K – Kindle: Oh Where, Oh Where Have My Paper Books Gone?

I’m not the first, and I’m certain I won’t be the last, to write about the trend of the E-Reader. I single out Kindle because it was one of the first that I remember really taking off, and turning ebooks into a thing. (It also happens to begin with “K”, and today is “K-day”, but that was really more of a coincidence than anything else.)

I’ve had several discussions with friends and family about the benefits of using an E-reader versus a paper book, and I understand them all. But for me, it just doesn’t feel like reading. It feels like reading from a computer, because that’s what it is. I’m reading from a screen, and it’s just not the same.

I’m one of those weird people who, not only delights in the touch and feel of a book, though I do!  But there’s more to it than that. I love opening a new book, and holding it in my hand, careful not to break the binding. I love the way a new book smells, as though the ink has it’s own unique scent that is simply not the same as other types of ink. And I love holding an old book – one that I’ve bought from a used bookstore, or borrowed from the library. To see all the dog-eared pages, and feel the soft binding that’s been opened so many times, it no longer wants to stay closed. And more than that; I’m the kind of person who sees all my books on their shelves as the best, most aesthetically pleasing decoration in my house. Sometimes, sitting on my couch just before I prepare to go to bed, I will look across the living room at my bookshelf and just smile, because they all look so pretty lined up just so.

Why would I want to trade all that in for yet another screen?




Filed under publishing, reading

8 responses to “K – Kindle: Oh Where, Oh Where Have My Paper Books Gone?

  1. Well, if you’re weird, then I’m right there in the front row with you! I’m also a person who loves the look of my books on my bookcases. My home would look and feel so empty without them! I have a kindle and I do use it, but nothing will every replace the experience of owning and reading “real books”!
    I’ve been posting about bookish topics during the A-Z Challenge–stop by if you like!

  2. This is EXACTLY how I feel. Word for word. I’m surprised I didn’t write it, and that this is your blog, not mine. I love the spines of my books here in my study/library, they are friends and decoration and memories and laughter and they are beautiful… when am I ever going to catch sight of a book while passing my kindle and think – oh! I haven’t read that for a long time, or, oh! I haven’t read that lovely book my daughter gave me for Christmas yet, and feel the warm promise of good things to come…
    Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

    • Jennifer Marshburn

      I have a goal to read every book on my shelves. I only have about 5 left, but I just can’t stop myself from going to the bookstore! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have better luck completing your collection!

  3. I’m reading a book for my book club, Life After Life, and read about half of it on my Nook. I was feeling so frustrated because I could not flip back through the pages to reread sections as easily as I could with a hardback, paper book and, if you’ve ever read this book, it’s very easy to get lost unless you can reread parts. So, now I have a “real” book and I’m sure I will enjoy the book so much more.

    I defended e-books when I first got mine, and it’s great when traveling to always have something compact and on hand to read, but you are your mother’s daughter. There’s no replacement for holding a book and flipping through those pages, even to jump ahead and read the ending.

    • Jennifer Marshburn

      I hear a lot of people use the defense that “e-readers and tablets are nicely compact and easy to travel with”, but really… Was there a big mobility problem with a book? I took the entire Chronicles of Narnia with me to Hawaii, and in three different airports those seven books really didn’t weigh me down. I wouldn’t recommend taking Mark Twain’s Autobiography to read on the beach, but most books are fairly compact too.

      But then we’ve talked about this. Thanks for opening the door for me to mention it here!

  4. I really love this. The nostalgia of it. The heaviness of an old book, think Dickens. That smell. The now antiquated ritual of the turning of actual pages, slow and careful at first, then as the story races toward its inevitable conclusion, flipping hurriedly to the next revelation. Great memories don’t revolve around laptop screens or Kindles. Great memories are made in your favorite chair with a cup of black coffee, and paper, and leather, and ink.

    • Jennifer Marshburn

      You hit on all my favorite kinetic elements of reading a real life book! It’s not completely antiquated yet. Let’s hope it doesn’t become so! Thanks for reading.

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