The whole ‘to eRead or not to eRead’ debate has raged long now. Kindles and Nooks and other tablets don’t seem to be the downfall of the traditional publishing industry and the printed word as some people predicted, but they aren’t a passing fad either.
I will consume books in any way I’m able to, but I’m yet to decide if I have a favourite method for reading. It seems to me that each of the different ways you can receive the written word has its benefits and downsides.
The Printed Book
Aesthetically pleasing. New book smell. Old book smell. The ability to easily skip back to sections of the book you enjoyed and read them over and over. Sneaking glimpses ahead in the story (ssh, I know it’s naughty). Easy to share with friends. Easy to pass on for someone else to love via charity shops, book sales etc. Less nervous about reading in the bath. Not intrusive.
Take up a lot of space. Potentially more expensive than eBooks, depending on where you buy. Sneaking glimpses ahead (Yes, I spoil myself a lot and wish I could have the temptation taken away from me.)
Thousands of books in less than the space of one book. Anonymity of reading – no blushing over your naughty books when reading in public, if you care about that sort of thing. Cheaper books (usually). Access to massive library of books wherever you have internet connection. Not intrusive. Accessibility – you can make the text much bigger for ease of reading.
Less investment – less costly, so less determined to read contents of Kindle than actual book shelves. Easy to forget what’s on there. Not always easy to navigate, depending on what tablet you have. Certain tablets have internet distractions. Can’t easily share with family and friends. Dependent on access to charger. Can’t read in the bath without mild terror.
Read on the go. Enjoy performance by talented reader. Multitask while reading. Don’t take up physical space.
Massively more expensive than reading physical or e- books, even if you get audible subscription. Intrusive – can’t listen while someone else is watching telly without earphones. Easy to get distracted while you’re listening and miss something.
To me, the pros for physical books are massive – in some ways outweighing the cons. The ability to share a book you’ve loved is one of the most exciting and precious things. I love passing books on to friends and family and saying ‘You have GOT to read this.’ It’s very annoying to say ‘I read this most amazing book’ and then not be able to hand that person a copy when they get excited about it, because you read it in eBook, or listened to an audio version.
Still, the convenience of e- and audio books is a massive thing. Audiobook Pros are looking a bit thin on the ground there, but that multitasking thing is huge. I listen to books on the commute, when I’m at work, when I’m doing the dishes. All times I couldn’t otherwise be consuming a story. And that saves me time to read other stuff when I have got the chance to sit down for five minutes.
I think I’ll always read a mix. And when we develop the ability to beam books straight into our minds, I’ll probably do that too. Wherever the writing and reading industry goes, I will follow.
How do you prefer to ‘read’ your books?