Books Books Books

This weeks Mind the Gap challenge is How do you prefer to read, with an eReader like a Kindle or Nook, or with an old school paperback in hand?

I’m still old school. I read heavy paper bound books.

Reasons I don’t have an e-reader:

1. I’m poor.

That’s it really. I don’t want to have to spend money just for a way to read books. I can borrow books from the library for free and I do all the time. The library allows me to read anything I want for no cost at all. Fortunately, I live in Los Angeles, which has a huge central library containing nearly everything ever written, so that is a viable option for me.

Reasons paper books are better:


1. I can loan them out.

My friends and I have an informal book trading group. I’ve found a ton of great books that way. One of us will buy it and if it’s deemed worthy, it will make the rounds. If it’s deemed excessively worthy, we will all buy our own copies. You can’t loan e-books. I checked.

2. Paranoia.

No one is tracking what I read right now other than the public library and they don’t use my information for anything besides budgets. I have a hard enough time with Amazon tracking my purchasing habits to offer me up recommendations for printer ink. The last thing I want is Amazon recommendations on what to read, which would happen if I bought e-books from them.

3. You don’t have to plug them in.

I’m terrible about charging things. My phone and electronic cigarette die all the time because I forget to plug them in. I can only imagine the frustration of getting into a book only to have it crap out on me. I’m already running low on electrical outlets in my room.

4. If you drop them, they don’t break.

I can’t tell you how many time I’ve dropped my cell phone. I’d hate to spend several hundred on another thing I have to worry about dropping.

5. You don’t have to turn a book off on an airplane.

But you do have to turn off e-readers. At least right now, you do. I would imagine they’ll probably fix that eventually.

6. Easy recall.

I have a terrible memory and I have to refer back in books a lot. Strangely, my memory won’t recall what was written, but it will recall generally where. My brain won’t remember who a character was, but it will tell me where to look for it: “That character appeared roughly twenty pages back on the bottom left of the page.” Thank you, brain. That would be lost with an e-reader.

7. I like the feel, smell and heft of books.

I just do. I like seeing exactly where I am in a book at a glance.

Reasons e-readers are better:


1. Selection.

If you don’t live in one of the largest cities in the world, your library might be lacking. If that was the case, you could purchase e-books cheaper than traditional books.

2. You can carry multiple books.

If you are one of those people that reads twenty books at once, this would come in handy. I am not. I read one at a time.

3. E-readers are lighter and take up less room than books.

If you’re going on vacation, it might be easier to pack one e-reader and one charger than a bunch of heavy books.

Reasons I’d probably use both:

1.  If I had an e-reader, I would use it for traveling probably. If I ever went on vacation, which I don’t really.

2. If anyone would like to buy one for me, I’ll gladly test it out.

There are 26 comments

  1. becomingcliche

    My used bookstore has used e-readers, as well. I bought mine with store credit. It was like trading 20 books for 100, as it came pre-loaded with classics. Totally worth it. But it is hard to find e-books at my library. Publishers are restricting how many files they can own and how often they can lend them out, so there’s always a waiting list. Paper still wins for me!


  2. Threnody's Child

    I read on my Kindle, which I’ve had for three years now. My first one was a gift, but I am about to order a new one from Amazon, just because the newest (basic) model is lots lighter and smaller than my original one. I get your reasons for preferring actual books, but I wanted to point out just a couple of things for you to consider:

    1. You mentioned “several hundred dollars” a couple of times…the basic, just-a-reader Kindle from Amazon is only $69. No subscription, no additional fees…it connects via wifi, so as long as you’re somewhere that you can connect, you can download new books. The wifi doesn’t have to be on to read, so your time “online” on the e-reader is minimal.

    2. In regard to loaning out books…you actually can loan books to others. It’s a little bit more convoluted than just handing the book to your friend, but with the Kindle, you can access your library through and, using an email address for your Kindle (which is provided by Amazon), you can send and receive books. The only downside of Amazon is that they only allow you to use one format, whereas the Nook accepts several different formats. I have a friend who is constantly sending me books from her library to read, and they remain mine to keep, until I decide to delete them.

    3. And finally, the “recall” reason. In my Kindle, I can bookmark, highlight, and make notes on specific passages, quotes, or lines in the book. These are saved in a file for easy and quick recall. You can also search via a character’s name, a place, or just about anything else.

    Another really huge advantage, in my opinion, to using an e-reader, is that if I happen upon a word I don’t know – which is rare, but does happen now and then – my e-reader allows me to maneuver the cursor to the word and, using the built-in dictionary, will tell me what the word means. Comes in handy. Plus, a LOT of authors publish their first novels on Kindle for free, to build a readership bases, and every now and again, these books turn out to be really good! In general, books are cheaper on the e-reader, too, than buying them in hardback or paperback in stores. Not, obviously, cheaper than the library, so there is that.

    Just my two cents…hope you get a chance to experience the joy of e-reading. It changed my life. I have read authors and genres that I probably never would have read before, just because of the easy access to them…oh, and you can read excerpts from pretty much any book for free, to see if you like it before you buy it.


    1. goldfish

      Thanks for the info. I’m not opposed to e-readers; I’ve just never used one.

      1. $69 is still more than I’m willing to part with just as a way to read books. I have an endless supply of books from the library at zero cost. I guess, in addition to being poor, I’m cheap. ;)
      2. That was not the case last I checked. You couldn’t loan e-books at all a year or two ago.
      3. That’s a nice feature, but I don’t know what it is usually that I’m going to forget in order to annotate it. The search and lookup function would be nice though.


  3. Jeni

    Ah!I totally understand — and share — that spatial memory thing when it comes to books. With e-books I can do a text search, but you’re right … not the same.


  4. Sofia Leo

    Love my Kindle! Wasn’t sure it would be The Bomb, but once I started filling it up with classics and other free stuff I was hooked. I like the small size and portability. And if a book turns out to be a dud and I’m waiting somewhere, I simply delete the dud and load up another book – no need to carry a spare “just in case.”

    My library has a pretty large selection of Kindle books for loan and more coming out every day, so that’s not a hardship.

    You might consider how much you spend in fuel to get you to and from the library when you calculate how “free” the library books are…

    Having just the basic model, pictures are impossible, so I check anything with illustrations out at the library.


    1. goldfish

      Honestly, I haven’t bothered to see what my library has available in ebook loans since I don’t have a reader. They probably have a fair number, but not as many as real books.

      Oh, and the library is one block from my house. :)


  5. apprenticenevermaster

    I own a Kindle, and I use it occasionally. I’ve had it a little over a year and I think I’ve read all of a dozen books on it. I’m still in love with hard copy books. For me, it’s the weight of the paper. I couldn’t get over not being able to tell how far I was in the book by the shifting weight while I was using an e-reader.


  6. twistingthreads

    My father called one day shortly before Christmas and asked me how I’d feel about an e-reader. “Oh,” I said, “I really prefer real paper. I suppose they have their uses, but (insert list of personal reasons), so I would never buy one.”

    He had already bought it. It was in the mail. Oops. If I ever go on vacation and have time to do my own thing (instead of catching up with someone I haven’t seen in years) I guess I plan to load it with research books and whatnot. There is a massive dictionary collection of very old words that I’ve downloaded, since it is past copyright. If I wanted the old prints, it would cost me thousands to own them. There are also lots of old books with expired copyrights that are no longer easy to find or in print, or classics, that might be nice to have without waiting for someone to decide it would be profitable to print them again. So, I’m trying to make the best of the gift. If I could get around to cleaning my house and find it, I might actually use it. Sorry, Dad.

    My parents do not usually buy me fancy gifts. I felt very spoiled, and rather horrible for not being more grateful. If I am ever very rich and can afford to ship off e-readers to the deserving I will consider sending you one through some sort of round about shipping program (I know you do not like to reveal personal information, but we’ll deal with that if I ever win the lottery/write a best seller/whatever).


  7. jonathanhilton

    I also love a book, but you hit the value of an E reader for me, living in a rural area, the library is not around the corner. I never could have read all that I have read and learned from with out it. The bad part about Kindles is that they do break. During the first year Amazon replaces it no problem, but after that you could have to spend more. I am on my fourth one right now. But being able to read and learn is well worth it. Thanks for the great thoughts.


    1. goldfish

      Yeah, if I didn’t live one block from one of the largest library systems in the country, I might consider it more.

      I’m terrible at not breaking things. For at least a little while, my brain would probably still think of an e-reader as a book and I’d throw it down somewhere thinking it was a book and break it.


  8. Corner of Confessions

    The only reason I have an e-reader is because my brother bought it for me as Christmas gift. I do like the e-reader but i prefer paperbacks. In fact, since I’m always broke, when i actually do have money I would buy the paperback over the ebook. I only use my e-reader when I’m re-reading a series so I don’t have to pull out half a dozen books. Or if I”m visiting/vacationing and will need a big supply of books without having to carry the weight load. I rarely go the library because I’m kind of a hoarder when it comes to books and I like to have every book in a series. Plus, my local library is very small and the selections aren’t great …they do have a inter-library exchange program but you have put in a request and wait weeks. With all that waiting I can just save my pennies and then eventually buy the book. Which i would end up doing anyway.


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