One of the disadvantages of a paper book is that when the power goes down & the batteries run out, it can only be read during the hours of daylight; one of the advantages of a paper book is that when the power goes down & the batteries run out, it can be read during the hours of daylight.
I see your objection here, which is that because the fairies of modernity will always keep the electricity on now, mine is both a trivial & an old-fashioned argument (as well as being a cheap syllogism generated by someone who doesn’t really appreciate the full modernity of modernity). Because of those fairies, adverse change of any kind is a thing of the past or perhaps other less-fortunate countries. I’m sure you’re right & of course I bow to your superior understanding of history; although I wonder if, when you insist that it can never happen to us, you really mean that it must never happen to us–it’s a reversal so upsetting that it can’t even be contemplated.
While conceding that you are entirely correct within the parameters of your argument, I’d like to add a couple of other considerations.
Firstly, a book is only readable if you have eyeballs fit to read the print; I have yet to meet an ebook reader that couldn’t scale up the typeface for aging or damaged eyes. Secondly, paper books are heavy; today’s A-format trade fiction paperbacks typically store about 1.5Mb of data per kilogram, and 1.5Mb of data only encodes about 2000 pages of text. An inveterate bibliophile might well find it less of a strain on their shoulders to tote an ebook reader with a few dozen texts around, than the corresponding mass of reprocessed trees.
But these are arguments from convenience. Just like the electric lighting fairies.
Charlie is of course correct–especially about the scalable-type thing–but I note that it’s a lot easier to lose (or at least misplace) a phone/Kindle–no matter how many works are on it–than it would be to lose even a portion of those in “heavy” form.
Not to mention that spending 100 [currency units] or so on a “reading device” means 100 [currency units] less to spend on books.
Not taboo consideration in NYC, especially now that we have a monsoon season.
Recently my sister-in-law, who doesn’t even have a cell-phone, went to her docter’s appiontment with a paper book. There were five other people before her, each with a tablet or kindle. She was the only one with a paper book. Sufice it to say she felt weird. Ray Bradbury would have written a story about it.
i tried to read a book with a small illuminating device, you know the ones you attach to while everyone else is asleep. The thing is, I couldnt read, I needed the suns guidance, for some reason it just wasn’t the same.
Hi Daniel: interesting straw poll. I calculate that out of the 30 people closest to me, including a dozen between 20 & 30 years old, two read electronically.
I am currently reading this blog post electronically.
Me too. But I would be hard pressed to deny that it is not a book. & of course I wouldn’t claim any more worth for my anecdotal observation than Daniel would for his…
Books feel more alive. I like its smells, especially one of a copy that has been moldering on the library shelves or some forgotten storage space for a long time. It is a difficult habit to give up. The ereader is a fragile weight in my hand, and I’m afraid if I subject this spineless thing to the stresses my books normally take, it’ll snap.
The marvelous thing about ereaders is that it can fit all those books you tell yourself you don’t need to keep but just have to pack into crates and lug across town to your new place whenever you move.
These thoughts are no good. They only lead into some weird territory about the platonic romance we have with our reading materials.
More is not better.
The whole “carry your whole library around with you” sales pitch leaves me cold.
So many great books… So little time left for reading. Paper gets my vote every time.
hey guys–I go to my doctor’s appointment taking either book, or small electronic reader …who gives a shit what everyone else is reading on. In the subways people are reading everything from phones to laptops to gossip magazines and books of poetry in languages other than English. Often people are studying their homework or office work. I see bodice ripper books, graphic novels, word games and emails (sometimes you can read people’s stuff by making cat eyes sideways).
I admit to preferring the paper item but I wouldn’t be talking with you guys without the electronic.
Here’s another observation my 19 year old son pointed out to me, if you drop an ereader on a hard surface and it breaks or in water-ereading in the bathtub-you loose all of the books you’ve downloaded and have to spend more money on a new ereader. If you drop a paper book on a hard surface-no damage, if you drop it in the water, put it in the sun to dry.