borrowed my sister’s Kindle for a couple of weeks which was a bit of a risk on her part as I could have lost it or something – I think she missed it quite a lot too! E-readers are definitely convenient and of course it’s a good thing if people read more as a result of having one. Unlike lots of other gadgets, people don’t seem to neglect them.

      Like

  131. I like my eReader…for two reasons, instant gratification when I am dying for a certain book…and its just handy to have around.

    That being said. I can’t give up my hard cover or paperbacks….ever. And I often buy the same book in hard copy and electronic copy simply because one is convenient…but the other is a vital connection to me. To own my favorite authors and books on my shelf, where I can see the covers and feel them and be comforted by their presence.

    I also hate percentages…and my reader only show how many pages I have left in the chapter….so irritating! I want to know where I am in the book! I feel disconnected from it all in this way.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Lots of bloggers here have said they still read printed books as well as eBooks. There are situations where an e-reader is more convenient but printed books are still valued too.

      Like

  132. I have a Nook e-ink (so, not a tablet with a computer screen). For traveling, nothing in the world beats this. It’s perfect. When I’m not traveling, which unfortunately is most of the time, I read regular books.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, e-readers are ideal for travelling and commuting. I’m not sure if I would feel the need to get one if I didn’t travel by train a lot.

      Like

  133. uncarick

    Kindle all the way for me… I find it so much easier to get comfy with it, no struggling with heavy books or having to hold pages open, it’s superb when travelling (especially on long haul flights) and I find shopping the kindle store a lot better than being confronted by the rows upon rows of books on the shelves in store. I can totally see why people love books, but for me the e-reader has been a modern gizmo I really like!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, e-readers are definitely convenient. I think you are the first person who has commented on my post who has said they prefer searching for books online than in a bookshop! I think in book shops I see things that I wouldn’t otherwise have noticed if I was looking on a web page as I would tend to only search for the stuff I wanted to look at rather than general browsing.

      Like

  134. I feel a little ashamed to ask this as you assumed it was obvious…. what is spine poetry?

    Like

  135. Paper books all the way, especially because you can get them completely free if you join a library and you can borrow as many books as you want! I do agree about the antiseptic smell, however 😦

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I wonder if eBook libraries will take off properly? Public libraries are important community centres and you wouldn’t get that with eBooks.

      Like

  136. Yosola Olorunshola

    That Stephen Fry quote sums it all up really. I could never give up my real books even though they are slowly taking over my bedroom, but I’m all for the ease and practicality of e-books. One thing I love about books is being able to scribble stuff in the margins (typical literature student) – do you know if annotatable e-readers exist yet? A stylus pen may eventually replace Fry’s real one…

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      I think you can get e-readers where you can highlight things and ‘scribble’ on them but I’m not sure which models offer this function. But Stephen Fry is right about pretty much everything and eBooks are no exception!

      Like

  137. It’s just SO much easier to read the Kindle on the N train in the morning than it is the actual book… Other than that, I miss a nice page-y book 😦

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, e-readers are definitely convenient for travel. Lots of bloggers here say they still read printed books even if they now have an e-reader. I think eBooks and books can coexist in the world 🙂

      Like

  138. I read physical books if they are books that are important to me, and e-books for the train when I really don’t want to be lugging book around, or if I want to read something “now”, or if it’s cheap and not something I care about having on my bookshelf. Or indeed, any combination of those things. And I too hate percentages! Apart from the feel and smell of a book, and the satisfaction of turning another page, like Elle, I really like knowing where I am in the book!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, I agree with all of those things. E-readers are ideal for travel but if I didn’t commute, I probably wouldn’t feel the need for one.

      Like

  139. Great comparison. I was an avid eBook luddite but now I have both. You mentioned 1Q84, that book is worth buying (in book format) for all the reasons you mentioned, plus the typesetting detail is incredible. Backwards numbers and a unique dust cover, this book is beautiful.

    But, like you (I’m guessing), I like long novels like Neal Stephenson’s Reamde. I originally read the book on the Kindle (it’s near or over a thousand pages), but bought the book because I’m a fan of the author and Neal signed it. I don’t think signing eBooks has become “a thing” yet… 😉

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, 1Q84 is a beautiful book which looks great on my shelf – I think it was also much more satisfying to read as a printed book rather than as an eBook.
      I have been informed by another blogger here that in fact, it is possible to get signed eBooks at http://www.autography.com I still don’t think it’s quite the same though!

      Like

  140. always swore i’d never get a Kindle – parents got me one for my 19th and it is my new favourite thing in the world! i think i’d rather have my favourite books in paperback but as for the selection of random discoveries available electronically (AND FOR FREE!!!!!!) i gotta say i’m loving it.

    found a really great cheap book called “SLEB” that I highly recommend, by the way – funny, sincere, insightful, talks about addiction and the media and fame and it’ll make you laugh and reconsider your life.

    wouldn’t have found it without the Kindle so i advise – get one. also it’s great as I am a student – no more broken bag straps for me 😀

    Like

  141. egb63

    I am a librarian . read 8-12 books a month. kindle owner for less than a year.
    I borrow both physical and ebooks.
    i buy physical and ebooks

    unread physical books – 5 cublic feet. Unread ebooks , about 12.

    I read a little more non-fiction than before, and I no longer think about the size of a book and the time it might take, becsue I just don’t know.

    I love that borrowed ebooks from the library can’t have overdue fines
    I love that I can borrow a book a month form amazon with my amazon prime memebership that I have had forever.

    between free and borrowed books I have found new authors that are not taking room on my bookshelf that has no more room.

    I used to have to limit myself to 6- 8 books for a weekend. – not anymore. flying back from england – I read 4 or so on the plane home. ( all fluff)

    I’m really happy that I am not waking up becasue a giant book fell on my face.

    DH has a nook ( mix marriage) and for the first time ever – he can’t really complain that he has nothing to read.

    Like

  142. ForeverMoreReviews

    I love my kindle half to death but I will never ditch my treasured physical books, I guess it all depends on what kind of person you are…. The thing is; the younger generation find it easier to read eBooks, my friends back in school would never pick up a book unless it’s for educational purposes but if they give it them in some kind of technology then they are all for it. eBooks may just be the answer of saving “pleasure reading” so if we want to keep the “reading” alive we are gonna have to call eBooks essential.
    Love your blog by the way.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thanks! Lots of bloggers have said the same thing. I don’t think eBooks will replace printed books but as you say, the fact that an e-reader is a gadget will appeal to lots of people who wouldn’t otherwise read much.

      Like

  143. Love e-books and hate them, too. I found the advantages like lightness and carrying a whole library outweigh the cost of a pretty shelf, but only in fiction. For any reference material or any book you want to share, get the hard copy. If it’s only for you, ever, then a Kindle is great.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, e-readers are better suited for fiction. Even though I suggested that students might prefer eBooks for key texts, I personally wouldn’t like using e-readers for reference material either.

      Like

  144. This was a great post, thanks so much. With a novel in the pipeline, I’ve been worrying about this a lot, and you’ve really succinctly summed up both sides. It’s actually made me calmer – I think the benefits both old and new offer are pretty mutually complimentary. The writers I know tend to feel the same – we don’t especially care *how* people are reading their work, they care *that* people are reading their work. That e-readers permit greater publishing opportunities for indies, and allow booklovers to access more books, cheaper, is great. 🙂

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thanks! I think there is a place in the world for both formats. Good luck with your novel!

      Like

    • ForeverMoreReviews

      I’m sorry I know this is random, but you’re writing a novel & I love reading them. Can you please give me a few details? For I will go on a cyber rampage every now & then to look for it.
      Good luck,

      Like

      • Teehee don’t apologise for that!
        I don’t wanna advertise on someone else’s blog though, and it’s not quite finished editing in any case. If you tap my screename you’ll get onto my blog, there’s a tab there with a blurb. Cheers!

        Like

  145. I love holding a book in my hand and flipping the pages, its smell and feel which a e Book cant come close to. Great post. Enjoyed it.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thanks. Reading books is definitely a different experience from reading eBooks (and is probably the more fulfilling one too).

      Like

  146. I’m going through the same debate in my mind, and you have covered all and more of the arguments I came up with. I suspect I will soon be dragged screaming and kicking into the 21st century, but will still buy books as well. As a UK resident as well, one thing that annoys me is that physical books are zero rated for VAT, but ebooks carry 20% VAT. Why?

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yeah, I don’t really understand the VAT thing either. Maybe it’s because e-readers and eBooks count as luxury items? I’m not sure. Lots of bloggers say they read both books and eBooks so I think there is a place for both in the world.

      Like

  147. So glad you published this. This certainly has provided some insight into e-books and regular books. I’m old fashioned and love books. But do have plans to get my first Kindle soon!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thanks! Lots of bloggers have said they love books and eBooks so I’m sure there is a place in the world for both of them!

      Like

  148. Another advantage is that you can make the print a lot bigger! Not everyone needs this, but for the visually impaired, this feature is golden. That’s really what won me over, because I didn’t like the idea of eReaders at first.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, someone else has mentioned this too. My eyesight isn’t great so if it continues to deteriorate then I’m sure an e-reader would be a lifeline. Large print books are quite hard to come by even in libraries these days.

      Like

  149. originaljerseygirl

    I’m just as torn as you describe in this post: I love collecting books and seeing them on my bookshelf, feeling proud at how much of a bookworm it all makes me look. But then a Kindle would just be more efficient when wanting to cart a book around. Such a dilemma.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      It sure is. I think there is a place for both books and eBooks in this world though and lots of bloggers seem to agree.

      Like

  150. Although one advantage of electronic readers is that a central control can can select and monitor what people are allowed to read, I have to remind everyone of how good the wax tablets smell. Besides, why hasn’t anyone suggested that the way to revitalize the job market in this country might be to outlaw all forms of moveable type and start training new scribes?

    Like

  151. My previous job involved a LOT of commuting, and I would have appreciated the convenience of an eBook on these journeys. However, the tangibility of a paperback or hardback far outweighs the benefits of modern technology – the sense of achievement I felt having read weighty books such as the Game of Thrones series I suspect cannot be replicated by the eBook. And as you rightly point out, they are not doorstoppers! Good article 🙂

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Yes, even though the longest books should in theory be ideal and more practical for e-readers, there is definitely a bigger sense of achievement reading the printed version in all its glory!

      Like

  152. I won’t say that I will never get an eBook however I love my books – the smell, the weight, frankly just having them around. If I ever get one, it will be for the bus commute to work. And I didn’t realize until reading this post that they don’t have page numbers – percentages?! I don’t think I could get used to that, that’s just not right!

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Apparently there is a way of having page numbers on Kindles now and you can also get them on other e-readers so that’s good. And yes, e-readers are great for commuting and travelling.

      Like

  153. It’s simply useless. I’d better read a “proper” book or print one from the Internet

    Like

  154. I prefer Printed books to Ebooks anyway mainly because of that paper smell. Funny enough, just moments ago before reading this post I made my decision whether to buy an E-Book. I decided against it because I know if I buy one, I’ll stop buying printed ones 🙂

    Great post 🙂

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      That’s interesting – most bloggers here have said they haven’t stopped buying printed books even if they now have an e-reader.

      Like

  155. I really like this post (and this blog) and agree with most of what you’ve said. I have an e-book reader, but as a reader, I prefer printed books and will go on supporting them. As a writer, e-book piracy could bring my hopes to an end.

    You’ve left out a few of the disadvantages of e-books and the strengths of printed books, though:

    *E-book files and devices are region-coded like DVDs. Because I’m in Australia, I can’t buy many e-book titles. I get a message saying that those e-books are only available to residents of the UK or US. I can buy (new or second-hand) or order in printed books from just about anywhere. Only censorship can stop me reading printed books.
    *E-book readers don’t survive serious falls and liquid spills, but printed books can.
    *An entire electronic library can be snatched away in seconds by hardware or software failures, or theft. What are the odds that all your printed books will be burnt, torn or stolen at once? You usually only carry one printed book at a time, but with an e-book reader, you carry the whole library around and it’s tied to the hardware and software, leaving yourself open to greater loss.
    *People like to say e-books are greener, because they don’t require paper, but e-book readers contain plastic and chemicals. Plastic is an environmental disaster. E-book readers also require electricity, even if they hold their charge for a long time. A printed book can be passed on and re-read for decades, or recycled. What’s going to happen when all those e-book devices end up on the rubbish tip?
    *Books are tactile and can have design features (down to the choice typeface, margin sizes, etc.) that add to or support the words and their meaning.
    *You’ve mentioned author signatures. Books carry other personal marginalia. You can’t inscribe an e-book with personal messages and dedications. I have books that include personal inscriptions from loved ones, reminding me of a specific time and place. These become part of the meaning of the text.
    *Like any PC/tablet/smartphone, an e-book reader needs to start up. It’s faster to open a book!

    The Kindle doesn’t sound very user-friendly – no page numbers? My e-book reader has page numbers.

    Like

    • A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

      Thanks for your comment – I had no idea that eBooks had ‘regions’ like DVDs. The Kindle apparently does have page numbers now and does start up immediately but as you say, there are environmental issues. I would hope that the components can be used again at recycling plants but I’m not sure. I also appreciate that my sister took a risk lending me her Kindle and I was very aware that I was carrying around a valuable library. On some e-readers it is now possible to lend individual eBooks through your account to friends so that would minimise the risk a lot.

      Like

  156. I’ve read so much about this whole ‘Book VS eBook’ debate. It’s always between people who just want to read and people who want to be a snob about it. If you’re picking up a book, you should be doing it to get new ideas, new thoughts, inspiration, or just a way to pass the time. What does the format matter? It’s like discriminating against Penguin books in favor of some small, obscure, little-known publisher just to feel elitist, old-school, and like a hipster snob.
    If you like a book — you read it. If you like a book and the cover art — you buy the hard-cover/paper-back. And don’t even get me started on people who make a fuss over paper-backs VS hard-covers. Those are THE WORST.

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  157. Valid points. I’m still thinking if I should get an e-reader myself!

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  158. As much as I have not read all the comments on the blog, I do have some strong options on the matter. I love books. I love to read them, flip though them, peruse them, I simply love them. Unfortunately, in my twenties, I outgrew bookshelf space. I just can no longer feed and house the amount of books that I have appetite for. So I turned to my local library. They keep my books for me, sometime they buy them for me and they give them to me whenever I want (within reason). I don’t do this because I am cheap, I am just out of space.

    I love my ereader. I have read more books in the five months since I got it than the previous 2, maybe 3 years. It is simply accessibility. And being able to read on multiple devices. I may not have thought to bring a book when I have an unexpected wait, but I have my phone and my most recent book on it. I have read a balanced diet of classics that I have been meaning to read for years, modern fiction, non-fiction and trash novels.

    I don’t think paper books are going away, this is just a shift. It is very important it that we all remember that digital content can be altered at any time, en masse. If you think I am wrong I think you are disingenuous. Because of this, we must be careful whom we allow to keep the paper, as this will become more and more important. Those of us that do read, we must remember the works of Orwell, Bradbury and Atwood, head the warning and be careful whom we allow to keep the paper.

    All I know is that I am not the keeper of the paper. Never had the resources for that. But I love books. It was like books were cocaine. And now with ereaders they are crack. A cheaper, faster high, but you need more and more.

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  159. Yes, I think space is going to become an issue for me eventually as well. E-readers do make things a lot more accessible and convenient for travel too.

    Like

  160. itsaniblife

    I really liked how you examined both the advantages and disadvantages of both, because while I love a nice solid bound book, I also easily devour certain books on my iPad. I think we just need to find a nice balance. Somehow, staring at my tangible library of books is much more satisfying than looking at my Kindle library, but ebooks are very practical and cheap.

    Loved this post!

    Like

  161. Great post! (Couldn’t wait to add my voice to the 300-odd comments.)

    I got IQ84 in the hardcover version! It weighs a ton and I haven’t read it yet because it’s so unwieldy. I love my Sony Reader because I can take it anywhere. I used to take 20 lbs of books with me travelling! On the plane I’d take three books: the one I’m reading, the one I’ll read when I finish the first, and a third in case I don’t like the second. That was crazy. Also, an e-reader stays open so you can more easily snatch reading time when blow-drying hair, brushing teeth, and other rote tasks. I have to use heavy things to prop open regular books so they don’t flip closed on me. But I get as many books as I can from the library; the e-reader is for travelling. I do love a “real” book. I like the author photo, I like being able to flip to the end to check that a particularly favoured character doesn’t get killed off, I like the ease of flipping back and forth when there are footnotes. And also you can’t lend out books from your e-reader.

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  162. I have just brought my eReader, it was a tough decision because I do like the smell of books and seeing where my book mark lies, but I commute and I get through books very fast, I am so excited to read all the free classics! free AND classics which I desperately want to read, Bonus. Hope you enjoy yours.

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  163. shieram

    I still love actual books. I love the feel and their smell. I actually have a tablet that comes with an e-reader but reading from there just wasn’t for me. Plus, I do get satisfaction in building my own library at home. 🙂

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  164. I will always love books, but am enjoying my kindle … a lot!

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  165. Well, too many comments here to preview if this, my comment, is repetitious, but I feel you missed several obvious points for and against.
    1. If textbooks could be available in e-versions, it could be arranged to save students tons of money, not to mention improved grades because of actually being able to access the texts, as opposed to waiting on the bookstore finally to get it in after semester is half over. It would eliminate the entire ridiculous scramble that so frustrates those who paid big bucks because they love learning, not standing in lines.
    2. E-reading devices are more fragile than the average book. Drop either off the top of your car and run over it with one wheel while driving down the driveway, and guess what.
    3. Electronics are more theftable. And the idiots who do thievery are not often big readers, but big pawners.
    4. Bookshelves would look ridiculous with thousands of book-gadgets lined up on them, held up by bookends. Really can’t believe you didn’t think of that.
    5. Most people experience eye damage when viewing back-lit things for too long.
    6. When they finally bomb all the electric plants, we will all be reduced to returning to our first love — the book (which an e-reading device is NOT) and many of us will not have any. That is the goal, by the way.

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  166. The price of a Kindle is very tempting right now, but at the same time, I like the experience of going to get a book from the library. I am not the most social butterfly anymore, so anything to get me out of the apartment is a welcome change. Basically, paper books keep me from being a hermit when I am not working!

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  167. I use my reader exactly how you described, on the bus on my way home or when traveling. When I’m home I have another hardcopy book going. I think this is an excellent article and agree with all of your points. I too love a good book smell, have books that I would never give away, and like the heft of a real book. Plus, I am continually frustrated when viewing nonfiction books on my reader by not being able to easily investigate how long the book actually is, versus how much of the book is taken up by indexes, notes, and appendixes. Right now I am reading a book that it never seems like I will finish, even though I know that fully HALF of it is taken up by back matter!

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  168. I LOVE technology and work in a career where I deal with technology everyday. I would be lost without my smartphone. However, I have yet to be able to buy into reading a book on a tablet or e-reader… I just love holding a book in my hands too much to give that up yet.

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  169. Wonderful blog! I’m a 90% convert to my Kindle. I love it and now want a Kindle Fire for the color. Sigh. But, I still love certain physical books, especially history or non-fiction. I don’t know why, but I find I’m reading wonderful mysteries and novels on my Kindle, but I can’t make myself read history on it! I live in Italy and read a lot of Italian books now on my Kindle, which is so much easier because when I have to look up a word in the dictionary, I don’t have to lay my physical book face down and open in the hopes of not losing my place while I juggle my huge dictionary; I can just click on my Italian/English dictionary and type in the word. Then click back to my book. Heaven!

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  170. Melissa

    Hello! As you have 357 comments, and I only have 45 minutes for lunch, I will admit I didn’t take the time to read all of them *embarassed*

    I am on my second kindle and have been reading on them for 3 years now. As a person that travels frequently and packs light, and commutes 3-5 days a week, it’s such a great tool for me. But I still love to buy books. There are many factors that go into whether I will buy a physical book or an ebook.

    Cost: I recently discovered the Friends of the Library used book store and have bought 8 books on my Amazon book shopping list for $15.86 (amazon retail was $87.26.) It boils down to which format is cheaper. Buying a used copy of a book is often cheaper than the eBook.

    Immediate need: If I need/want a book immediately, Kindle is the way to go. I have several authors where I pre-order all their books and I like that it’s on my Kindle ready for my commute when I wake up on release day morning 🙂

    Size: I’ve read Anna Karenina twice now, once in book format, once on my eReader. eReader was definitely preferable. I almost find it easier to read larger books on the kindle because I do not get overwhelmed by the sheer size of a text.

    Do I want to display it in my home: I LOVE the Penguin Clothbound hardback classics and am halfway to collecting all the ones I want. The look pretty and I use them for decorating as much as reading.

    That was a really long winded way of saying that I am an equal opportunity ebook and book reader. Sometimes it’s nice to still hold a book in my hand, or highlight and make notes as I read for book club. But it will be nice to take 6 or 7 books to Antigua with me next month but still only have to carry an 8oz Kindle 🙂

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  171. I loved your post, and rather hope that one day you will share a bit of spine poetry with us. 🙂
    I used to have a friend who had the annoying habit of browsing through people’s bookcases when invited to their homes for the first time. I guess things will start to get a little more frustrating for him now!
    Congratulations on being freshly pressed.

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  172. One thing I love about having a Nook is the free samples. Almost every book, new/old/medium, has a free sample which is often 20-30 (actual) pages. Even if I have no intention of buying the book in full, it’s a good half hour of reading.

    One thing I hate (besides the death of book stores, probably my #1 reason to dislike ebooks) is the strain on my eyes. The Nook isn’t nearly as harsh as a computer screen, but after 4-6 hours of writing content, I want to put all electronic devices away and relax with a BOOK.

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  173. Reblogged this on Stahr Magazine and commented:
    A funny, concise comparison of ebooks and book books

    Like

  174. I love your post. Congrats on the Freshly Pressed and now a second time. I love my Kindle. But I will admit I love paper. I love highlighting and in my magazines or cook books I like to copy or rip out my favorite recipes. There are limits. I do buy more because it’s so easy.

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  175. I really liked that you showed both sides of the debate! This was a carefully thought out post. Despite the advantages you pointed out, which I agree with, I really enjoy turning the pages of a book and looking at words on paper as opposed to a screen….I don’t think I’m ready to move to E-books yet.

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  176. Great post! I like eBooks because they draw a lot of technophiles toward reading and draw a lot of readers toward technology. That and they have reignited my love for both reading and writiing.

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  177. I will always choose a real book over an e-book but I bought my Kindle about 3 months ago and it as advantages. I do like it and it helps me when I’m away to carry 4 books and lighten the load of my carry on. I must admit I still buy loads of books, more than I have for my Kindle. It’s a sickness. I can’t help myself! 🙂

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  178. I love my kindle, and like you said, the fact that I have an entire library of books (of all genres, authors, cultures) in my handbag is a huge luxury! I don’t have space in my house to have endless bookcases of silverfly-eaten dog-eared books, but there’s always space in my Kindle for one more must-read!

    I do miss flipping the pages of a real, solid book, but I must admit that if a book is too thick, I get tired holding it up after a while. I’ve always loved the smell of paper, whether thin and flimsy or thick and substantial, but something’s got to give.

    In a world of limited resources, I choose an e-reader over an entire treasure case of real books. But thanks for sharing your very well-balanced argument 🙂

    Keep reading, no matter e-book or paper!

    Felicia
    http://dishbydish.net

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  179. I guess I still find myself straddling the fence on this. I like the ease of highlighting with my fingertip on iBook app and Kindle. Of course sharing passages from books is fun and practical too. Although the flip side is, for a writer like myself, I enjoy flagging my physical books when I am working on a project. It is something about the tangible touch and smell of an actual book that immediately gets the creative juices flowing. So I believe there remains a need for both platforms to be around. I dare think of one day not being about to go into the library to browse for a book just waiting for me to pluck it off the shelf to take home with me.

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  180. I have thought of all of these issues when I go into my mental debate about getting a tablet or not. At some point I will get a tablet for convenience, but I can’t imagine not having books around or readily available. I hope that never happens. *sets aside money to support bookstore with*

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  181. I can never get into the story in a paper book, but with the kindle app on my iPod I am making more progress when I read (but still cant finish a book). I admit I like the hardcovers and paperbacks, but when it comes to actually reading, I think I’ll pick my iPod and buy print versions of the books I finish.

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  182. That last question is difficult to answer but I guess I’m somewhere inbetween. I only love some kind of books in hardcopy. I always love to play around my phone. I virtually do all my typing and editing on my phone. I read all ranges of things, anytime and anywhere, as long as I can flip around them on my phone. I may be inclined towards self-publishing, because I’m thinking along writing or compliling a book soon. Your thoughts are beautiful and I can’t help but appreciate your effort. You did a thorough work on this post. I was already preparing a defence for ebooks at the onset of the post, I assumed you were one sided. But when I got to your side of the ebooks, you probably beat my defence. 🙂 Lovely post!

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  183. Meag

    When the Kindle first came out I was completely against it. I told everyone that I would never buy one because Iove the feel of a book in my hands. However, after borrowing a friends I feel in love. I soon after bought my own and have it with me everywhere. I usually read a book or two on my Kindle and then switch to a hardcover/paperback so I get to hold an actual book in my hands. One of the major downfalls, as you mentioned, is that it has percentages instead of page numbers. It drives me crazy!

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  184. The only up-side of an e-reader for me is holiday reading. A two week holiday requires at least 4 – 6 books, which can make my suitcase rather heavy. Apart from that, I love how books feel in my hands and the joy of browsing in my local independent bookshop, long may they remain.

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  185. I love the feel of a book. I was super excited when I loaded my iPad with books. The convenience of not carrying around books was not worth the loss I felt when I was reading them from a screen.

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  186. From literally growing up in a library and loving just about every aspect of a physical book. The one thing I must say is Kindles, Nooks, and iPads all die. However a good ole paper book is always there!

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  187. The pros way, way, way outnumber the cons in e-readers. And guess what, the new Kindle HAS page numbers, and even an above light (no glare from the screen up and out at your sensitive, all-knowing eyes). The new Kindle White is out October 1st, and NO, I don’t work for the company or, unfortunately, own their stock. I don’t remember being this “pro product” since the introduction of waxed dental floss. I can do without an i-Phone, but you’ll have to pry my Kindle from my cold dead hands. (And if you do, please turn it off from the sleep mode ’cause I’d hate to run down the battery for my heirs.) Congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed.” And if you’re fed up with the “Shades of Grey” revolution, read my recent blog on the topic — just for laughs.

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  188. cyberscriber2world

    We leave behind the transportation age and enter the communications age. Technology is inevitable and paper pulp degrades with time, not to mention deforestation to make books. Books have been my best friends since I was 8. Books have been my guide, my teachers and libraries the cathedrals of cerebral solitude. Alas for today’s generation, electronic media is the new book. They lack the tactile pleasure we have in books, ie their weight, their texture, the vivid colors and cover illustrations as art. They hang around with the rest of our “collections” until we fear neurotic hoarding has set in. Like film pictures, they require cover from the elements, they occupy space, and they can be used for a litany of practical applications including straining your back or breaking your toe. Books will fade away, like everything else, and leave behind only the truth. Education IS communications. The houses of books, the school buildings and most teachers will also go as the information stream flows out of every pocket and nook we possess. Like blacksmiths and buggy whip makers, the typesetters and the book binders will fade from the glory days as the book culture fades into the past. The stories and information, will survive and thrive and I predict one day soon some clever hominid will discover how to make our electronic toys run off the magnetic field of the earth itself, converting the earth field into sufficient electricity to guide little electrons upon the pathways to displays. Even batteries will be sent off to museums and landfills. Lofty tombs of intellectual glory will disappear. Bartlets will be remembered as a can of pears. The mighty encyclopedia is knocking on deaths door. Rust and termites never sleep, and old romantics with memories will weep. All according to prophecy. 🙂

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  189. I’m still search, collect and save ebooks into my hard-disk. Searching books in a bookstore also nice experience.–ebook will never kill book anyway

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  190. I am comfy with e books because i can have loads of them in my ipad because i can choose the font size. Not worry about dusting the books once a week and also insects spending more time with books and digesting them (literally) than me, hurts me.
    Of course my self esteem will come down when others cannot judge me by the number of and kinds of books i have on the shelf to show how educated refined my tastes are (even though i haven’t read them all)

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  191. We’re just about to start selling the NOOK eReader in the UK and opinion in Heffers is divided. Ebooks ARE practical for students and commuters as well as for going on holiday and for those with a house full of books.

    BUT do we really want to say goodbye to afternoons browsing in bookshops, treasured signed copies and beautiful books on our shelves? Not really! I think we’ll settle for both though…

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  192. stevescribble

    Clare, Thanks so much for this considered review. There has been so much debate on the subject of ebooks and the real thing and I really think your article puts into perspective the pros and cons in a balanced way. My view, for what it’s worth, is that reading will always be with us and so we should embrace another format to spread the written word. But there will always be a place for the humble book as well!

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  193. One more advantage for eBooks – Easier access to large print for us visually impaired.

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  194. I got a Kindle recently and yes, it helps a lot with coursework. I don’t have to carry huge books or loads of papers around, just one sleek, light e-book reader does the job! On the other hand, I prefer proper books for leisure reading. The joy of turning a page and the excitement of what’s going to come next in the story is a lot more enhanced in paper.

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  195. We held out against e-readers for a long while, not least because we preferred borrowing our books for free from the local library, supporting this important local service. But, when we were heading off for a long holiday in a caravan in France the ereader became the only viable option. When space and weight is an issue then carrying a lot of books for the family to read is just not an option. So we got one, loved it, then bought another and we are now a 3 Kindle family, completely converted. It is also great for Newspaper subscriptions particularly when abroad.

    So we are converted BUT we do still like book and we do we still use the local library. There is room in life for both 🙂

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  196. Reblogged this on my gp journal and commented:
    This is a very interesting and lighthearted essay. The points she has made is quite true and interesting. I have found that some of the points she made was applicable to me too.

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  197. I like this. What a interesting and lighthearted read!

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  198. I love e-books. I had the $79 Kindle and took it back because the screen does not light up. If you get a back light screen, you can read in bed at night. The Kindle has ads on it, I hate that. I got a Cruz tablet, it is cheap at Walmart online. I read Kindle books on it and I get e-books at the library and free ones at Amazon too. I like that I can read it and return it to the library and never have to drive to the library. I also love audio books too. My son loves them. The reader makes the story come alive. They change their voices for the different characters in the book. I used to love actual books, but now I love e-books and audio books more than real books. I also love e-readers because you can highlight a word and look it up instantly for the definition. I was reading 50 shades of gray and she used a lot of words I have never heard of.

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  199. Hi. You made some great points on both the pros and cons of ebooks. My husband insisted on getting me a second generation Kindle (I couldn’t believe the price at the time) because of how much I love to read. I ended up liking it and reading it more than the books that sit in the corner of my bedroom. I recently purchased myself a newer Kindle and gave my son the older one. The Kindle is convenient because I can drop it in my purse and have many books to choose from if I decide I want to read something different. I love listening to books on my long commute to work – it makes the time pass more quickly when I get stuck in traffic. As a writer, I think my best shot at getting published is to publish my book as an ebook.

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  200. As I was nearing the end of your post, I was thinking one thing she did not mention was the smell of books. My favorite thing about books is their smell. Then, as soon as that thought flew through I got to the part where you did address that! So funny. Your post was delightful. Thanks for sharing.

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  201. I still have not caught on to the popularity of e-books. I’ve tried reading some of the classics, and it’s just hard. I miss the page turning and the smell…and one point you did not highlight is that e-books are so easy to make, it’s simple for a hack or a terrible writer to put one out there. It’s watered down decent books in that sense.

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  202. Robert van der Meer

    Reblogged this on In the Nexus and commented:
    A deserved mention in Freshly Pressed. I tip my hat to your refreshing writing style!

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  203. I have an eReader, but I still collect books. i like the portability in my Kindle. but there is just something about holding a real book in your hand that will never be replaced. Also- I agree with you that a huge benefit in a real book is that it will never flicker off on you while you are trying to read because it ran out of batteries. I came close to that happening a few times. Your post is fantastic, thank you!!

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  204. I have become addicted to ebooks! I find it nice because I don’t have to make frequent trips to the library, I can just borrow ebooks from online libraries! Unfortunately my Kobo is not working though : (

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  205. Talking of smell of books oh there is so much variety! In e book i will miss the musky smell of old publishers like Pan books; the Penguin and so on. Each publishing house had its own choice of smell. One could take a whiff of the smell and identify the library sections. Dog ears i would miss . Underlining and also occasional question marks and exclamation marks and some lucky day a dry leaf or rose petal between the pages! The reverance with which i stared at the ancient edition of Johnson’s Dictionery in our College library will not be there. As i browse Palgrave’s Golden treasury in e book format,the poetry is lost and and only print remains! All the charms that bind us to the bound books will be nostalgia, like teen age romance, as the tab takes over.

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  206. Fantastic piece. I don’t have an e-book…yet. I still own a phone with a cord. My cell phone is a flip-phone. Do you think I’m a bit old-fashioned? LOL

    It takes me years to catch up to technology and then when I jump in, I’m already 2 years behind. I just can’t peddle fast enough. I will bookmark this for a couple of friends whom I know will enjoy!

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  207. Melissa

    I see a lot of people agreeing that a downside of an e-reader is that the battery can die. I assume people are diligent about making sure their phones are charged, how would an e-reader be any different?

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  208. I look at it this way, if someday we no longer have electricity, paperback and hardcover books will still be around.

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  209. I don’t think it is so much evil or essential, it is inevitable. eBooks are possible with today’s technology, so they will become a fact. But I intend to keep buying paper books – I much prefer hardcopy to reading on-screen.
    I guess I’m just old-fashioned. 🙂

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  210. I do prefer the tactile sense of reading a book, though I do understand the advantages listed for eBooks. One interesting fact that I have read (on a computer screen funnily enough) that you are more likely to retain information read from a ‘proper’ book, as page numbers and even where words are on the page trigger your brain to remember the information, or at least where to go to look it up. I definitely agree with this, with eBooks it is hard to keep track of how far in you are or where you read something in particular, unless you are constantly paying attention to the percentage bar. Also with a real book I find there is a better sense of accomplishment once you have finished reading, having a bookshelf of books that you have read is a lot more visual and easier to gauge then having a virtual library with no real sense of length, other than perhaps page numbers.

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  211. Kindle does have page numbers now.

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    • There are some who cannot afford the books nor space to store it and yet do not want to be deprived of knowledge. E books help. What you learn retain and recall depends not on the format it comes in, but the content and scholarship and presentation by the author. I think this string will go on and on…. What really matters is that what is written and worthy of being read must reach the people what ever the form. It is time i got out of this interesting discussion and go back to my bit of reading. Presently living in the Age of Nepoleon (Will Durant) romancing with arts and poetry and Byron and Lake Poets. Carrying eleven volumes to time travel from age to age would not be possible but with I Pad i am able to over 20,000 pages in just 45 mb or so.. Reading consumes less battery power than watching videos on Ipad.
      So thank you friends for the great fun i have had last few days. From papyrus to Gutenberg to I pad is just change and improvisation of the tools and human creativity will be there always…..

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  212. mommyroad

    Great post! I have always been an avid reader. I was reading chapter books before I even started Kindergarten. I bought a Kindle a couple years ago and I love it so much that I am about to upgrade to the new Paperwhite Kindle. It is so easy to slip into your purse and carry around with you. I have my Bible, textbooks, and my current novel with me at all times!
    BUT I do love a real book. I love the smell and I love the feel of the pages. I will always come back to “proper” books once in a while. It’s like literary comfort food.

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  213. I love your discussion. You have brought up many of the reasons I chose my electronic book reading over paper book reading. However, many of your cons are on my pro list.

    I love to read. I can’t afford to support my reading habit with paper books. I am averaging a book of 300 pages ever 1 – 3 days. I just get caught up in the world that exists between the first and last page of the books I read. It is hard to keep up with all of the electronic books I read.

    My favorite things about eBooks are that they are tiny and take up little space, they are anonymously readable, they are easily downloaded for free, and there are so many places to find them on the net. A favorite place for me to find books is 10,000 eBooks. I am able to download the whole series of books by an author and read from the first to the last one in the series. What a terrific thing! I get to follow the whole series in order without interruptions! I hate it when I read them out of order!!!!! UGH!!!!

    Happy Reading!

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  214. Reblogged this on dreamweaverassociates and commented:
    To continue . . . .

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  215. I like my Nook for all the reasons you mention plus you can download a free book on Friday, which I often do. I have found a few good authors through the Free Fridays than I would have found otherwise.

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  216. A great and balanced article.

    I bought my first book after I’d had an accident which smashed my arm and broke my ankle. Sometime, when I tried to turn over the page I dropped my book and had to call my wife to pick it up for me. Once, when she was out, I was driven to phone my 86 year old neighbour to come in and pick it up. She made me a cup of tea as well.

    I bought my first ebook, a Sony, and was free to read without fear of dropping the book. Free also to roam the world and buy classics and books from other cultures which were not easily available in British bookshops.

    Then I discovered that my life-long dream of being a published writer could come true. I’m an indie writer now and my books are being read and enjoyed all around the world. I’m still shocked by it.

    I own a Kindle as well as a Sony but also read books.

    By the way, I can sort of autograph my books on Kindle through Kindlegraph.

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  217. I am an ex-pat and I live in a extremely poor country were there is no access to books. The kindle is an absolute essential for my life here. What a great invention! My husband does not like carrying kilograms worth of books especially when we need so many other essentials!

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  218. Great post! In theory, I am all about real books, but I have read so much more since I got a Kindle, which makes me a bit of an e-reader convert. I wasn’t sure I would like e-books, but I travel a lot and having an entire library that weighs less than my journal is very seductive. Congrats on being Frreshly Pressed!!

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  219. systimplicity

    Reading is as much an experience as it is reading a story. The act of purchase means that each of my treasured books is a connection to a time and place and picking up the book transports me back there, even if just for a second. Each of my books has its own bookmark which is memento of where or when I bought or started reading the book e.g. a ticket, invitation, purchase receipt or any flat paper type object that permanently lives tucked in the pages and which once again transports me back in time when I revisit the book. I don’t think I will be buying an e-book reader. When I commuted, I listened to audio books and podcasts which were practical in the ‘sardines in a tin can’ style of public transport I used.

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  220. I do still use “regular” books, like dictionaries, simply becasue they are lying around, but ebooks have a very great advantage to me. Being able to read them on my screen means I can remain in the same posture for hours. With a book, I tend to read sitting at a table or lying in bed, both of which hurts my back after too long. Call me lazy, but when I read, I want to enjoy myself, and the proverbial pain in the back… you get my drift

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  221. Someday I’d like to smell the book I write, the pages, the cover, the color, the pride, the achievement. What color would that be? What smell? If I have to, I’ll publish an e-book first, but there’s nothing like holding a real book in your hands! Thanks for writing and posing all those points!

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  222. I used to read ebooks before, I find it easier to look and acquire titles digitally. My preferred reader at the time is Mobipocket, which I installed on a non-touch screen smartphone, flipping thru pages using the cellphone keypad. It’s the perfect setup. Sadly, a few years later, when I shifted to a touch-screen phone, I just stopped reading ebooks. It’s painfully tiring flipping thru pages by scrolling or touching the screen. I’ve never tried a Kindle, never even considered it because I’ve always wanted a ‘smarter’ device. Sorry.

    I also have one other reason why I prefer ‘real’ books. It’s fun browsing for random titles in bookstores, particularly those which sell them at bargain. Often, I’ll come across an interesting title from an unpopular author and it turns out to be a great book. I honestly think there’s still a larger catalog of printed books compared to those that were published digitally, which is only intended for popular titles or authors. That’s how I learned to appreciate many of my favorite authors, such as Tom Robbins, P.D. James, Tony Hillerman, Richard Grant, Clive Barker and many others.

    http://hxwf5.wordpress.com/tag/books/

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  223. I always use eBooks for my travels and on-the-road. But I prefer real books.

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  224. I use my Kindle a lot but ever since I got it I read SO much more. So I end up buying more paper books and ebooks. So much for saving money.

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  225. I prefer reading an actual book opposed to a eBook, it is so much fun for me to go to the bookstore and look at all the books. Like you said the smell of a book is wonderful! Plus I have a bookshelf in my room and love displaying all of them. I have a nook, but really only use it for school and little quick reads.

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  226. I wonder if people in Amazon, Nook and Apple have read these posts and are feverishly working on ways to make e-books smelly.

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  227. EDW

    Spine poetry…I like that.

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  228. I totally agree with your entire article, pros and cons. I own MANY books and also a Nook. There’s nothing wrong with being traditional AND modern 🙂

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  229. Also, I work in a high school library and we do spine poetry with the students each year. They love it.

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  230. I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Book Blogs.

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  231. Pingback: The Best of 2012 Survey | A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

  232. Pingback: Freshly Pressed…. Again! | A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

  233. Pingback: Freshly Pressed! | A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

  234. Pingback: eBooks in Libraries: Worth the Investment? | A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

  235. Fictionophile

    My thoughts on this debate are contained in this blog post: https://fictionophile.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/book-or-ereader-my-preferences/
    Also, page numbers are an option as well as percentages on my Kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

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