2.18.2010

"Real" Books FTW!

I forgot that it's a short week. Almost missed a posting. Oops.

Anyway, I've been sort of following the whole E-Book/Kindle/Nook/iPad vs. Real Book thing on the Interwebz, and while I kind of really want an iPad (What? It's shiny and beautiful, if a bit unfortunately named), I'm firmly in the "real book" camp. A little while back, XiXi did a post about 10 Ways a Real Book is Better, which I heartily agree with (not to mention her post totally made me LOL). All very good reasons, but I'd like to expand a little more on that and just ramble about why I love myself a good, paper-in-hands book.

1. Reading is an experience: A big part of the reading experience for me is the physical presence of the book - the weight of it, the feel of the paper, the smell, and the sound of flipping pages. There is just something about the book itself being there in my hands that adds to my enjoyment of the actual reading. Basically, the whole act of reading is kind of ritualized and has all these psychological associations. You expect to do certain things when you're reading - flipping the pages, curling up on a couch, reading in the dark by flashlight, etc. Those things that you do, the presence of the book, all become almost as important as the reading itself. It's this kind of association and psychological connection that E-Books will be hard pressed to rival.

It's kind of like why it's so hard for people to quit smoking, for example, because a large part of the addiction (nicotine aside) is the psychological aspect of it - the act of smoking and what the person associates that with. Look at me, I retained that college learning; thanks Drugs and the Brain professor!

2. Reading on screens is not for me: Yes, I do spend inordinate amounts of time staring at a computer screen (and sometimes a TV screen), so it doesn't seem like a stretch for me to be reading on a screen. However, I can't seem to do long-term reading on one. Articles and blogs and essays, sure! But books? Not going to happen, friends. I used to read quite a bit of fanfiction back in the day, and I really did enjoy it and loved the whole fandom thing, BUT I really hated reading on my computer screen. Now that I think about it, that's probably part of the reason I dropped out of the fanfic thing, despite my continued interest in some ongoing fics. I just got tired of reading on the computer, and the thought of it deterred me from picking fics back up. I used to have friends who would print whole fics out for better reading (and travel purposes), but I always felt too guilty about wasting paper to do that.

I also get that technology has made reading on screens much better now; I get that reading on Kindles/Nooks/iPads is not the same as reading on the computer. I still don't like it. I have an iPod Touch, on which I have a few E-Book short stories. I started reading one of those short stories. I liked the story, but I still haven't finished it because I can't get into reading on the iPod. (I should finish the story though...)

3. E-Book reading is less visually satisfying: When I finish a book and close it, I get an immense feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. Part of this has to do with being able to see my progress through the book. I'm sorry, but seeing my bookmark a third of the way through a book, then half, then near the end is more satisfying than watching the scroll bar on the side of my page move towards the bottom. You can "flip" pages in an E-Book, but you can't see how far through the book you are - like really SEE it.

Speaking of visually satisfying, there's also just book design. I confess I have very little experience with E-books, but real books are just pretty! Yeah, I know in iBook, you get a nifty virtual bookshelf to display the beautiful covers of your lovely E-books, but book design is so much more than a nice cover. There's the size and spacing of the words on the page, the font chosen for the headers and chapter titles and text. Some books have illustrations, others have simple page decorations, and still others have pages with uneven edges. You don't get that with an E-book.

4. What am I going to do with all my cool bookmarks? This speaks for itself.

In conclusion, I really like books. They are one of my Great Loves. So ends my soapbox spiel for Thursday. Yay short week!

7 comments:

Merc said...

You make an EXCELLENT point about the bookmarks.

*hugs her paper books and bookmarks*

Icy Roses said...

You are absolutely right, about everything. Also, I don't know about you, but I really like what they do to books at the library, hardcover and wrapped in that plastic wrap stuff. I don't know, I just like holding it in my hands and touching the cover. If I ever get a book of mine published, that's how I want it on my shelf - library-style.

Lisa and Laura said...

I do love my Kindle, but I also love reading actual books. I guess you could say I swing both ways. I don't think books will ever become completely obsolete, nor should they!

Krispy said...

Merc- I wonder if there will be E-bookmarks to go with E-books.

Icy- I do rather like the library plastic wrap, but it also depends on the material the cover is made of. I like those covers that are kind of soft, not the glossy kind.

LiLa- You get the best of both worlds!

Danyelle said...

I'm with you. Real books win out every time over their digital counterparts. You can't be surrounded by digital books the same way you can real books.

I want an iPad too. O:)

Abby Stevens said...

Found you over on Elana Johnson's blog. Love the PEACHES OF ANGER title. LOL.

Just wanted to say I agree 100%. This is such an articulate argument for why we paper-and-ink people prefer physical books over e-Books.

Krispy said...

Dani- Physical books are better for home design. ;) The iPad is so shiny.

Abby- Welcome! Glad you found PEACHES funny. :D It makes my friend and I feel better that we're not the only ones who think it's HILARIOUS.