I know the topic of the choice between print and electronic books has been at front and center of much discussion the past couple of years. However, I have decided to weigh in on the topic as I embark on a project of moving my library to another room in my house, as I have outgrown the current space.
There are many perks to joining into the electronic world of reading, such as the issue of space. One also has the ability to have an entire library literally at their fingertips, and can easily juggling several books at one time without lugging around a bookmobile-sized bag. There are a lot more sales on e-books at very affordable prices, although many hover near the same price as a physical copy, in which case I find the e-book to be less worth the purchase price.
The main thing with e-books that I just cannot personally get past, is the comfort a printed books holds for me. I just can’t snuggle up with a glowing screen the same way. I miss the smell, the feel, the turning of the pages. I like the heft of a book in my hands. Maybe it makes me feel that the story holds more value based on how the book itself feels. I am sure my preference for print is largely psychological- and I am alright with that. Sure, the space becomes an ‘issue’, and bookshelves need added and such. But I love organizing and seeing the books in their place on the shelf. Each one a memory and place in time for me, reminding me of the characters inside their pages, the imaginations of the authors, and the places to which they whisked me away.
I know there is the environmental factor of print books that is obviously trumped by the digital world. There is a drawback to all good things. However, walking into a brick and mortar bookstore and selecting a new world to jump in, coming home and curling up in my library to see what unfolds- those are the things that reading is all about. The history of the printed word, the fighting to speak one’s voice, the story behind each book, are all present within each paper book. We are so plugged in for such a large portion of our day, with e-mails, phones, TV, blogging, computer usage in the workplace, advertising being thrown at us at every opportunity, and white noise and fancy lights. I choose print books to tune out all of the outside world for just that little bit of time each day. And, that, is something that an electronic device will never be able to offer for this reader.