The e-book war is the new burger war. The Nook, the Kindle, the iPad. Which to pick? But what happened to the good ol’ paper? There are many reasons we might make the choice of pulp over silicon. Here are the reasons I do:
1. The feel of the book in your hand: You might be an anti-spine bender or a dog-earer, but the feel of paper on skin is irresistible. There are pulp pages, and higher-quality pages for trade books. Coffee-table book pages have a much smoother texture. The entire experience of reading is enhanced through the tactile stimulation. We don’t even recognize it, but it’s there. Pickup an expensive children’s picture book and compare it with a cheap children’s picture book. The quality of the paper it is printed on is very different. And it isn’t just a matter of cost. Caldecott winners are almost always on high quality paper. That isn’t to say that higher-quality paper implies a higher quality book. I have plenty of Dover reprints on horribly crappy paper, purchased cheaply, containing invaluable mathematics of 50 years ago.
2. Note taking: They say you can take notes on the Kindle or the iPad, but does it make the same sound as pencil on pulp or have the same flow as the ball? Very much like the feel of the paper, the flow of your pen on that paper affects the experience. If you are a pencil user writing on cheap pulp paper there’s a scratchy tone that contributes to the ambiance. Higher quality paper with a nice Mont Blanc pen makes you feel completely different. Especially while sipping a latte at a Starbucks attached to a Barnes & Noble bookstore.
3. To not Read: I often buy a book that inspires me to do something but I never open it. Just knowing that it is there, full of great information, inspires me to get the job done. I finished a degree in mathematics based on a book titled A Concrete Approach To Abstract Algebra. I never opened the book even once. Having that book as a possible backup gave me confidence. What I really needed was to go to class and pay attention. Oh, and do the homework. The book acted as a security blanket. I carried it with me to class every day in anticipation that I would need to finally crack it open. Luckily, it was a Dover reprint it only cost $8.95. It is still in the attic in a box with all my other math textbooks. I probably should sell it.
4. It is Pretty: Shiny pictures, slick paper and sleek print. Simply pleasurable. Even if you don’t take a Mont Blanc pen to the slick paper, it is enjoyable. A nice coffee table book of all things Texas is the best! The images in a 12 inch wide book are no comparison to any type of display on an electronic device. A book like that is perfect for a cold winter morning drinking a mocha with too much whipped cream wrapped in a Snuggie.
5. The smell: No words for this one, you know what the old book smell is. Okay, there are words. I opened the users manual to my Sirius satellite radio yesterday and caught a whiff of it. It was printed on the same paper as fancy coffee table books… and my high school yearbook! Husband continue to look at me strangely. I usually take in a user’s manual thoroughly before breaking into anything new. But I do it with my eyes, not my nose. The sense of smell is the most powerful sense we have that link is linked to memory. I was enjoying a memory at the same time as learning about my new equipment. Not all books carry a distinct smell. But when you have one that does, you can’t help yourself from enjoying it.
6. Focused distraction: No crazy underlined link things to get you off on a tangent. Just pure-D snuggle on the couch with your coffee and one topic happiness. If I have the ability to be distracted, I will. If I am reading a book on an iPad and come across a word I don’t know, I will open the dictionary app and look it up. While there, I will be reminded of something else that I wanted to look up. I will flip to the Safari app and Google it. Before I know it, I’m no further along in my reading that I was before. If I’m reading a book made of paper, I have no ability to get distracted by other things. I maintain my focus on the one distraction, namely the story I’m reading. If I come across a word I don’t know, I use context to understand it and underline it so I can go back later and look it up.
Conclusion: Reading a book on an iPad, Kindle, or Nook has its benefits, no doubt. There are some things, though, that they just cannot offer.
No hate on ebooks or anything, but there is something very special about a physical book that’s worth celebrating. I’m just putting this here as a reminder to us all to breath deeply as we crack the spine of a brand new hardcover. :)
- Reblogged from vintageanchorbooks