Mind the Gap Challenge: eBooks or Paperbacks

I am a bibliophile.  I love books. I love to collect them, hold them, smell them–I mean, I really love books!  Today’s Mind the Gap challenge asks if I prefer to read with an eReader, like a Kindle or Nook, or with an old school paperback in hand.  Personally, I prefer hard-bounds, but I will take a paperback over an eBook any day!

I understand the attraction to eBooks; you get to hold literally thousands of books in one hand at any given moment, but that is not enough to change my love for print-on-paper.

I also understand that eBooks are the wave of the future.  Many of my fellow bloggers here at WordPress are authors that rely on the eBook market to get published.  I will buy their books and read them on my iPhone’s Kindle app, and I may have to go that route myself to get published, but an eReader will never replace my affinity for holding an actual book.

My parents are responsible for this love of books.  You should see their house; an embarrassment of literary riches.  As far back as I can remember, we have had makeshift, homemade bookshelves lining every wall space in our house.  We were too poor to have beautiful mahogany bookcases,  their own preserving oil-scent blending with the smell of aging paper and dust.  Instead, our bookcases were made of cinder-blocks and 2×6 pine boards.

We would go to rummage sales and used book fairs and haul away as many books as our thin wallets would allow, and then buy more cinder-blocks and pine boards.  I would grab a stack of books that had cool looking covers, and even if my parents and I knew that I would never read them, they still bought them for me.  They still have almost all of those books.  They cannot throw them away, and neither can I. 

I still have all of my college textbooks.  Even when I was desperate for cash I could never sell my textbooks back to the campus bookstore.  What I will ever do with them, I cannot say.  I tell myself that my son will use them when he is in college, even though I know that the books will be horribly out-dated and shunned by any University by then.

My dream home will one day have a rather large room dedicated to all the books I have collected over the years.  Floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall bookshelves carefully nesting my darlings.  For now, they are in piles in my tiny, shoebox-sized apartment.

I bought both the Kindle and the Nook apps for my iPhone, and I purchased about a dozen books to read on those apps, but it never took.  I want paper.  I want to feel the embossed hardcover.  And I do not want to stare into yet another glowing screen!

My 12-year old son is an avid reader, but he has yet to show any signs of being a book hoarder.  Once he outgrows a book he is content to give it away to Goodwill or the Library.  Except for the Dr. Suess and Winnie the Pooh books; those are being saved for his kids!

I guess I would like to adapt and be more open to the idea of reading books on an eReader, but for today, my answer goes to the paperback, or hardcover.   The next question that we should ask is, “Does it matter?”

Just read!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Mind the Gap Challenge: eBooks or Paperbacks

  1. I think “no” is perhaps the best answer. Irregardless of our choice of paper or ebook, the main fact is we are reading. I am a bit of a bibliophile myself and it’s funny I didn’t think my daughter was at one time, but at 18 years old she now often reads just for pleasure.

  2. Auntie C

    It runs in the family, dear. We have 6 bookcases in our living room alone. I will never give up my books. The only ones I ever give away are the ones I really didn’t like. I love to read them over and over again. Some of my favorites are about to fall apart.

  3. I have an e reader. I like it some but I do miss the smell of a new book. I love to crack the spine on one that has never been opened.

  4. Ali

    I concur with your point-of-view. I love physical books so much, the smell, ripped pages, smudges on pages etc. however, I also own a Kindle. Needless to say my Kindle doesn’t get much use and surprisingly I don’t feel so guilty about it. I suppose what it comes down to for me is that I love getting lost in bookstores and with my Kindle I simply scroll through a list of authors – I can’t admire the beauty of their books electronically.

  5. My mother is like you. An avid bibliophile who has more books than she knows what to do with. She reads and re-reads, insists on hardback and generally drives me crazy. lol I like to read quite a bit but like your son, I give them away when I’m done. If I really like it, I might buy multiple copies to give away. I use both a kindle app and paperback. I’m carrying around a book right now while also reading something on my phone. Since I usually have more than one book going at a time and often chasing my children from one place to the next, the kindle is handy. But not as satisfying as a book.

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