Which do you prefer: traditional hard copy books or eBooks?

I am a book lover. I mean, obviously I love reading books but I also like the books themselves, as objects. I like flipping through the pages. I like being surrounded with them. And when I'm feeling snooty and I happen to be reading a book in a public place, I enjoy deluding myself that other people are awed by the sight of me reading and are thinking to themselves, "Wow, what a beautiful and literary girl!" I know that in reality probably no one even notices me, ever, and if they do it's probably because I spilled my coffee everywhere or accidentally showed the stripper shoes stuffed into my bag when I reached in to grab a massive wad of ones to pay the cashier. Um, embarrassing.

But anyway, although I love books, I have to admit I am tempted by eBooks. Since I can read them on my iPhone, which I carry with me everywhere all the time, having an eBook means I am not adding any additional weight to my already very heavy bags. More importantly, I am seduced by the convenience and immediacy of eBooks. Is there a book you just HAVE to start reading at three in the morning? The bookstore is closed by now, but don't worry, the internet is open for twenty four hours!! Not to mention sometimes I like to read books that I cannot find in stores. Sure, of course I could order a hard copy of the desired book from Amazon or something, but that means I may have to wait TWO WEEKS to get it. And that two weeks certainly does feel like a long time.

Right now I am considering buying The Art Lover by Carole Maso as an eBook. I know from previous experience that I cannot find any books by Carole Maso at the local bookstores, so I'm not even going to waste my time with that. I already know it's available as an eBook (or really and iBook) for my iPhone. But I see a picture of the book on Amazon, and I really want to stare lovingly at a hard copy of this book as it sits on my coffee table while I take a break from reading to eat some delicious snack. BUT THEN AGAIN, I feel like I need to read this book RIGHT NOW. Would it be really unnecessary to buy the eBook, and then also a hard copy from Amazon?

Serious questions.

Tags: books, ebooks, shopping

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I asked this question on another site a few months ago before buying my Kindle. Now having used both I can comment. 

The only thing really better about old fashioned books is that you can quickly go back a few pages to look at something. You can do that on Kindle, and even search by word or character, but it often seems easier with real books just to flip back a couple pages. Plus you can look at two pages at once in a real book, and can't really do that on a Kindle. Another benefit of real books is durability;   I'm not worried about real books falling off my bed or out of my hand and breaking. And yes, real books often look cool just sitting there. So the actual experience of reading a book is probably at least slightly better than reading an Ebook. The feel is a little better. 

But overall, Kindle wins. You can carry around a huge library on a small tablet. The books are cheaper, and you can often find many for free. Kindle also has a display technology that is easy on your eyes, like reading a real book. So it doesn't strain your eyes the way that a computer or phone screen does. I would never read books on a iphone, the screen is too small and the glare is bad for your eyes. The Kindle also allows you to highlight words immediately and get a dictionary definition pop up. It has a built in dictionary. It also allows you to highlight passages and add your own notes to them. Also allows you to share those passages through things like Facebook.

I would recommend a Kindle Paperwhite, which is what I have. It's only like $120. Also use the free Calibre program to organize your books.

I am a Kindle girl through and through. I move and travel a lot, and my monstrous book collection was not conducive to either. I love how portable a Kindle is and that I can get a new book instantaneously. It doesn't strain my eyes the way an iPad would thanks to the e-ink technology or whatever. I love how I have all of my books with me and can choose to read literally any book in my library whenever I want, as opposed to being out and about and wishing I had brought a certain book out with me. Kindle versions of books are often cheaper, and then all the books that are in the public domain are free, which is a nice plus.

I don't annotate books, but the Kindle has features where you can highlight text, look words up, add your own notes, and all that stuff. I've played around with those features and they seem straightforward enough, but I don't really use them very often.

See this makes sense: if I were traveling or whatnot then a kindle would come in handy, especially on long flights. And taking notes for classes would be easy because I would feel guilty for writing on the pages!

I love my books. I just don't get the same feeling when I am not holding that book in my hand and flipping through pages. I also, depending on the book, enjoy writing in the margins.  The only time I use ebooks is when it is for a  purpose like getting assigned to write a book review, because I don't have  a say in that. But it is just not the same. Also I love my local bookstores so it would kill me to abandon them. I like finishing a book, closing it, and placing it back on the shelf with it's buddies. 

I much prefer books for a magnitude of reasons. I'm a fan of those little quirks about books: the new book smell, the old book smell, the feeling of the paper especially with books that are really old; things like that. I can see the benefit of digital books but I can't focus when I'm reading a screen; I don't absorb what I'm reading as good and it just feels so impersonal (I know that must sound odd but it's the best way of describing it). I haven't got a kindle or anything but I don't feel like I'm missing out; I'm quite happy with my book collection!

I prefer owning books--as evidenced by the large stack of books on my floor that I've run out of shelves for...

BUT, for traveling, even just the commute to work... eBooks win. I had a Nook, but switched to an iPad since I wanted more internet capabilities on the road. But my younger sister is heading off to college and super excited about having my nook now.

If I really like an eBook, I'll buy the print copy.

This. Everything you just said. I would rather own books, but I'm wooed by the sheer practicality of reading on my tablet. Books I fall in love with eventually get purchased as physical books.

I feel like I'd love an eReader if I had one to use consistently, but in my limited interactions with one, I haven't been overly impressed. Personally, I'd rather have a tablet computer with an ereader app than a single purpose ereader. That said, there's something about having a physical book that I've always liked.

That's what I do -- I have Nook and Kindle apps on my Xoom. (I prefer the Nook app.)  I find most ereaders are more friendly to read on than the tablet but it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have a separate device, particularly since practicality is the only reason I read ebooks in the first place.

I almost wish I had purchased a tablet instead, for the multi-purpose factor.  That being said, I already had a laptop and really either an e-reader or tablet is something extra so it starts to become a bit ridiculous anyway. 

I think ebooks are the devil. I am absolutely terrified that brick and mortar bookstores will disappear in my lifetime- like, I've actually lost sleep over it. Spending time in bookstores is one of my greatest pleasures in life, and ebooks are ruining it.

as a writer, and someone who's formerly worked at a small press, this is a legitimate concern... But I don't think it'll happen. eBooks are still a luxury item and the technology isn't at a point where it's advanced enough and cheap enough to be accessible. I'd be more worried about the post office.


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