Since the advent of ebooks and ereaders, this has been the controversy: ebooks vs. print. It has, in some ways, both echoed and precipitated the debate between indie publishing and traditional.
My first ereader was a Nook that my sister gave me for my birthday, some years ago. Honestly, just like with my first iPod, I had no idea what to do with it initially. My books were, and always have been, precious to me. I love the smell, the touch and beauty of the printed word, and I didn’t think that would ever change. But because I am somewhat forward thinking, I decided to give the Nook a go.
The first positive I realized was that my ereader was imminently portable. I could tuck it into my purse for doctors’ appointments, bring it on airplanes and car trips, and my books were all at my fingertips.
And then there’s the storage issue. A lifetime of book purchases meant that when we moved, we had more boxes of books than anything else, and some people (ahem!) found that problematic. The reality was that I had many, many books that I was not going to read again. They were fine, but they were definitely one-read books. Having them in ebook form made more sense.
So am I an ebook only reader? Not quite.
Because there is something else I love about print books, and it’s their history. I’m looking at my bedroom bookshelves as I write this. There is a first-edition copy of GONE WITH THE WIND that my grandmother gave me. It’s the first copy of the book I read, and when I see it, I’m upstairs at her house, which was my childhood home base, cuddled on the bed, lost in antebellum South. And I also see Nana’s copy of CHRISTY by Catherine Marshall, a book that my dad read to me first, and then I re-read myself later. . .an amazing story, with my grandmother’s name signed in the front along with the date. My Anne Rice originals are on the shelf next to my LaVyrle Spencer romances.
There are some books that I will read over and over again, and they have place of pride on my shelves. Seeing them in ebook form just wouldn’t cut it.
So I’m a hybrid: I love the immediacy and portability of my ebooks, and I love the sensory aspects and history of print.
I’ll admit that my family tends toward print. My husband will do ebooks, but as a theologist, most of his books are print. He likes to flip through them, highlight. . .my two middle daughters are adamantly print-only. Only my oldest daughter is more like her mom. And my son seems to prefer print as well.
I think there’s room for all books. I believe ebooks will continue to thrive and improve, and I also think there will always be solid printed books in the world.
We’re not either/or; we’re both/and.
This was an excellent topic; go hop around and see what everyone else thinks by visiting Literary Addicts.
I agree that both formats are great for different reasons. But the “history” angle makes me lean toward print books, too!
I love your images. I did say I like ebooks better – HOWEVER – I am definitely not willing to give up certain collections of print books that I have and in some cases if the collection is something I am very fond of, I definitely will add more print books!
I am a hybrid too, but if I had to choose, it would be my Kindle. But, your memory of Gone With the Wind, brought up a memory of my leather bound Hobbit book that I used to carry about when I was a kid. And it is now sitting proudly on my sons’ bookshelf to continue it’s memories.