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jca's avatar

Do you prefer a traditional book (meaning a paper book) or an electronic book (e book)?

Asked by jca (35984points) July 28th, 2010

are you a traditionalist when it comes to books? or do you prefer a Kindle or other kind of downloadable book?

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32 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

Traditional book all the way.

There is something sensual about books: the look, the feel, the smell, the heft, the space it occupies on a shelf… that just cannot be replaced by electronic media.

knitfroggy's avatar

I haven’t tried a Kindle yet. But I don’t think I would like it. I’ve been a life long lover of reading. There is just something about holding an actual book that I don’t think I could give up. I considered buying a Kindle but I think it’s a novelty that I wouldn’t use long. I love gadgets, but I’m going to refrain from buying one.

Likeradar's avatar

Real book for sure. I want to be able to hold it, feel the pages, notice how an old book smells, look at it on my shelf, highlight and makes notes in it, not worry about if it’s charged…

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m starting to really like my iPad for reading. I can make notes (without being limited to the small space in the margins), search and even do an instant dictionary lookup of any word I don’t know. I agree that there’s something very pleasant about the tactile nature of physical paper books, but the benefits of electronic books/.pdf’s are already beginning to outweigh the joys of the physical book for me. Not to mention, it’s much better for the environment.

I should mention that glare is still a major issue for the iPad in sunlight. That and you probably don’t want to get sand in it at the beach.

Heroworks's avatar

I love the feel of a solid book in my hands. I love going to the library and smelling “that book smell” you know? I just never got into the whole ipad, kindle, nook thing.

knitfroggy's avatar

@Heroworks When I was a kid there was no better smell to me than the library. The picture books smell wonderful. I still love to sit in the children’s section at the library and enjoy that smell while my kids browse.

MacBean's avatar

It depends on where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with, what I’m reading…

I like reading magazines on my Kindle. No ink on my fingers, and nothing to throw away when I’m finished.

When I’m running errands, my Kindle is convenient. I can read while I’m standing in line at the bank or while I’m waiting for my dad to finish filling the gas tank and it takes up much less space in my bag.

When I’m traveling, I can carry hundreds of books with me instead of having to choose just one or two to take along.

I have chronic issues with pain in my hands, so very large books are difficult for me to hold for very long. Kindle makes reading these books for hours on end a possibility again.

But if I’m sitting at home and reading because I have free time and that’s what I feel like doing? Treeware, all the way. E-readers are wonderful but paper books will always be my favorite.

jerv's avatar

Generally a real book. Granted, I like the fact that my laptop and my iPod Touch can hold PDF copies of all of my books, but most of my books are RPG rulebooks which are 8½×11 hardcovers and thus hard to read on most computer screens (doubly so on the iPod). That and it takes longer to flip back and forth; something that may need to be done quickly in a gaming situation.

So it’s a toss-up between legibility and portability. My Toshiba T135 weighs about 4 pounds whereas my GURPS and Shadowrun books combined weight at least ten times that and are far bulkier, and that is not my complete library.

As for normal books, I definitely go for the real book.

kevbo's avatar

I’m having a problem with too many books and not enough shelf space, plus I do so much reading on screens anymore. For someone who once considered books my most important possessions, I have little romantic feelings for them anymore. At the very least, I would put all my nonfiction on an e-reader.

@jerv, you might like the GoodReader app. I just found it last week. It does a nice job of reflowing .pdf text, so it’s a much better reading experience on the iPod/iPhone.

jerv's avatar

@kevbo They don’t have the ability to transfer by USB though, and that is a total deal-killer for me.
Apparently Apple made them remove it, and for that, Steve Jobs can eat flaming horse-cock.

kevbo's avatar

They just issued an update. Is this what you mean? (horse-cock flambé?)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

It depends on what I’m reading. Despite being a life-long lover of reading and books, and enjoying the feel and smell and yada yada yada everyone else has mentioned about real books, the design of the ereader has made it much more comfortable for me to read for long periods of time. I can read in positions I normally can’t (comfy ones, too), I can read for longer amounts of time, I can read with one hand (instead of needing one hold it and one to flip the pages), stuff like that. However, if it’s a non-fiction book, I’ll probably get it as a real book because you can’t really “flip through” an ebook to find that one passage that struck you so much for a paper reference or a dinner party conversation. But for fiction? It’s the way to go for me.

downtide's avatar

I love traditional books. The smell, the feel, everything. But because I have poor eyesight I find e-books easier to read. I wish there was more choice though, and I wish there were e-book “libraries”. I find most e-books way too expensive.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@downtide Yes. An ebook library would be awesome.

Jeruba's avatar

Strictly traditional for me. Hardcover preferred. Aside from the sensual aspect, I annotate them with pencil and, if they’re nonfiction, I also underline and sometimes highlight.

Moreover, despite the number of thing I own that plug in, I don’t trust electrical power and electronic media and I don’t like having them as my only source of anything. We still have a crank-operated pencil sharpener, a mechanical can opener, a Coleman lantern, manual toothbrushes, and an honest-to-goodness old-fashioned portable typewriter on hand. I would not dream of letting my only financial records be online in someone’s database, nor would I let my library become something that can vaporize overnight if the power fails.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Definitely traditional! I’ve never really liked reading long things on a screen.

perspicacious's avatar

I’ll never stop reading real hardback books.

augustlan's avatar

Real books are some of my most prized possessions. I love every single thing about them. But lately, I’ve really started to want an e-reader, too. There are still many books that I’d insist on buying in the traditional form, but for everything else… what a space saver! Also, I frequently run out of things to read, so being able to download something new instantly would be a huge plus. Maybe now that I have a job, I can finally get one!

Austinlad's avatar

I’m a hopelessly incurable gadget guy and got very excited at the idea of e-books. The first thing I bought was a Kindle. I returned it within a couple of days because I didn’t like having to turn pages by pressing a button, plus I had a hard time seeing the type. Then I bought an iPad, thinking I would like being able to turn the pages on-screen. Well, I haven’t finished reading even one e-book. I always wind up going back to the real thing. Guess I’m also a hopelessly incurable real book guy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I still read newspapers. Take a wild guess. :)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I like to sit in my Morris chair with a glass of iced tea and a good book in my hand :)

Cruiser's avatar

Depends on the subject. E-books are fantastic for learning new subject matter as you can surf online to tackle references on the spot. Don’t know something you run across…surf to learn more without getting up.

Flipping pages of a classic while in your hammock is the only way to go!

Frenchfry's avatar

I like traditional but Hardcover. I think it’s worth the extra few cents for hardcover.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Frenchfry All the hardcovers I’ve seen have been roughly twice the price of paperback (before the mass print paperback you can get at WalMart).

Frenchfry's avatar

@papayalily
I pay the price because if I really, really the book I will buy it hardcover… It stays nicer. It looks nicer in my book case.

Berserker's avatar

Traditional all the way please. Nothing like curling up in your couch with a comforter and ghost stories when it’s pissing cats and dogs outside, example. As @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard says, I also enjoy owning them and seeing them in my bookshelf.
I’ve never managed to read entire e books. Not because it’s not interesting, but it’s just not the same whatsoever, and for me it fails to establish that sense of immersion that books do, and that’s why books kick ass to begin with.

gorillapaws's avatar

Out of curiosity, do you guys think that future generations will look back at us and laugh that we like paper books more? Will this be like people who prefer the train to flying because of nostalgia?

Berserker's avatar

They might, but I’m not convinced that the paper book’s end is anywhere near in sight, despite the advent of technology and its every day functions.

MacBean's avatar

Will this be like people who prefer the train to flying because of nostalgia?

Someday, yes. And I, for one, am a proud train rider, and I will be a proud paper book reader in the future.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Totally traditional – I love books.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Also, for my Kindle, I can’t read footnotes or margin notes in it. Sometimes they simply appear as normal text and I’d never know it was really a margin note or a footnote, but other times they simply disappear. The same goes for lots of formatting – if a passage is written in italics, bold, a different typeset, after lots of space, whatever, I can’t see that. So for any kind of creative writing – which most non-fiction books have – it’s better to get the paper. Course, I have no idea if that’s different with other readers.

mattbrowne's avatar

When the Ice Age reaches New York, I prefer the paper-based version of American tax law to keep me warm.

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