Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Argument Against E-Readers

Yes, it's a strong title to start with, and don't get me wrong I understand the appeal of e-readers; I know how much of a pain it is to drag a huge book around with you. I understand the convenience of going on a vacation and only needing to pack your reading instead of pounds of books. I can't even say I'll never buy one, because I understand that someday it's going to become impossible to not have one. But even so they make me sad because of what I know they're going to do to the book industry.
Chair and Bookshelves
Just look at what's already happened to the music industry with digital music. No it hasn't gone away, but it's definitely changed. Yes, you can still choose to not buy digital music, but stores dedicated to cds are gone. You can still buy them at places like Wal-Mart, Target, or even bookstores, but there's not enough money there to support an entire store. And it's gotten to the point where some cds (like the new Nick Carter one I want) are only released electronically instead of an actual hard copy.

These changes are already starting to happen in the book industry. Borders has gone bankrupt, and how long do you think it will really be before dedicated bookstores actually disapear? As it is the bookstores have huge sections for board games and toys. There will probably still be smaller more indie stores (like Ameoba Records is in L.A.), but giant stores like Borders and Barnes & Nobles will probably disappear in the next decade or so.

I can see the advances that e-books will bring. Imagine going to school without an actual textbook. You're required to read on your reader (and teachers will actually know if you've gone through each digital page). Not only that but homework and tests can be completed on your reader as well. I would have to guess this is the experience my future children will have.

Then there's the fact that with an e-reader (and wifi) you can download any book you want instantaneously. Not to mention it's cheaper for the publishers not to have to print, and it's cheaper for the reader as well.

But with the positives, I love books too much to happily make the change. I love reading a book, love looking at the cover, having it in my own hands, being able to display it on a shelf to show it off to the world, and the smell even. I love that I can go back and read a book whenever I want (assuming I don't lose it), instead of having to worry it my e-reader will fail and lose my entire collection or if a publisher recalls all copies of an electronic book.

As I started out saying, I know e-readers are the future and I know that someday I will own one. But that doesn't mean I can't drag my feet on the way.

Do you have an e-reader? Why or why not? And what are your thoughts on the future of actual books?


  1. My husband had (we lost) a kindle and I used it once on our honeymoon. I thought I'd hate it but really didn't. I wanted to hate it but I couldn't. I wasn't in love and a convert but still. I cannot believe how long the battery lasted too! (not that that is a reason - books never run out of batteries!). The screen was remarkably clear - even in the sun. There was no hand cramping trying to find a position to fold the pages open when you read for hours and it was easy to read. I'd consider buying one in the future if I had the extra cash - as long as my local library rents them!

  2. I actually don't read as much as I'd like to but I was considering buying a Kindle so that I would finally read more. Then I downloaded the Kindle app on my Android, bought a book and have been reading it but when I wanted to go back to an earlier page it hit me that I was sad I wasn't reading an actual book! That weekend we went and loaded up on real books! lol..I'm with you though - I'm sure I'll convert at some point but it will be because I HAVE to!

  3. This is such an interesting topic-- I'll be interested to hear what others think! I got a Kindle for my birthday last year, and I am in love with it. This doesn't mean that I'm about to give up reading books in print (hello, the library is still free, and Amazon doesn't allow for borrowing on the Kindle just yet), nor does it necessarily mean that bookstores or publishers are in trouble. Publishers are able to make a reasonable amount of money and are able to save on whatever printing might cost-- while the music industry suffered at the advent of the mp3, I haven't seen much evidence of book piracy. In the case of brick-and-mortar bookstores, I'd have to say that I don't think they're threatened any more than a Macy's is threatened by the fact that they do online sales (both B&N and Borders, may they rest in peace, do/did online sales-- Borders, at one point, even sold through Amazon!). People want reading to be a social experience, they like to browse, and they like to pass books on to I don't think bookstores are going anywhere. There are many advantages to having a e-reader, but ultimately the best part of the whole debate is this: I don't HAVE to choose my Kindle over books or vice versa. I can have both! (Sorry this ended up being so long-winded!)

  4. I have a Nook and I hardly ever use it. In fact, I let a friend borrow it the other day, that's how much I don't really care. I should probably just sell it to someone or something.

  5. I love books but I also love my Kindle. There are still some books I HAVE to have in book form. Books that make a big impression on me, books that I know I will reference, cookbooks and beautifully designed books. :-)

    That being said, for my everyday trivial reading, the Kindle rocks. It saves me a bit of money and it makes it so easy to pick up and go with my reading.

  6. I am so with you on this! We have a bookshelf FULL of books like the one you have pictured in our bedroom & another in brad's studio (my husband's music room). We also have a small one in the living room. We LOVE to read. I always say i couldn't deal w/ an e-reader, b/c i love looking at the cover, feeling the pages, turning the pages, etc! I also like reading in the bathtub & i'm pretty sure you shouldn't do that w/ a kindle. ;)

    My husband got a Kindle this week... he was so against them before. I always thought HE should get one, as he is always carrying around WAYYY too many HEAVY books at a time... A kindle would be good for him. But for me? Well, i read 1-2 books MAX, mostly novels. And i like the "book experience". :)

    But i have held his kindle & kinda fooled around with it & i liked it more than i thought i would. I'm *kinda* wanting one, but i would miss real books too much! Haha.

  7. I am with you. I just love the feel of a book. I am sure that one day I will cave and go to a Kindle or other device, but for now, I am sticking with books!

  8. I have an e-reader (Kindle) but I love books so will always buy the actual books as well...I hope they never go away!

  9. I have a Nook. I bought one last fall. My family had been telling me to get one for a long time, but I kept resisting. I am so glad I bought one, though. For me, I like the portability of it. I like that i Have access to 1,000's of books when I am on vacation and don't have to worry about packing 4-5 books in my suitcase! Also, I am very constrained on space. My book shelves are over flowing and I have books in boxes in my storage space, so I couldn't justify buying more books since I didn't have room for the ones I had.

    That said, I still buy the occasional book. I think I always will. I don't thikn books will fade away like physical cd's have, though. I think there will always be a demand for books in print. Esp textbooks. I can not imagine electronic textbooks. I would HATE that. I had the option of doing e-books for the CFA materials and there was no chance I was going to do that!

  10. I love reading paper books. I just can't break down and buy a Kindle. Hubs has an iPad and I don't like reading on it.

  11. Hi, there. :)

    I bought a Nook a few months back, and it's fun to add things to it and be able to read them right away. It's easy to hold, and easy to carry.
    It's... okay.

    The thing that I really hate about it is the inability to mark up my favorite passages (yes, I do write in my books!). I know that you can "highlight" things, but it's darn near impossible to find those passages once you've done so.

    And it's also difficult to flip back to a certain page if you need to.

    I definitely prefer books (for many of the reasons you stated), and I really don't think I'll choose the Nook over the book. It's just a handy supplement for me.

  12. I would buy a Kindle if I traveled more. I can see how it would be easier than lugging and possibly lose a real book. But with my current travel habits, a real paper book is fine with me.
    Much like newspapers and the internet I think some books and booksellers will go away but I don't think that print books will ever completely fade away.

  13. I do have an e-reader and I really like it. That said, I read regular books most of the time. It's easier on my eyes and just feels more "right." I wonder if the next generation will feel the same though.

    Also, thanks for the comment on my post about responding to comments. I usually like responding to comments on people's blogs, but I sometimes email them too. Thank you so much for telling me that I didn't have my email listed on my profile. It drives me crazy when people's emails are missing from their profile and here mine was missing and I didn't even realize it!
    I've thought about switching to the commenting system where you can directly reply to comments within the blog. I should look more into it.

  14. I don't have an ereader and I don't plan on buying one anytime soon or until I have to. I love real books. I love going to the bookstore and looking at all of them and flipping through the pages. My mother has been in the book industry for over 28 years and it's completely changing and it's sad.

  15. I see this type of post on lots of blogs and I always say the same thing. I don't feel like I need to pick just one. I love my Kindle and I love my real books. The benefit of my Kindle is that I can literally take my entire book collection with me wherever I go (and I do re-read a lot of books) AND my most precious favorite books are safe at home. It also helps the buildup of clutter - I only keep the books I adore. I grew up with a fabulous mom and pop book store called Farley's where the employees knew a ton about books and could recommend things based on your taste. I find at Barnes and Noble and Borders they just look up stuff on a computer which I can do at home.

    I feel like I should mention that I'm also a HUGE reader (52 books since January 1). So I get a lot of use out of my Kindle. Out of the books I've read so far this year, I think most of them were freebies. So my kindle is actually saving us money - trips to the library (especially when the library doesn't have the book I want) or the bookstore.