Paper book or e-Reader?

I am torn. Or maybe you should call me old school. I like to read from the actual book. I have not been able to transport myself into the world of the eReader. The last time I checked my local library they did not have that many options available for eReaders. Call me cheap, but due to the high volume of books I read each year, I cannot justify purchasing every book that I read. Thus, I continue to kick it old school, and read from the paper copy itself. But, I still keep going back and forth, paper book or eReader? Should I convert?

my current library books

my current library books

There have definitely been times when I have opened up a library book and been grossed out. Dead bugs, human or pet hair, food crumbs, and other stains. Yet, what I appreciate about the nasty grossness left from the previous borrower is that the book was loved, enjoyed and used. Someone might have been snuggling with their dog, in their favorite chair while reading the book. Another just made an amazing meal and could not put down their book, wine, and cheese. Whatever the situation, there is a history and a past to each book, and I am a part of that history.

I do often think how handy it would be to have each book on the iPad. Whenever I travel I think about the many books I try to stuff into my suitcase at the last minute. Or when I am out waiting for someone I tend to bring a book along, but maybe I should just bring my iPad. Not to mention the many, many trips we make to the library each month (whether to pick up or return library books). I am often looking at a computer screen all day and have less desire to snuggle up with that novel using another mobile device.

So my dilemma still stands. What are the pros and cons of letting of switching to an eReader? For those of you that have made the leap, what made you do it? Are you glad you have gone to the other side? Do you miss anything about picking up a book?

Please share I am curious what you think!

17 thoughts on “Paper book or e-Reader?

  1. Excellent post. At a recent Indie Publishing conference in my city, an interesting point was raised regarding this dilema. E-readers and E-books, while green and favored by readers/tech-geeks for myriad reasons, E-books may be the last straw that takes down the handful of remaining bookstores–independent or not–in this country. Just one thread of a larger tapestry here. Thanks for the question. -Renee


  2. I’ve made a specific effort to buy more e-books and it seems to be working. If I read it and keep going back to it again and again then I consider buying the print version. I think I am saving a tree in the process (not sure how true this is) but for some reason it motivates me. Can’t part with having a few classics and favorites on the bookshelf though…


    • I am the same way with library books. If I have too many post-it notes in the library book, I usually have to go and buy the book. You are definitely saving a tree in the process! Thank you for sharing.


  3. At this point I’m enjoying both. When I’m home I go to the library or buy books. I enjoy the feel of a book in my hand. Like you were saying, not only does it tell a story, but has a story itself. As for e-readers, I bought a basic kindle and love it! I didn’t get a Kindle Fire or Ipad. The basic kindles still look like a paperback book which has helped a lot! Before I go on trips I’ll download several books on it and that way I save space in my backpack and can still enjoy books that I’ve been wanted to read.


  4. Paper books have been pretty much absent from my life for the past five or six years. Before e-readers I regularly used audio books because they were a lot easier to use while on the move. But with e-readers, like my Kindle, I’ve even left audio books behind. Granted they’re not useable in as many situations as audio books, but audio often puts me to sleep and continues playing so that I lose my place. With an ebook I can search the book and recover my place if I should happen to lose it.

    Reading on an iPad is less comfortable than with a Kindle, although the iPad Mini could obviate that difficulty. And iPad books can show color and illustrations better than monochrome ebooks. I like highlighting things I find interesting and you can’t do that with an audio book, and even with a paper book there’s no easy way to compile those notes and highlights. With an ebook, on the other hand, I can not only highlight but I can also make a note, send a correction to the publisher (surprising how many times I have to do that) and get a definition of an unfamiliar word. I also like seeing which passages have been highlighted by others (popular highlights).

    Paper books can also give you the illusion that you are amassing a huge vault of information that you can tap into, but in reality that seldom happens with me. I tend not to go back and read old books. And they do pile up around the house (giving the illusion, perhaps, that I’m some kind of intellectual.)

    I recently read a paper book for the first time in years (it was a gift.) I can’t say I enjoyed the experience just because I was handling the pages (and glad I didn’t have to shake out the detritus of someone else’s personal life). It takes up as much physical room as my entire library of ebooks. I’ve given away almost all of my paper books, retaining technical manuals and the like that I sometimes need to use for reference. And BTW, I haven’t used a library in decades. They’re just too slow, fussy and never have what I want when I want it.

    So, I’m afraid the paper book industry and those industries that have symbiotic relationships with it, will slide into the dustbin of history, like crystal radios, tube TVs, rotary telephones and other matter-based artifacts. But the need to share information persists, and at the moment, and for the foreseeable future, ebooks and e-readers are the standard.


    • Wow, I’ve been educated. I had no idea you could send a correction to the publisher, and see highlights by others. Both are items that interest me! I rarely go back and read a book a second time – it has to be GOOD for that to happen. Ah the reminder of rotary phones – those took forever. Thank you for sharing your experience, so helpful!


  5. I have an e-reader, specifically a Kindle. If I had the choice, I would read on the kindle. But only because I am Asfedic (sometimes called Irlens Syndrome). This means that I have a visual disturbance which makes the letters move around on the paper. It makes reading exhausting. However, on the kindle there is no visual disturbance at all. I can read for hours! I think it’s because the page is so dull, which probably explains why my iPad screen and phone screen are set on almost the least bright setting.


  6. I’ve been struggling with this question for a while now and I switch between paper and ebooks pretty frequently. As an English teacher I like having paper copies of any book I have to teach with, it’s easier to mark up, take notes, flip around in, and have my students’ look at specific passages (although if all my students had access to e-readers things might be different) but in my free time reading I like my kindle a lot more. The text to speech feature means I can have my kindle read to me while I’m making lunch but don’t want to set my book down or if I have a migraine and can’t look at a page. Sure, it’s not like an audio book, but it’s so easy (and free) it’s not hard to ignore the techno-voice. I also use my library’s ebook checkout so I can still get my library books while being able to read on my kindle.

    What I really want, and can’t see why they don’t exist yet. Are paper books that give the option of a digital download with purchase, just like dvds. It bothers me that this doesn’t exist yet. It wouldn’t be that hard to do, I wouldn’t mind paying extra to get both, and it would give brick and mortar bookstores something to sell. This feels like it would be the best of both worlds. Why oh why has no one started doing this yet?!


    • I didn’t know a Kindle could do text to speech! Perfect for multi-tasking and the hopefully infrequent migraine. Do you find that you have a good selection of ebooks from your local library? I so agree about the digital/paper bundling. Maybe you should start it!


      • My library does have an excellent selection of ebooks, my only issue has been the waitlists are about twice as long as for paper books for the popular ones. Still, it’s nice to still have the option to read books on my kindle I don’t have to pay for.


  7. I was going on an extended business trip and it was impossible to bring enough paper books for the duration. With great hesitation I bought a Nook, thinking I would use it during the trip and then go back to paper books when I got back. Since my return I have continued to use my Nook and I think I have been reading more because the device is so convinient. I was reading “The Gone Away World” by Nick Harkaway, which is a massive book in paper form but very comfortable on the Nook. I read when I go to the gym and I read on my lunch break and the E-reader makes it easier to take advantage of that time. I feel as though I am betraying a friend by liking my Nook but I love that I read more. It is a tough choice for book lovers.


    • That makes perfect sense. There have been a few massive books I have not read because I could not read them on the treadmill…so an eReader would fix that issue!


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