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Book Reviews, Criticism, Digital Media, Publishing, The Writer's Life

Books v. E-Readers: Personal Pros and Cons

A friend of mine has a Kindle. It is pretty and techno looking, and of course, it is cool. He can download a book and start reading in minutes. I have to go online and then wait a few days. And pay more for the privilege. Plus shipping.

Or go to the bookstore to buy my book, but to me that’s a plus. Non-chain bookstores are generally cool places to hang out.

E-readers are hard things, by nature. A book is soft; even a hardcover book is softer and more tactile.

E-readers save trees. But what rare materials do we strip from M. Earth to create them (or all that other techno junk)?

A book is clean. Ever look closely at the touch screen of your e-reader? Or, ugh, someone else’s? Looks like an oil spill.

E-readers let you lookup unknown words instantly. With a book, you have to get up out of the chair, find the dictionary, flip through pages, and by the time you find the word, you have lost your train of thought and have to go back and reread the last paragraph, so you usually don’t bother in the first place and just read on, missing the real meaning of what you have just read.

Books have been my friends since childhood. E-readers are floozies, pimped by companies whose only interest in books is how much money they can make by selling them. Okay, Big Pub is the same way, but small pub isn’t.

Portability? A book is far more portable. I never worry about jamming a book into my suitcase; I can throw a book onto a chair, or the floor, or off a bridge. Not that I have been to the beach in a couple of decades, but would I bring an e-reader to a sea of sand, knowing a single grain or a puff of salt air might find a seam and initiate a tiny Fukushima? A book? Bury it like treasure. Dig it up. Shake it out. It still works.

A 1960s model book still works as well as it did when it was new. I give your e-reader two or three years before you have to buy another because the old hardware won’t work with the new technology.

If I become lost in a cold, dark woods, my book will make the ultimate sacrifice and allow itself to be burned for my warmth and survival. An e-reader will just sit there and do nothing to help. Self-centered piece of hardware!

Verdict: books still win, in my book.


About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.


3 thoughts on “Books v. E-Readers: Personal Pros and Cons

  1. Totally agree :)

    Posted by littlenavyfish | May 17, 2011, 11:45 AM
  2. Agreed–books still win for me, too. And I just can’t get my mind around the idea of curling up with a good e-reader on a cold, rainy day.

    Posted by Kelly Davio | May 19, 2011, 5:16 PM
  3. Is it okay to like them both? (asked in a whisper…)

    Posted by Sharon M | May 19, 2011, 8:53 PM

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