E-Books vs. Real Books: A Fight to the Death?


When people see me in a book store, coffee shop, or library reading on my Nook they make strange assumptions about me.

Assumptions about girl with Nook A.K.A an E-reader:

1. I hate bound paper books.

2. I’m not a ‘hardcore’ book nerd

3. I must know a lot about technology.

4. I play games, watch movies, and do everything except for read on my Nook.

5. I prefer the Nook to any other reading device.

None of the above is true.

Before I get into my feelings about eBooks vs. real books let me explain to you how I got started with an e-reader.

It all started my freshman year of college. My lovely neighbor and fellow bibliophile had just bought a Kindle. She knew how much I loved books and was trying to figure out what to do with her Sony e-reader. After a brief conversation with my mom she sold me her Sony for fifty dollars. I will go as far as to say that was the best fifty dollars I ever spent. (Thanks Val!)

The Sony e-reader was simple and effective. The Sony store was limited, but worked well enough for my needs. My need, at the time, was a lighter backpack and a quicker way to access books.

As an English major I carried around about five books a day and I’m not counting my notebooks. I would carry anything from a Complete Works of Shakespeare in hardcover to thin paperbacks. The e-reader literally lightened my load.

My love only grew for the e-reader as new devices came on the market. The Nook Color was my next gift. The Nook Color promised a faster response to turning pages, a back light, magazines in full color, and an instant bookstore. This was English major heaven!

This past Christmas I was gifted the Nook HD. I absolutely love it; it’s essentially the same thing as my Nook Color, but brand spanking new and faster.

That’s my history. Let’s get down to the preference.

My preference among E-readers: I don’t have one.

People see my Nook and automatically assume that I have customer loyalty toward the brand. I don’t. The only reason I have continued to invest in Nook products is because that is the device I am most familiar with. I also like the idea that I am supporting a physical store. I like to go to Barnes and Noble and read any book for free (not just the ones in store, but any book published with Barnes and Noble).

Honestly, if I were to encourage anyone to get an e-reader my only advice would be to know your needs and buy according to them. I don’t do a lot of reading outside, but I do read a lot at night so I wanted something with a backlight. I don’t play with many apps or stream anything on my Nook so I didn’t need the 16g or HD+. I asked for the HD because my Color was five years old and no longer held a charge as well as it used to.

I know what you hardcore book readers are going to say- Books don’t need to be charged! Hold your tongue, we are getting there!

With all of that settled, let’s talk about eBooks vs. Real Books.

My Preference? I don’t have one.

I love books. I love books in any form. An eBook is as real of a book as a paper book is.

I still enjoy the smell of a musty old book. I still enjoy the glossy cover of a brand new book. I’m still infinitely aggravated by the floppy dust covers of hardbacks. I still buy tangible books. I just don’t buy them as often.

You could say that I have a preference toward eBooks, but that would only be true at the moment.

I buy eBooks because I am in a stage of my life where one word can detail my entire life: LOW.

I am low on time. I work, I write, I am planning a wedding, I read, I have friends, and I have obligations. I don’t always have time to go to a bookstore, but I always have a book store at the tips of my fingers.

I am low on patience. Why wait to go to the store when I can have it now? Am I right?!

I am low on funds. A brand new book can be $25! The most I’ve paid for a brand new eBook is $15! Publishers do tons of promotions on eBooks as well. I bought all three Hunger Games novels for $9.99.

I am low on space. I hardly know what to do with all of the books I have already accrued in my life! All of my eBooks fit conveniently inside my Nook and that Nook slips nicely inside my purse.

Tangible books are beautiful. When I have a few more book shelves and a little more money I plan to purchase some of my favorite books to fill them with. Namely the Penguin graphic covers of classics, those are drool worthy!

I love gifting people with beautifully designed books.

There is a kind of art about the text, cover, paper quality, and design of a book.

A display of books in someone’s home says a lot about them. Having a bookcase says ‘hey, I read, look at all that I read!’ And yes, I do judge you by your book shelves.

I love used books. I especially love it when they come with inscriptions in them. I bought The Phantom of the Opera in High School from a used book store and was infinitely entertained by the lovely inscription inside that told the original owner it was purchased because the giver knew how much she loved the musical. Turned out she hated the book. Or died. Or needed money to support her drug habit.

Moving on.

What this debate comes down to is lifestyle, not whether or not you truly love books or technology more.

Books are timeless.

Reading is good.

I don’t think either books or eBooks are going to go extinct. I don’t think anyone has to worry about the availability of books dwindling. And I don’t know why people always feel the need to make me feel like I have to choose a side, books or technology.

Honestly, whether someone is reading on paper or on a computer screen I really don’t see the problem. I just want people to keep reading.

How do you read? Do you have a preference? Let me know in the comments!

As always like, comment, and share!


2 thoughts on “E-Books vs. Real Books: A Fight to the Death?

  1. Lauren, I remember a lovely gift you and your family bought for me. It was a ceramic book with the pages open. The page that was visible had an inscription about librarians and their love of books. I was a school librarian for many years. The ceramic is still on my window sill and proudly displayed! xoxoxo from one English Major to another!

  2. I use a kindle for reading and find it incredibly convenient, I like reading on it and enjoy the feeling of being able to get books instantly (I’m a very impatient person 😀 ), but that does not mean I don’t like real books. I, in fact, love real books, the feel and smell of them and something to hold. I am more of an e-reader now just because I find it easier. I love your quote at the top, and totally agree. Great post!

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