Print Books, E-Books, Print Books, E-Books . . . by Christine Husom

E-books have gained a slight edge over their printed counterparts this past year, but print books are hardly a thing of the past. Not yet, anyway. For many of us who spend a fair amount of time staring at a computer screen, we welcome picking up a physical copy of a book when we sit down or climb into bed at night to read.

In his article, “Why Ebooks Are Inspiring A New Age Of Print,” Andrew Losowsky wrote, “It may sound obvious, but books exist – in a way that memory on a microchip does not. Enduring physical presence is no small thing in an age when information appears on a screen, then changes, evolves, and maybe even disappears. And as efficient as ebook retailers are, clicking to purchase is a fairly soulless affair in comparison to the pleasures of browsing in a bookstore.

For many publishers and booksellers, that feeling of loss has provided an opportunity. Instead of killing physical books, ebooks have actually encouraged a new level of fetishization of the printed page. . . . This might be a generational anomaly, created by those with nostalgia for print and libraries, soon to disappear once the digital natives are in charge. Or this might be the moment where print, freed from its need to do everything, becomes even better at doing what it can do uniquely.”

I’ve been in two small, independent bookstores the past two weeks, Happily, both are doing very well. I loved watching the shoppers and browsers move through the shelves, reading titles, picking up books, turning them over to read the blurbs and the reviews, perhaps opening them to read the first chapter or page. Sometimes making the decision to purchase a book, or five.

My daughter recently gave me a Kobo e-reader she bought at a local independent bookstore. Every book I download through them gives them a portion of the sale, which I like. I have yet to download anything. But as soon as I have an extra minute, I’ll do that. I have to agree with Losowsky, though, physical books attract me in a way e-books can’t. For me, it’s a little like having a picture of someone, then when you finally meet that person, you barely recognize him because you’ve only seen a flat image of him. I’ve gotten caught up in books I’ve read on my computer and appreciated the stories. But to really enjoy the overall experience, I’ll be reading physical books for the most part.

Please give me your thoughts.

Christine Husom is the author of the Winndebago County Mystery Series: Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, An Altar by the River, and The Noding Field Mystery

8 Comments

Filed under writing

8 responses to “Print Books, E-Books, Print Books, E-Books . . . by Christine Husom

  1. I think there will always be room for both. I’ve been mostly reading on my Kindle for the last few months, but I am currently feeling the urge to browse around in a bookstore like old times.

  2. I like both. I still buy print and paper books, especially by those authors whose works I collect. However, I was getting overrun, so the e-reader allows me to try books by new-to-me authors, or to enjoy books that I don’t plan to collect, without overtaking the house. I also find that when I read at night, the e-reader is easier on my eyes and, of course, I can adjust the font size (greatly appreciated by aging eyes).

  3. I agree. I love a physical book, and loath requiring a device to read those that aren’t. I hope they never completely disappear.

  4. A good argument for a balance b/w digital and papier, but the physical touch of a real book forms the bond that a handshake would as author and reader clasp hands warmly to reach out and touch one another.

    Our digital kiddoes inhabit a different sphere, less physical more cybespace; But for me and my kind, the grasp of the physical book…pages and bookmark…mean the joy or reading and the gift of story.

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