Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Paper vs Ebooks

I come from a family of readers. My father reads avidly. My mother reads avidly. There are bookshelves of all shapes and sizes in my parents' house and I had my very own (tall) shelf by the time I was eight and it was full. Today, nothing's changed. My own house has four large bookcases and one small one for the toddler and they're all full and there are books stashed elsewhere. 

But. Funny thing I've noticed? I'm not buying as many as I used to. At least not on paper.

Let's flash back to six, seven, eight years ago (whenever the original Kindle first wandered onto the scene). My mother told me about it.

MUM: Isn't it cool, though? You can hold it in one hand and store hundreds of books on it!
ME: Nah. It's not the saaaame.

Me, I love paper. I love cracking a brand new spine and browsing bookshops and stroking shiny covers. There's a tactile joy with hardcovers and paperbacks that ebooks simply don't have.

But. I've grown to love ebooks too.

I always hear about how it's paper vs ebooks. Vs. Like it's got to be one or the other. Why? Why can't you have both?

Here's what it boils down to for me:

When I travel, I take ebooks with me. Always. I have the Kindle app on my phone and an ancient Kindle and one or both of them travel with me. Ebooks are an absolute godsend not only when I'm away from home, but also on the actual travelling part of the travel - long train journeys and long flights (not cars or buses. I can't read on either without feeling sick.)

As for home, well, that depends. A combination of impatience (I must have things IMMEDIATELY!) and a lack of space means I don't buy as many paperbacks and hardcovers as I used to. I also have a hierarchy for books.

1. I love the author/series and CANNOT WAIT to read the next book = paperback/hardcover pre-order
2. I remember reading a book years ago and loving it = paperback
3. This sounds really good, but I'm not sure = download the Kindle sample, then the book itself if I like the beginning
4. I read an ebook and fall absolutely in love with it = get a pretty paperback version for my bookshelf

#3 is obviously the most common.

My Kindle library will never replace my bookshelves, and one day I fully intend to have one of those libraries with sliding ladders like in Beauty and the Beast, but there is definitely room for ebooks in my life.

What about you? Are you an either/or reader? Or do you read a bit of both too?


  1. Haha, I have to say I'm probably a lot more like your past "Naah, it's not the saame" self. I love having the feel of holding the books in my hands as well - plus somehow I 'read' better, I take more things in that way.

    Having said that, I can definitely see the upside of ebooks for travel (esp those large textbooks).

    I think the main reason that's stopped me buying a Kindle is because I'm a poor student with an infinite number of holes in their pockets. Plus, I have this thing where I only buy books if I've already read them and loved them, or if I love the author. So I can understand why you would buy the ebook version to save space. Space! That is main restriction guuuhh.

    So glad to see an update on your blog :)

    1. I know exactly what you mean! I first started reading ebooks in earnest when I got my Kindle, which was a gift - I don't know if I'd have bought one myself (I was a poor student at the time too!) So sometimes it does boil down to which is cheapest: ebook or paperback? (Answer: I try it out at the library first!)

      It did take me a loooong time to be converted to the ebook, though, so maybe it'll still happen for you. And if it never does... well, you can't deny the joys of paper!

  2. I use both. Ebooks will never replace paperbooks but they are different ways of being able to read. Whenever anyone tells me they will never read an ebook because it's not the same I say, well, do you like reading or books? If it's books then by all means, don't read ebooks. If it's reading, or both, then an ebook just gives you different options. And more options means more reading. Who could argue with that?

  3. I too love the idea of huge book shelves with a ladder to climb on....

  4. I read both. I prefer paper, but a lot of the time I'm impatient and want it right away so I'll order the e-book.

    1. Yes, the instant gratification factor is definitely one of the things that sway me!

  5. I love books.
    And even though I've embraced the e-book, at heart, I'm still a paperback girl....
    After all, what do you do if you want to curl up under the covers, on a cold and windy day, cup of steaming coffee in one hand, book in the other hand? E-book is a bit awkward... and I love to hug my book (sometimes when I'm overwhelmed by something I've read...)

    But I read a bit of both now. The Kindle IS more convenient...

    Oh dear, it's like a tug-o'-war feeling...
    Writer In Transit

    1. I still feel like that sometimes, like I've got to choose one or the other, but usually I mix both quite happily!