Do you prefer reading bound books or digital books?

I bought a Macintosh computer in 1984. No hard drive, only a single 128K RAM processor used to run floppies which held both data and software programs. I still suffer from floppy drive elbow from switching disks again and again and again. That experience softens my adventurous notions about cutting edge technology. My practice is to let others suffer the technological ignominy while I take notes on a yellow legal pad. So, here are my top ten reasons I still prefer to read bound books.

10. I can quickly find the larceny scene of Silas Marner by simply finding the page tinged with mustard as I lunched with George Eliot one crisp fall day.

9. Books never need recharged.

8. I have a heightened sense of the tactile…to touch is to know, to feel, to experience a books personality in different forms, leather-bound, paper back, slick paper, ragged paper, serrated edges, crisp pages, wrinkled pages, torn and worn pages.

7. My library of old-fashioned books, perhaps 500, is more imposing and revealing in a glance to a visitor in my home than if they were to view my Kindle…which sits alone on my nightstand in an orange cover, contents unknown. 

6. I don’t have to remember to power down my bound books which frustrates me when I pick up the Kindle and find it powerless.

5. I still enjoy the sound of turning a page.

4. A sense of rich accomplishment feels more profound when closing a book cover after reading the last page, especially a hard cover.

3. Sometimes I can’t find the on button which never happens with a codex.

2. If I lose “To Kill a Mockingbird”, I have four more copies in various cover designs and binding styles. If I lose my Kindle, I’ve lost 500 books all at once. (I know it’s recoverable…but what a pain!)

1. I love to use a bookmark and to see at a glance the growing thickness of the read pages versus the unread pages.


15 responses to “Do you prefer reading bound books or digital books?”

  1. I prefer reading my Kindle in bed because it doesn’t hurt my wrists as much to hold the book (something that didn’t bother me as much when I ONLY read bound books, of course!). I like the highlighting and dictionary features, but nothing will ever beat the feel, weight and smell of real books. Even books I read digitally I end up buying physical copies of at the library sales.

    • I agree. Still read my Kindle especially on trips when I don’t know what hard books to take, then I have many titles at my fingertips. But still a little
      old-school I guess. Thanks for commenting. Good thoughts!

  2. I really do hate having to plug my book in right when I get to the good part. I think I will always have a special place in my heart for books as we used to know them.

  3. I prefer digital because 101011101001111 010000 0100001000101010111100101 01001010101101111010101010101101010000101010101010101.

  4. I’m an old school book guy. I enjoy looking at the books on the shelf, pulling them out from time to time, just flipping through them. Creates a nice atmosphere in the home. Plus, I like putting the book on my chest as I fall asleep – doesn’t seem the same putting the Kindle on my chest.

    • Shawn:
      Just thought of another…easier to borrow a book and feel obliged and guilty when I haven’t returned said book.

      When I fall asleep with the Kindle, that’s when I sap the battery leaving on all night.


  5. I enjoy my Kindle but will always love holding books, seeing them on the shelf, re-reading them, sharing them with others. My earliest memory of books is when I was six yrs old and our one room school had a metal cabinet at the back of the room. I loved getting to pick from all of those books (probably only three or four shelves), but to me it was a world of adventure. Started out with “Dick and Jane” – “Today you go to school, you want to go to school!!”

  6. I have an iPod, an iPad, an iPad mini, an SIII, and my Mac,
    but I haven’t read an ebook in my life.
    I’m having a new house made, it’s white, and beige, and space all around,
    sort of minimalist, but I’m having a huge shelf done,
    with doors that can disguise as empty walls
    and behind them all my beloved books,
    to be read,
    never read,
    read again and again, like Catcher in the rye
    I am willing to embrace technology, but not willing to bid my books goodbye.
    I like the idea of the printed word, it’s stuck, embedded on the page, never to disappear at the click of a button,
    the press of a finger,
    not transient,
    not fleeting,
    not ephemeral
    like an iBook page.

    [ps: I wrote this without pause, within minutes, as a casual comment, but it sounds like a poem, so I formatted it as such and, if you don’t mind, may I use this comment as post in my blog, with credit to you, of course, who inspired it.]

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