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One’s perspective: E-book vs. paper book, pros and cons

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm

This holiday season many people will consider purchasing an e-book for their avid reader.  Consider the merits and virtues of modern electronic books and the traditional counterparts – old-fashioned paper bound books.

As I was growing up there were always books in our home and my mom, who was the avid reader, always instilled in each of us kids love of reading.

Trips to the library during the summer were always my favorite thing. Walking into the cool building and seeing all those books that were just sitting there waiting to be read was like entering Disney World.  I remember the musky smell of the books sitting on shelves along the long rows, the tranquility and quietness of the air and the overall aura of each library room.  I loved walking up and down the aisles running my fingers over each book as I looked in each section trying to decide which book to read. It was my spot in heaven and in it, I discovered many wonderful authors such as Victoria Holt or Kate Chopin, that could have gone unnoticed by me in my lifetime had I not been introduced to the amazing world of books.

In today’s world though, many of us have traded our love of printed books for e-books.

E-books and books are qualitatively different.  The feel of board, cloth and leather is warm and textured compared to the crisp coolness of glass, aluminum and plastic.

With e-books you miss out on the gentle sounds of pages flipping and the sharp smell of a fresh new book or musky scent of an old one along with being able to feel the texture of the printed-paper.

E-books offer the sound of a tap, swipe or click and are relatively sterile with chips and displays.

Yet e-books offer something that good old fashion books cannot. Their weightlessness is a major factor.  Some offer a soft white background for reading at night in bed without disturbing your partner.  In our busy world of today they offer convenience of being able to download a book within minutes without the hassle of sitting in traffic to go the bookstore or library.

Once upon a time we passed down our stories from one generation to another. We carved our stories in rock and brushed them on papyrus or scrolls. Eventually we began to print our stories in bound books. Now we power up an electronic device.

Somewhere along the way we lost the uniqueness of reading a paper bound book and our children have gained volume and the democratization of information. Beauty of the printed book gave way to volume and convenience.

While e-books may be convenient, they just aren’t as good as books in my opinion.

So while you are shopping for that reader in your life, consider buying a bound book to go with that e-book or better yet, take them for a trip to the library.