Paper and digital and books

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By now, I’ve got a pretty workable time management system that includes both paper and digital devices. I’m not afraid of technology — heck, I minored in computer science in college!

When it comes to reading, however, I’m still behind the digital times. I got a Kindle for Christmas and have yet to buy a book for it, even after reviewing all your thoughtful and intriguing recommendations last week. (Instead, I started my most recent paperback purchase, A Computer Called Leo.) I have a good sense that I’m probably going to go for something like the Mark Twain autobiography, which several of you praised and which is huge and unwieldy in hardback. But I can’t seem to pull the trigger.

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re a paper enthusiast. That’s certainly part of what’s causing me to hesitate: I love books as physical objects. I’m also seized by this irrational and probably retrograde worry that if I can’t see something on my bookshelf, it may not actually be mine — which is strange, since I don’t feel that way about the music, photography, or writing that’s stored in ones and zeroes in my laptop.

Do you own a Kindle and/or share any of these concerns? How did you get over them?

15 thoughts on “Paper and digital and books

  1. I am a huge booklover and swore I would never want or get an e-reader. I majored in English and worked in a bookstore for 17 years. Last Sept. I got a Kindle and I love it, but I still buy books, still go to the library, still go to bookstores, still buy books at second hand stores and garage sales. I look at it as going to the library. When I go to the library I don’t buy/keep the books I read (or listen to), but I still enjoy them. Some books are worth buying and some are just good to check out of the library. I think it’s the same with the Kindle. Some books I want to have and some are OK just to read on the e-reader. Price is a factor- if the price is the same, I will get the book- the real book 🙂

    But I travel and read multiple books at once, so this is heaven sent.

    I could go on, but probably shouldn’t.
    Good luck.
    Jackie

  2. Actually, it was Stephanie who gave me the nudge I needed – she was kind enough to buy me a “copy” of UR, Stephen King’s Kindle novella. I devoured it two nights ago and immediately downloaded all the public domain classics I could get my hands on. The fact that I can bring them all with me on one device is certainly beguiling.

    We’ll see!

  3. It was just about Thanksgiving that I said I would never give up my paper books. I said I saw no reason to ever read a book on an electronic reader. I’ve been on of those survivalist type people preparing for the end of civilization as we know it. Had to have that paper book on the shelf so I could stick it in my survival pack when I left the house in search of food.

    Then I saw the movie Book of Eli – – –

    Fast forward one month. I now have a Kindle 2nd Generation and a multitude of books to read on it. Books I never would have thought about buying in the store, but were free in public domain. I’ve bought some newer titles and old favorites. I am a re-reader of books that I love. Some of my regular re-reads are not yet available in electronic form, but hope is alive that they will be before very long.

    I’m in there with all the rest of you in my love for ephemera, the tactile feel of things, love of paper, love of fountain pens and ink, paper planner (Quo Vadis), Habana’s, Rhodia’s and Clairefontaine papers. Yet the electronic book adds more freedom to where and when I read and what I read. I can reduce the size of the bag I carry when I leave the house and still have the journal, planner, pens and BOOK to read where ever I go.

    So, here I am on the electronic band wagon! Leah, get on line and order that lattest book you been wanting to read and gooo to town with it. :>)

  4. Hello there!
    I love paper, I love pens, and I love reading.
    I’ve had my Nook since May. It’s eink, which is great at the beach and all around the place. I still buy books (keepsake books or for bookcrossing), but I like that an ereader enhances my reading.
    Also, I like not having to haul huge books around, and being able to buy those for under $10.

  5. I love books. I love the feel of a good binding, the fragrance and toothy feel of old paper. The smell of a library is as good medicine as most comfort foods. Just thump the back of a good book. There is no sound quite like it. Flex the fine leather of a Bible and see if your hands are not rewarded. When I was a kid and could only afford the Scholastic paperbacks, I would absent-mindedly rub the top rear corner of the cover until it was soft as suede. I love good books.

    I also love good stories. I’ve discovered that with a good story the book dissapears. I have a Sony Reader PRS 650. It doesn’t have wi-fi, color or make me coffee. It is simply a great electronic book.I found a good leather cover for my Sony Reader for a little tactile pleasure (smells kinda like a baseball glove too.) It holds as many books as I want to keep track of without back strain or overloaded bookshelves. I actually read more often because it is so unobtrusive and convenient.

  6. I’ve been reading ebooks since 1995 when I discovered I could put them onto my Palm Pilot, then my HP IPaq. I was thrilled when I started to see the ads for the Kindle and quickly started researching to see if other companies were making these reading machines. I ended up getting a Cybook Gen3 with the same 6″ screen as the Kindle and haven’t looked back. I got a PocketBook 360 for Christmas with a 5″ screen and it was the best present of the year. Cute little reader that fits in my purse and hold the next 500 books I want to read or re-read. I find the screen that comes on the Kindle to be very easy to read from, just as easy to get lost in a book and nothing like reading a PDF from a computer screen.

    If you aren’t sure what to buy first, you should check out the free eBooks on http://www.gutenberg.org the Kindle or Mobipocket version is the one you want to download.

    By the way I do love books, I have many, many of them in storage as I had so many that my shelves broke and I haven’t been able to get new shelves yet. Having a portable library is almost as good as having one that my friends could borrow from.

  7. Happy New Year Leah.

    Don’t know why, but I’ve yet to pull the trigger on buying a Kindle. We have much smaller houses here in the UK than you do in the US; something about being a tiny island vs. a huge continent. Thus, our houses have even less space to store dead trees than yours, but I still can’t get over the ephemeral nature of ebooks. Utterly irrational, I know. The good people commenting here list lots of good reasons why an ereader makes sense, and think of the trees saved by a Kindle.

    Maybe it’s my age. It’s not aversion to technology; I work as an IT Analyst. Although, maybe it is. Back in the old days reading on screen used to be PDF only for long documents and I hated that. It used to send my eyes funny and frustrate me that I’d have to scroll every page to read A4 or squint. Now I read articles and blogs on a 3.4 inch iPhone screen, so a Kindle should be easy. I just can’t bring myself to stop owning physical books. Maybe it’s the current economic climate. People have seen too many ephemeral things vanish: like nations’ wealth, for example. Now they want things that they can hold in their hands; commodities in other words.

    Or maybe I just have attachment issues. 🙂

  8. I got a Nook for Christmas after much hemming and hawing about the whole paper v. pixels issue, not to mention my already cantilevering pile of book to read by my bed (okay, it graduated to a cantilevering bookcase beside my bed years ago but you get the idea). It turns out, I love reading all my fiction and non-fiction on my e-reader.

    I can enlarge the type so I can read while brushing my teeth or riding my exercise bike. I can read no-handed without having the “book” flop closed on me. I can carry it with me everywhere as it is slim enough to fit in my bag with all my important “work stuff”. And I can carry not just the book I’m reading but a back-up or two, just in case I finish my book before I finish my lunch.

    I can’t believe I’ve already read 3 and a half books since Dec. 26th. Over 3 books in 7 days is probably a record for me. I feel a bit like a traitor because I do love paper, books, bookstores, and secondhand shops so much but not having the weight and space of my voracious habit cluttering up my life may well be the best thing about it yet.

  9. I just got a kindle and love it. It took a bit to get used to but now I don’t notice. Once I am immersed in a book the story takes over and the medium melts away. I long ago gave up buying do to space restriction and the fact that I do not re-read much. I have purchased 2 books and yes it takes a minute to get over not actually having a physical copy but as with Music I will get used to it.

  10. Both my husband and I love to read, and in fact he has a Masters in English Lit…which doesn’t help the book-ownership situation much! We have a 2500 SF house and still have the book storage issue that Stephanie mentioned. We’ve been weeding out for months and it still seems like we have stacks of books everywhere.

    My gut reaction is if it’s a novel or some sort of “frivolous” reading (not that novels are frivolous, hopefully you know what I mean!) it’s fine on the Kindle, but for Big Momentous books like the Twain I’d want it in physical form.

    And then, of course, I realized there was more info with the Kindle version of the Twain!

    I may have to rethink that strategy.

    And ditto on the adjusting font size! I too have that Eyesight of a Certain Age issue. Sigh.

  11. After living 20 years in my tiny 750 sq ft house, I’ve had to start purging and while I hate to admit it, I’ve let go of many, many books. Space considerations aside, I see unread books on a shelf sitting there mocking me. Files on my Kindle are much less obtrusive. I only see them if I click on them. Lastly, I found that my wrists couldn’t take holding large hardback books like they used to. A Kindle solved that, as well as having adjustable font sizing for my bi-focal needing eyes. I’ve been using it for mostly fiction, and I’m reading more now- so that must be a good thing!

    I wrote a blog about this same subject when I first bought my Kindle – http://www.biffybeans.com/2010/09/crying-over-my-kindle-but-trust-me-its.html

  12. Happy New Year to my favorite blog!

    I have both a regular Nook and a color Nook. The color was a christmas present. As far as e-reading is concerned, the old Nook is more like real books. I read almost half of my books last year on it, especially, strangley enough, non-fiction. It rocked on the beach: light, portable, practically hands free. But for fiction, I still like the real deal.

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