Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled e-books and paperbacks, yearning to breathe free…

Ok, so now that I think about it, that’s a lame attempt at a title of a blog post in which I want to talk about why I both adore traditional books and e-books! But, it’s a Monday, and that’s where I am, people.

The fact is, I love to read. Period. I was the kid reading the whole cereal box front to back, the one picking up the ladies’ magazines to flip through while my mom got her hair cut, the one reading the labels on the box of crayons to see what every shade was called. (Subsequently, as a child, I wanted to grow up and be the person who named all 64 colors in the crayon box. Or all the lipstick colors. Or all the nail polish shades. Is that job still open?)

I’m a child of the 80s, who grew up loving TV, movies, and video games. I’ve been a pro on the computer since my dad had his first commodore 64 and my sister and I were up on Saturday mornings playing Frogger. I’m comfortable with screens and the idea of reading on them doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

I just love good stories. In all formats. But for the sake of comparison, here you go:

What I love about my e-reader: (I have a Kindle Voyage)

  • The light! I read on my kindle mostly at night in bed, and there’s nothing better than cozying down in the dark under the covers, with no pesky reading light or flashlight to prop up.
  • Easy accessibility. I can buy and download or download books from the library without every leaving the comfort of home. LOVE.
  • Portability. When I go on vacation or even to sit in the car pick up line, I’m not lugging around heavy hardbacks, just my slim, little kindle.
  • Read one-handed. The kindle saved me while having babies. I could nurse a baby in one arm and flip pages with just a finger of the other hand. (TMI? Sorry!) So convenient. Now, I’m waiting for a version that measures the position of my eyes and knows when I’m done with a page and will just flip it on its own. Some day!

BUT…I also love paperbacks and hardback books. I love the smell of paper and ink, the weight of the book, the embossed feel of a cover, the vividness of the illustrations, the ragged edges of unique paper bindings.

What I love about traditional books: (Of which I own many.)

  • I love the physicality of holding a story, an adventure, an experience in my hands. The way the book feels, looks, smells – the cover design – those things are burned into my brain, from my most beloved books. As a wannabe author, I know that’s something I hope to feel about one of my own books some day, the thrill of holding a complete experience in my hands!
  • I love old books. I a few really old books from the 20s and 30s, and I love the crumbling edges, the yellowed pages, the cardboard covers and the quaint illustrations. They feel old – and that only adds to the experience of reading them. An e-reader doesn’t really capture the ‘old’ feel.
  • Visual sense of accomplishment. When you have a big stack of physical books on your nightstand, and you burn your way through them, one by one, I love the visual sense that you finished that book. You did it, right down to the last page. On my e-reader, I just delete and start hunting for the next story, and I don’t know that I always feel the same sense of accomplishment as I do with a traditional book.

What about you? Do you prefer one over the other? Love them both? What a glorious age we live in, when we have so many options to read! I always imagine the poor men and women trucking it across America on the Oregon Trail (Holla, 80s kid who was obsessed with playing Oregon Trail in computer lab!) who could probably barely bring more than the family Bible along in terms of space, and if they only would have had an e-reader! It probably would have saved many a pioneer woman’s sanity!