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E-books: Digital deception?
Marc Poliquin
Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 11:27 AM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 67

Hi, all.  I have a Kindle. It will never replace a physical book, in my opinion, but I enjoy reading on it. I enjoy the convenience. Lately, however, the fact that I'm not purchasing a book, but the license to read said book on my e-reader (as I understand it) has me wondering if we've sacrificed something for the sake of convenience. How do you feel about it? 



Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 3:15 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

That's an interesting question, for sure!

Personally, I read both ebooks and physical books, and the choice of format depends on several factors. 

Price: If there is a special promotion, I'll go with the format that's discounted. 

Convenience: If it is a humongous book (e.g., an epic fantasy the size of GAME OF THRONES), I'll probably go the e way. Also, sometimes I'll hear about a book and will want to have it NOW; I'll buy the ebook again. Recently, I've been also enjoying the search function. In books with a big cast of characters, it's handy to be able to search the name of a character and be reminded of who they are in the book. Let's not forget NYC subways. I read on my phone when I ride the train; holding a physical book is kind of inconvenient when I'm standing and sandwiched between a bunch of people. 

Value: There are certain books that I know I'll reread, so I definitely want a physical copy. Or, to be honest, I want to have that book displayed on my shelf! Or, I really believe in the book and want to be able to lend it to friends. I loove lending books =). 

True, ebooks aren't tangible, and sometimes I finish an ebook and wish I'd bought the physical copy, but then I wonder, what happens if I move to another city? I probably won't be able to keep all of my physical books... Print books aren't always "forever."

My 2 cents!

Marc Poliquin
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 3:36 PM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 67

Excellent answers. I agree with your point about humongous books. I bought Joe Hill's new book in hardcopy and reading that doorstop in bed really puts your face at risk when you doze off and lose your grip on it. Should've bought an electronic version of that one.
GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013 2:32 PM
There are essential books and we all have our own list of what those are to us. All others can be written on a slow wind so far as I am concerned. But books that I'll return to over the years must be hard copies.

Besides a good book will last longer than a Kindle ;p
Marc Poliquin
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 11:32 AM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 67

There is another aspect to physical books that I feel can never matched by an e-reader, and that is the time machine aspect. I have books on my shelf, their covers faded and creased and tattered, that transport me back to specific moments in my past.  I can pick it up, stare at the artwork, run my thumb over the pages, and I'm instantly twelve and at my cottage and it's the start of an endless summer.  

Carl E Reed
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 12:56 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608

Timely and relevant thread; great comments!

Both digital and physical books have their special charms, utilitarian uses and sublime joys, eh?


I think of e-books this way: They're like a cold, slightly-bored but technically-proficient sex worker who does exactly what you want, when and where you want it--so long as you've paid a premium price up front for the customized experience and convenience.

A physical book is like a beloved wife: A bit age-worn and perhaps slightly-foxed around the edges; mayhap with loose binding and well-thumbed end-papers. But when you take her in hand (ahem . . .) you experience anew the sublime joy of a deep emotional and intellectual bonding--a gestalt of pleasures tactile, cognitive and spiritual--that can never be duplicated by the idiot hum of machinery and its concomitant electronic spiritus vitae. 

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 4:49 PM
Joined: 2/21/2013
Posts: 40

Very eloquent, Carl!

While I feel that the generations brought up on laptops and tablets will inclined toward e-books as matter of habit, just as we of the pre-PC age lean more easily toward the tradition book, it is worth highlighting that there is a trade-off between e-books and hard-copy books in terms of their technology. To assume, as many do, that e-books have a clear technological edge is, I think, naive. Very briefly, e-books have the edge in delivery, transport, weight and storage (no warehouses, back packs, or bookshelves needed), regular books have the edge in battery life (none needed), technological endurance (no need to pay for a software of hardware upgrade every couple of years, and breakability. Usability may be a dead heat. It's hard to leave back and forth in an e-book and the hard edges of the reader make it less. Breakage and theft are bigger problems with e-book readers ( hard copy books are hard to break, e-readers are relatively delicate, replacement of the e-reader is equal to the cost of several books. Also, marketing is a bigger challenge with e-books precisely because there is no hard copy to put in windows or on tables (how do author book signings work with e-books?). And though buying books electronically is easy, it is going to be hard to replace the book-shop browsing experience. My guess is that genre will be fairly determinative. Textbooks will go electronic while literary works with be mostly hard copy. Romance and fantasy (to the extent they are throwaway books) may go electronic, too, but classics and coffee table  books won't. And so on.
Andrea Matthews
Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 12:26 AM
Joined: 6/8/2013
Posts: 25

Being a librarian, I feel I have to weigh in on this one - it's my sworn duty!  Of course, I love the feel of a book in my hand, the smell of a brand new edition, the crisp pages.  I like the fact that I can skim through the pages and flip back to check a fact I think I missed.  However, e-books are the wave of the future, and we in the library world are all too aware that we have to keep up with modern technology if we want to survive. 
    So I have an e-reader and do use it for reading. (Though I have to admit the first year I had it the only thing I did with it was play Suduko!)  Anyway, I find it is convenient when traveling, and I like the fact that it slips right in my bag.  The ability to change the font size is a good attribute as well.  However, I find it harder to flip back and forth to check facts, characters etc, and of course, I do miss the feel of the actual book.
     Do I think books will ever be completely replaced by the e-book?  I certainly hope not.  Both formats have good and bad qualities, and I think there is room for both to live side by side in perfect harmony.  It seems to be working at the library's in my neck of the woods, and I hope it will continue to do so. After all, what are we going to put on those book shelves if we don't buy a few books!  

Marc Poliquin
Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 7:35 AM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 67

And let us not forget about the hardcover or paperback's ability to prop up a coffee table or bed frame.

Laura Dwyer
Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 3:50 PM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192

Hi, gang! I must reply to this thread. As the owner of too many actual books to count, as well as a Kindle, I love both for totally different reasons. As others pointed out, I love the feel of a book in my hands and the satisfaction of seeing the open crease move as I progress through the story. I love the portability of my Kindle. There are cons to both as well - I ran out of storage space for my beloved books and had to give some away. My Kindle has been dropped enough and loved enough that it's cracked beneath the page turning buttons. I get nervous about losing my Kindle and no longer having the immediate access to all of the books stored on it. But I love that I don't need to show the world I'm reading a trashy romance! 

I will always have books. But until I accumulate more storage space for them, it's the Kindle life for me. 

Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 6:48 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

Marc Poliquin wrote:
There is another aspect to physical books that I feel can never matched by an e-reader, and that is the time machine aspect. I have books on my shelf, their covers faded and creased and tattered, that transport me back to specific moments in my past.  I can pick it up, stare at the artwork, run my thumb over the pages, and I'm instantly twelve and at my cottage and it's the start of an endless summer.  


Ah, so true. It's so nice to go back to the books I read in college. I used to be very "irreverent" toward my books, and cover the pages with notes & reflections. Such notes become part of the Book, and when I page through it now, not only do I relive the experience of reading the Book, but also the experience of who I was back then and what I thought and felt at the time. So meta...




Posted: Friday, January 3, 2014 1:48 PM
Joined: 1/3/2014
Posts: 1

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