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today i’m looking for your insight. do you like using digital readers or prefer old fashioned hard copy books?

i’ve been tempted to explore new readers like the nook, kindle or ibook, but something about them just doesn’t settle with me. see, i like to flip through the pages of a book with my fingers, doggie ear the corners and make notes in the side columns. and to me, there’s just something about placing a well loved book on a shelf to refer back to again and again. i like to have a library, i think books are beautiful. it is for this same reason that i prefer to purchase my books rather then get them from the library, i want to call them my own and keep them forever (though, i do try to purchase used books). plus, i found this article on our health and wireless waves a bit concerning. also, if i used a digital reader, i wouldn’t be able to use cute bookmarks like these!

so what’s your opinion? do you use a digital reader? do you like it, or not? i can definitely see where there would be certain advantages. for instance, i’m sure airplane and vacation reading would be much easier (and much lighter). and it might be easier to find passages, if you can search for a specific word or phrase. i would like to hear which you prefer, and if you’ve tried a digital reader- what do you think of it?

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22 comments

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  • I could never give up my real books. I love picking them up and randomly flipping through the pages, smelling them, having a stack on my nightstand, and seeing my penciled notes in the margins.
    A digital reader seems so *practical* – but I want more romance and sensual experiences in my life, not less.

  • angie- well put! that’s how i feel as well. i look at a screen so much during my day as it is, that i like to look at something concrete when i can. love the way you phrased wanting “more romance and sensual experience, not less”. agreed!

  • Nicole | January 14, 2011

    I, myself, have no desire to purchase any of the digital readers. I love holding a book in my hand and being able to turn the pages. Plus I LOVE going to book stores and walking around soaking up the ambiance and just relaxing for awhile without a computer screen in my face. Call me old fashioned.

    Plus these digital readers can get you in money trouble, just like itunes and an ipod can. Purchasing inexpensive items at your fingertips, with no sense of guilt. I enjoy my nano, but I realized that in my first year of ownership I spent $300-$400 on music. Crazy!! So I had to put myself on a budget with that little gadget.

  • It seems to me that to Nook or not to Nook is something of a false question, as though one buys entirely into the digital platform or not. After owning several eReading devices, I am convinced the question should be changed to: Do my reading habits support the adoption of such a device? I find that I used my Kindle for very specific types of reading: reading non-school books, the newspaper, some blogs. Being a doctoral student in graduate school, the portability of the device allowed me to carry around an entire library of pleasure reading ready wherever and whenever I had a spare moment to indulge. My classroom readings, however, had to be in book form for the pragmatic reasoning of citing sources and coding for my own understandings in the margins. Books like the Chilton manual for my car would never survive on an eReader – I can’t imagine attempting to make it work. I think people often approach eReaders as an either/or situation when, really, it’s both/and, allowing for eReaders to make your reading life that much more dynamic.

  • I love real books and buy many. But as the daughter of a librarian, I also like to borrow them, and that’s usually my first choice. Even purchased novels don’t stay in my home for too long; I hang on to my favourites but the rest get taken to the charity shop or passed to friends. Otherwise, my flat would end up looking like a library!

    Cookbooks, design and art books however, are another story. Those are definitely for referred back to for years, and seem to multiply in the night. Just got two more delivered today!

  • As an expat, I want a digital reader just so I can have easy access to English books, newspapers and magazines. Bringing books over is a space/weight suck in luggage and buying them here is really pricey, so a digital reader is a great idea for somebody like me.

    That said, I also have a weird thing with my books. I have books that I’ve bought and thought were great and am glad I have on my shelf to revisit at a later date (classics, certain non-fiction books, travel guides, and a few well-written modern fiction books). On the other hand, I have books that were only so-so, and thereby ‘disposable’ -so I’ve passed them on to friends or donated them. This latter category would be great on a digital reader, but at the same time (in my situation) getting a free English book from another expat is a real treat! =)

    I think if I were in the US I would skip the digital reader unless I moved a lot or had a long train commute. The public libraries in the US are pretty darn awesome and I really miss that here in Germany! They have free books that don’t take up space in your home -except on your nightstand! =)

  • I could never totally go to one side or the other. I got a kindle a few years ago and love it though. I devour books to quickly (and am running out of space in my home). If it is just a fiction, biography or something along those lines I read it on the kindle. I know I will be finished in less than a week… so that makes it easier. If it is a book like Craft Inc. or a art book, I definitely buy the actual book. I just have to be more selective than I used to be.

  • I received a Kindle for Christmas and really do love it. The biggest plus for me–not having to figure out what to do with a paperback once I’ve read it. I read *a lot* and live in a very small house with limited storage space so that’s an issue. Also, there are tons of free and inexpensive books available to download so that’s a plus as well. I still purchase real books but those are now usually craft books, etc.

    As for the wireless waves, I only turn the wi-fi on if I’m actually downloading a book (takes seconds)The screen on the Kindle is very eye friendly-I get eye strain from my computer screen and phone screen but have had no issues with the Kindle whatsoever.

  • i too am debating this topic. I love going through the used bookstore and buying stacks of books. I love holding the book and flipping the pages. Call me old fashioned. I like to keep books that really spoke to me, but i also give away or give them back to the used books store for store credit the ones that didn’t. I’m also one of those people that stare at a computer screen all day so the last thing i want to do is read a book on a screen. However, I also just downloaded the kindle app onto my phone. I think it will come in handy in the future when more magazines come out with an e-reader friendly version. I would never use the ereader for craft and design books. I think for me, it will be used for certain things but will never permanetly take the place of a real book.

  • I am completely in the “real” book camp, however it is great to see the arguments for a digital reader as I had never considered these. However working at a computer for 9 hours a day I approach reading books as a luxurious experience and adore flicking through the pages time and time again, scribbling notes. Plus I completely love wondering through 2nd hand book shops. I only have a tiny house so have to limit myself to 1 bookshelf, but that encourages me to pass books on to others.

  • I have never tested out an e-reader, but I don’t think I have any desire to buy one … All the books I read are a little beat up, dog-eared and loved. Another thing I love about books is that once you are finished enjoying one, you can pass it off to another person so that they may enjoy it too! I know you can “share” books electronically, but it’s just not the same :)

    Bonnie you and I must be on the same wavelength today, as my post is also about books! http://whatnomints.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/winter-reading-list/

    Have a great weekend :)

  • I had a hard time with that, too, in the beginning. Would I like it? Would it be weird looking at a screen or not flipping through pages (not really, at least for me)? But now, I can easily say that I LOVE my nook. I love it, it’s always with me, and I baby it. I bought it because I can’t ever seem to go on a trip with anything less than 5 or 6 books (I read a LOT), and when you make 7 or 8 trips a year, having that extra space in your suitcase is invaluable.

    Additionally, like someone else said, space is an issue – even when I do a yearly book giveaway to friends and family, there are certain books I just can’t part with. That all adds up to a lot of space on the shelves or in boxes somewhere. I love that I can have a library of digital books at my fingertips – and I can slide any ebooks I’ve bought online on there, too.

    That being said, I can’t completely cut myself off from regular books, either. I do still buy them, though I limit myself to authors I love or series I’d rather have in paperback. But I’ve definitely made the switch and I happy with that choice!

  • Melissa | January 14, 2011

    Hi, I just found your website via Design*Sponge, and I love it! As for digital readers, no thanks. I love an actual book, the smell of it, anticipation in finishing it (especially if it’s a long book), etc. I can see where a digital reader would be handy for long flights, but if I’m on vacation, I’m not going to be reading all that much. Anyhow, I’m for real BOOKS!

  • Michelle N. | January 14, 2011

    I have the Nook and love it. I have downloaded all my books for free and find the convenience of the Nook awesome. If there is a book that I want to have as “eye candy” such as my beloved quilt books than I will purchase them. Reading on our sailboat is great with the Nook.

  • I am a reader! I can appreciate the feeling of holding a good friend in your hands ~ “a good book”! My husband is a techie and we have an i-pad in the house! I have to admit it’s awesome! The i-pad has the ability to flag spots and “write notes” in my book, which is a neat feature. The “library” has “shelves” and all our books can be viewed and looked at so it still gives a little of that feel of having the shelves full of books. Another great reading feature on the i-pad is the ability to view my magazines and read on line without sitting at a computer screen in a desk chair. It’s so portable and can be used “lounging” around. I agree that it doesn’t have to be one or the other ~ all books are awesome and a reading device can add to the pleasure and make it more access able!

  • I do use an E Book Reader and love it. Although I would prefer to sit curled up with a real book, due to my sight being impaired, I wasn’t able to read a real book, so being able to have a back lit screen plus expand the print to a size that I can see has been a fabulous break through for me.

  • Karen Bowers | January 15, 2011

    I use my Ipad in part as an e-reader. And I love it. I love that the pages are backlit; that means I can read in bed with the lights off because the white of the page is enough light for me to read by. I think I actually settle for bed faster. I love that with reading during breakfast, I can just prop my Ipad up, not needing to hold or prop it open. That I can increase the text size if I want to place my book a little farther than my normal handheld distance. I can even place multiple bookmarks in it or highlight text as needed.

  • Hello, first, I couldn’t not say that I really fell in love with your blog. I discovered this world not so long time ago and it was totally something I had been searching for ages but here we go. http://www.toffeemag.com inspired me and now I found out about you and so many more brilliant people. That’s so excting. :D
    Concerning the books, I prefer the real books, mostly for the same reasons as you do. I even adore the books smell, visiting the library or a bookstore gets me so excited. Never tried anything for digital books and don’t really want to, unless my boyfriend gets me one cos he is kinda tired of me buying new books and occupying so much space in our tiny apartment. But, anyway, I prefer a real book to a digital one, and the real love never dies ;)

    Thank you for an amazing inspiring blog :)

  • I got a Kindle last autumn. When I married my English-literature-dissertation-writing-book-loving husband, my teeny apartment went from 3 bookshelves to 12. There is little room for more print books so I am very selective in those I purchase. They have to be real keepers.

    I use my Kindle to read a lot of classics (free) and also to keep PDFs of various crochet patterns and such (free to put on the Kindle via USB connection or email). As to concerns about viewing art & craft books in gray scale on a small Kindle screen, well, I can read my Kindle collection on the ereader or my desktop computer. It really isn’t limiting in my opinion.

    Oh, one last thing, the Kindles come with free internet access which is great for super speedy downloads of books but also handy in other situations (we were driving and got lost and were able to pull up a map and directions on the Kindle).

  • I love tangible books. My dad instilled a love of books in me when I was younger by purchasing whatever books I promised to read, and I have to buy any book I’ve read (and liked). I also dislike borrowing from the library. But I also love my nook. I can carry several books at one time, surf the Internet, highlight passages and look up unfamiliar words. The nook color also has vibrant colors and the screen changes from landscape to portrait, depending on how you hold it.

  • I was initially hesitant to embrace ebooks because I love the smell and feel of a book in my hands, but now that I’m a librarian and I tote around 127 pounds of books with me everywhere I go, a reader is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative. It is also exciting that so many libraries are able to lend ebooks – if you’re a library lover as I am, skip the Kindle because Amazon does not cooperate with libraries. I’m personally a big fan of the Sony Reader because it has touch-screen e-ink.

  • thank you everyone for sharing your insight and thoughts with me! you’ve opened my eyes to many of the numerous benefits of an e-reader, many of which i had never considered.

    so, it sounds like for someone like me (a total hard-copy book lover) that having an e-reader would still be very beneficial. for reading those books in which i don’t care to keep a hard copy of, to have access to free books and to read magazines and blogs on as well. other benefits i can see that would benefit me are the back light so that i can read in bed or in the car and the ease of taking it on the go.

    so though i’ll still be adding to me tangible library, you’ve opened my eyes to another world. thank you dear readers!

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