Sunday, June 8, 2014

Discussion: Paper Books Versus E-books

Book Discussion Question:

What is your book format of choice, E-book or paper book? 

 Edited 11/24/2016

I'm so excited about this post. One of my friends just texted me requesting that we I do a discussion on e-books vs. paper books. I'm honored to be getting requests for conversations. If there's anything anyone else would like me to post specific talks, let me know! I'm happy to try to oblige.

Personally, I don't know that I have a favorite between E-books or paper books. I read mostly on my Kindle Fire, but I also still go and purchase "real" books. I read more on my Kindle than I read paper books. For me, it's the portability factor combined with convenience. I read a lot. The husband folk initially got me one of the old Kindles with the keyboard a few years ago. It made more sense to have e-books because we were traveling a lot because of his job, and was kind of crowded before we even added in my boxes of books to read. Yes, I said boxes, plural. I said I read a lot. I've since upgraded to kindle fire, and I love it, all though I'm humiliated at how many stupid games I play on it. It's also more convenient for me because I read late at night when normal people are sleeping. I read a lot more on in general because of being able just to buy a book online as opposed to having to go to a store and purchase a book. I'm a bit of a hermit, so I'm a fan of anything that discontinues my need to leave the house. 
The Kindle also provides me with a way to keep up with my book addiction. If I bought books all the time, it'd get expensive as I read about 2-4 books a week. A lot of times I'll just grab whatever sounds interesting on Amazon and is free. This also makes me a little bit cheaper when it comes to buying e-books. Because I'm not getting the actual book to look pretty on my shelf, I have a hard time spending more than $7 on an e-book. I have to want to read that book to pay more than that. $7 is a lot for the e-books I buy too. Usually, it's $5 or under. 
I like the privacy of e-books. If I want to read a smutty romance (this rarely happens, but just as an example) book in public, I can without people seeing the cover and asking me questions. So sue me, I like for my guilty pleasures to not be announced to the world.  Sometimes I just don't want to be judged by what I'm reading. Oh also, since I got the Kindle Fire 7", I don't need a book light! 
My biggest issue with e-books is that if my Kindle isn't charged and I don't want to sit next to a plug, I don't get to read. This is of course unless I have a paper book on my shelf that's peaked my interest. Also, it makes me lazy because I don't go to libraries anymore. I use to love going to libraries. It was the best adventure to go to the library with nothing (save for dropping off the last trip's books) and coming back home with my arms full of books. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in libraries and did as an adult too before Kindle walked into my life. With the Kindle, I don't do anymore because I can just buy the book online.
Fear not paper book fans. I still buy regular books. We have a Books-A-Million in our mall, and Chris (The husband-folk) frequently has to drag me out of there. I don't buy them nearly as often, but I still do now and then. I love seeing the pretty covers. If I love a book, I'll buy it. I like having my series as paper books. I like getting hardcover books and peaking underneath the dust jacket and seeing some intricate design on the book (*cough, cough* Diviners *cough, cough*).  I like shopping for bookmarks with inspirational quotes or cute animals. Oh and I don't have to plug it in.  I know some people are all about the feel and smell of real books; that doesn't affect me too much, to be honest. 
Let's be honest; some books NEED to be read as a paper book. The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski is an example of this. This book is a book within a book. There's a story in the footnotes of the book, sometimes the text is in weird designs, every time house appears it's in blue. And all kinds of crazy things. I would not want to read this as an e-book. For me, I think it'd take away from the book. Same with The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson There are all kinds of sketches and drawings, as mentioned in my review of it. I'm sure it's in the e-book version, but it just doesn't seem like it'd be the same to me. 
Another plus in the nod of paper books is that they rarely hurt my eyes. Reading e-books tends to hurt my eyes now and then. It's probably all the reading in the dark I do, but whatever. Oh also, I will take a paper textbook over an e-textbook any day. I LOATHE e-textbooks. The school I go to primarily does e-textbooks. It drives me nuts, and I complain about it every single term. Oh also, sometimes I can find hardcover books cheaper than e-books.
I feel like I'm pretty null on the debate of e-book vs. paper books. I've been leaning more towards paper books recently, but as I'm about to travel again, I'll be loading up the Kindle. Sorry to anyone who was hoping that this would be one side or the other. I'm a big fan of reading in whatever format it comes in. Also a shout out to my audiobook lovers. I can't handle audio books but props to you if that's your format. 
So that's about all I got. Let me know what you think in the comments below! Oh and special thanks to Sarah for the topic request! 


  1. I was wondering what kind of reader you have. I tried reading free e-books from my library on the library-issued Paperwhite... and did not enjoy it. Like you said, it starts to hurt your eyes after awhile. Also, maybe I'm just not tech savvy but navigating on the e-reader wasn't straight-forward.

    On the topic of good ol' fashioned paper books, I don't get what people say about the smell and feel. Maybe it is from working in a library but really, books smell awful.

    A hardback is expensive these days, especially if you read like we do (4 books a week, easy). Thank God for free lending! From libraries to Amazon, from friends to the Gutenberg project! My bookshelves at home are double stuffed and there are still some in boxes. It was breaking me, though. Now that I have a device to use as an e-reader (Windows phone with Kindle app), I may do that more. However, I'm one of the busiest patrons my library has. I think it is more convenient to grab a book off the shelf or request a hold from home that is pulled from the shelf for me than it is to connect, search, select, download, and access an e-book.

    One last thing: e-textbooks are heinous. You are so dead-on about that. Truly. Who thought that up? Forget cost (I've found that a used textbook isn't much more than a rented electronic version) when it comes to ease of learning. Flipping pages, highlighting or making notes, information retention... all gone!

    1. Sarah,
      Thanks for the comment (and the discussion topic). I will say that of the e-readers I've had access to, the Kindle Fire is my favorite. The 3rd Generation was good, until all the updates kept making it slow. It's pretty outdated now. Chris has a Paperwhite, and that thing is so temperamental. He's got to tap the screen just right or it won't do anything. Beyond reading, I also really enjoy using the Fire as a tablet. It's handy.
      Most hardbacks are expensive, all though most of the ones I buy are on the bargain tables. I was able to get three the other day at Books-A-Million for under $5 each. At that price it can even be hard to find a paperback that cheap. My actual bookshelf is really lacking. It's not even close to being filled, but I really just started buying actual books here lately. Before I'd just borrow from the library. I think that once Chris and I get settled into our new location I'm going to go back to visiting libraries. I miss them.
      How do you like the Gutenberg project? I've never really used it. Every time I check it out I get slightly overwhelmed by it. Any tips on using it?
      I'm sure you've heard my rants on E-textbooks before. When I'm studying I need to be able to flip pages efficiently, and highlight. Not to mention I want to be able to just flip to a certain page for certain notes. With e-textbooks I can't do that, at least not efficiently. It takes me so much longer to study in e-textbook. What's even worse is most of my classes just have them as pdf files. Grrr!

  2. I am definitely one of those people who prefer hard copies of books rather than e-books. I LOVE the smell and feel of a book. I love both old, musty books and new ones where I can still smell the ink. I am THAT person who would buy the perfume made to smell like books. I love it that much.

    I prefer books I can hold because of the feelings I get through touch. It is physically and mentally different for me to read an actual book rather than an e-book. I love how it feels when I turn the page. I love being able to see, when looking at the top of the book, how far I have progressed through it. I love the way I can slam it shut if I am angry with it. I love the act of putting the bookmark in to keep my place. I don't dislike e-books, and I go through phases of using my Nook a lot. I just don't think I could give up my collection of books easily. I totally understand that it is hard for you because of moving so much. I have to say, boxes full of books are my least favorite thing to pack and unpack, but I couldn't bring myself not to.

    I also use the library a lot. I actually recently checked out something like 10 books. To be fair, most of them are graphic novels, but still. I still would prefer to do that than read an e-book.

    1. I always find it interesting to see different views on this subject. I think that once Chris and I get settled I'll have a lot more books. Right now it's daunting because I've already got so many to pack. If we ever buy a house, I WILL have a library. Just right now it's so much easier to do e-books.

      Mmm libraries. Part of the reason why I haven't gone to them here, is because the one closest to me is hardly ever open. It's super sad, but generally if I think about going, and have the car to go, it's closed. Hopefully library trips will be more common in my future.

      Thanks for the comment :)

    2. Mmm, a home library. Is it bad that I want to make a Pinterest board purely for library ideas? Probably for normal people...

    3. Nah, I think it's perfectly fine. You should see my House of Dream board on there. It's a good chunk library/ reading nook ideas.

  3. For convenience, ebooks are great. But for my inner nerd, hard copies are a must!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Caroline!

      It's really hard to beat a hard copy of a book.


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