Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why real books rule over e-books

This weekend the Oregonian featured a clever list of "25 ways e-readers can't beat books."

I must admit that when my friend Kristin showed me her new Kindle a few months ago, I found it fascinating.

When Mike and I ducked into the San Francisco Barnes & Noble in June, an earnest salesman tried to convince us to buy a "Nook." As is typical for us, I soon wandered away to browse the stacks. My polite, patient husband listened to the sales spiel and asked questions. Finally, he explained that if he were to buy one, he should do so in Oregon where we have no sales tax. The salesman tried to convince him to buy it in California and try it out, and return it in Oregon and then buy another one! Interesting tactic, but it didn't work. For a few weeks, Mike expressed interest in acquiring an e-reader.

E-readers have their advantages. I've been reading The Secret Garden to Kieran on car journeys--through an iBook application on my iPhone. I love the fact that I can get the great classics on my iPhone. The iPhone has a much smaller screen than a Kindle, however, and it doesn't have great battery life.

But here's why I'm not ready to go the e-reader route:
  • I am cheap. I get most of my books out of the library, at book sales, or via paperbackswap.com. I rarely pay more than $3-5 for a book unless it's a gift. I realize the library has some downloadable versions of books, but they don't have e-versions of all the books I want.
  • I look at a screen all day long. My eyes need a break from screen time.
  • Many people ask me how I read so much. First of all, my house is a mess! Second, I read every chance I get: while I'm getting ready for work in the morning, on my (very rare nowadays) forays to the gym (on the cardio equipment), while walking (yes--I know--stupid!). With my luck, I'd probably get the e-reader wet--or drop it--and ruin it!
  • I love the smell of books...the feel of printed pages beneath my fingers...the satisfaction of reaching the halfway point or the end...the 50-page rule (if I am not enjoying a book by 50 pages, I ask myself whether I should continue).
  • I want to support the publishing industry and independent bookstores....even though I do so in a frugal way!
  • It's good modeling for my children--I want to raise a family of book lovers, not e-reader lovers.
With all that said, I am not against e-readers, and I can understand the appeal. I could change my mind someday. But for now, I prefer books.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on this Marie! spent the weekend with a friend who was reading her Kindle and she pointed out cool features like searching and bookmarking, but I'm still old school I guess. Now if we could just make sure books are printed on sustainably grown hemp paper.