Paper or electronic book? What’s your tactile choice?
If you were born before 1980, your memories of reading under the bedcovers with a flashlight were of the paper variety.
The Millennials and Cybirds are wired for digital and many don’t want to read a tome.
Amazon makes it easy for us to go digital, allowing us to download sample pages, and provide instant gratification with “buy now” at the click of a button. And when I do buy digital, I’m reminded why. I don’t have to make eye contact with a snarky clerk who’s snorting over my purchase of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Some, no matter what age, waver between the convenience of technology and tradition.
Have you made the switch to digtal? Or do you vacillate between flipping through paper pages and swiping virtual ones? (If you aren’t actually flipping a digital page, can the book legitimately be called a page turner?)
As a writer and admitted book highlighter, I must confess that the technology behind a digital story has many upsides. I can choose different colors for marking text and make notes in the pages that only I can see. When I wonder how many times Diana Gabaldon has used the word “then” in her classic “Outlander,” I can search it. (Yes, I wonder about things like that.) The answer is over 1000 times for those who are counting, but they are spread among 640 pages.
The look-up function is also a real bonus if you use a device with access to Wi-Fi. Okay, I’m a Baby Boomer. We had encyclopedias growing up, not Wikipedia. Plus, you don’t have to take your eyes off your digital reader to find a dictionary to look up the words like pugnacious, querulous and penury if you reading the “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith, (Shh! You know a.k.a., J.K. Rowling)
But don’t think print is dead yet. Statics show U.S. publishers took in an estimated $2.8 billion from sales of trade e-books in 2015. Impressive, but down 11% from the prior year, according to an Association of American Publishers annual report released this summer. Overall, e-books dropped to 17% of all book sales from 19% the previous year and 21% when compared with 2013.
Some blame technology fatigue, although many people like Kindle’s Paper White, which closely mimics actual paper pages, and Apple iPad’s night mode, which helps combat the insomnia inducing properties of using a lighted screen at night in your dark room. (Mom said the flashlight would do the same thing).
So let’s review …
Pros for paper:
- A tangible item for your money.
- The feeling of accomplishment when see you progress in the number of pages between your bookmark and the end of the book.
- Having a library of books as a resource.
- The smell of paper.(Yes, sometimes it can be moldy if you store them in the garage.)
- Using them as to prop up a weight bench. (Yep, I’ve done this to create an incline.)
Pros for digital:
- The book is just a click away.
- Cost of the book is often cheaper than the real McCoy.
- Many online retailers to choose from.
- Can’t beat it for portability and holding tons of books. (Can you say, “More iCloud storage, please.”)
- No one needs to know whether you’re reading Shakespeare or Sylvia Day.
Paper or electronic? For me, I’ll take both.