I love physical books, I like how they look laying around as a reminder to read them and I like how they disconnect me from technology.
Tried e-readers but I can never stick to them.
If I am doing dry reading, I put my computer somewhere near by for dictionary etc
And I can move around physical books much more easily and it still feels more natural.
You know what I miss? Dead tree user manuals that used to come with hardware and software. That's something that has gone the way of the Dodo, unlike most other books. Luckily I can still buy printed manuals from the FSF.
So it's not hard to believe that there are people who switched to e-books by default and later could realize they miss real books.
But...back in the 1980s, just about any electronic device you bought (especially if you bought it from Radio Shack), the manual would have a schematic in the back, plus a list of parts (and in the case of RS - the parts list would usually have part numbers you could pick up off-the-shelf at the store!).
I miss that.
There used to be full wiring diagrams for cars in manuals, but imagine that now where your car has 200 separate computerized systems, each with their own intricate circuits.
Kindle backlighting is far too pure-white/blue for me to use at night when it would be most useful and the text resolution on the paperwhite I have (can't remember what generation) is nowhere near print quality. I am still sad that physical paging buttons were removed as well.
A kindle with adjustable color temperature would be a game-changer for me.
It also bugs me that you can't really trade-in a digital copy, and the prices for a digital book are rarely significantly less than a physical book
Well, the question is asked in r/kindle. Ofc they are kindle fans; Otherwise they wouldn't have been there at first.
I got rid of (gave away) about 200 books. I haven't felt better 'minimizing' in my life. Now other people can get value from them, and I don't feel the obligation to read them again.
Any other passive-aggressive question?
You aren't old enough to have experienced the pre-printing-press real books. Nowadays they just print everything that comes to their filthy minds, regardless of the content or even position of the author in our society. Just a machine printing away inked paper. Oh, how I miss the good old days when you could feel the woodblock pressure immortalized against the pulp, that subtle off-white coloring; the tasteful thickness of it.
That's true. Not sure how it's a counter-argument though.
Pre-printing press books were great as well, and even more important (regarding historical importance, and in terms of the price they'd fetch at an auction today) than printing-press books.
And it would also be true that having no direct experience of them, I'd be not very qualified to compare them to the printing-press books. Which is my point exactly.
1. These discussions are often framed as digital vs physical books and the reality is more "books vs all other forms of entertainment".
Kindle, etc. really set up books to compete with Netflix and Gamepass in the "It's 9 pm on a Wednesday what should I do to entertain myself for a few hours before I fall asleep?" category of entertainment. Which I think is fantastic.
2. Given cost and printing constraints there are lots of obvious and non-obvious forces at play that constrain authorial expression. Case in point: novellas are more or less non-existent in printed form as printing costs don't make sense for a "book" in the 50-100 page range, but they're starting a real revival on Kindle where it's entirely possible to charge a $1 for a shorter work.
* hauling books around at college damaged my back
* classic Microsoft texts like ASP v1.0 and SQL Server v1.0 make great monitor height boosters
* waiting for a Commodore 64 book to be delivered at the local library in the 80s taught me extreme patience
* you can’t flick through an ebook quit like a real book
* one of the favorite pastimes was the personal collection of books you inherit when you leave your old job
* a shelf full of obscure titles makes you look impressive to passers by
The hardware kindle is excellent for travel since I can bring the whole library with me. If I'm going on a trip I'll buy a book or two to keep me occupied, and all I have to worry about is the device itself.
There are also a number of public-domain classics that are either free or insanely cheap on kindle, like Zane Grey or Shakespeare, so for those its like why not?
Having a large collection of print books also implies you have stable home environment or some place to keep them. For readers who are either transient or nomadic, then kindle has a lot of obvious advantages.
For the kind of book I would buy in "hardcover" I still go paper. These include specific favorites, art books, graphic novels, coffee table books. Many books quite simply do much better in print media, especially ones that are highly visual.
There is also much to be said for browsing old boutique bookstores, since they contain a lot of stuff that wouldn't be on Kindle at all, and have a lot of deals.
This is also why I tend to prefer physical copies of technical books and RPG manuals.
I've had a kindle for about six months, and I've been reading a ton. I'm usually more of a 3-5 books/year type of guy, but I've gone through ten since getting the kindle. Problem is that I really haven't retained the content as well as I have been able to with tree books.
In a related matter, ebooks have made the concept of works going out-of-print largely obsolete.
I'd argue the opposite:
With DRM and other reasons/issues - it's made the possibility of a book going out of print - forever and permanently - a very real and possible thing.
For instance, you could purchase an ebook with DRM from the publisher and/or author where - should the author or publisher change their mind - they could pull the "publishing" of it (no longer available to purchase), and revoke the license of the work from all people who purchased it, and effectively remove it from your collection!
Imagine if you owned a physical book and then one day - p00f - it disappears off your shelf! Off of everyone's shelf - plus all library shelves!
That could easily happen with an ebook; it could never happen with a physical book. With a physical book, while it might disappear from publication and sale, it could still be purchased secondhand, and possibly sometime in the future scanned or otherwise re-published (see the number of out-of-copyright and out-of-print books on archive.org and Project Gutenberg). With an ebook, this could be made impossible.
We already see this with music - I know I've had tracks on spotify "disappear" off of playlists; I'm sure entire albums or playlists could also "disappear". I haven't seen it yet, but I am certain it is possible.
Or what about the efforts of Nintendo which has largely made it virtually impossible to get ROM images of "out of print" video games for emulation or backup purposes? Not only of Nintendo titles, but other consoles as well...
I'm not saying that Nintendo doesn't have the right to do this, but rather to make the point that if they can do it - then so can ebook publishers, effectively making books disappear, never to be found again.
Book burning couldn't get any easier than with digital books.
For reference books, where random access is a typical use case, I find a combination of a physical version and a searchable PDF file on a computer is most useful. Mobile devices, especially eink ones, are somewhat unsuited for that kind of reading.
My main issue with ebooks is the DRM around them.
Similarly when I'm browsing books -- I still find my self going to Barnes & Noble as a lookie-loo; just browsing around for interesting books, because the experience is so much better than anything you can get on an electronic device.
I've thought before that it would be neat to have an "Amazon e-book Store" where there was a single copy of each book, with a QR code that contained an affiliate link to buy the book on Amazon. You'd get all the benefits of physical browsing there; you can take down a book, page through it, look at other books by the same author, have staff recommendations, etc. The operational cost would be small because you wouldn't have to carry multiple copies of the same book, and you wouldn't have to keep any non-display inventory or have to deal with the retail aspect at all.
My first job was as a library page. It was natural; I had been reading thick paperbacks since I was 8 or so. In Pennsylvania I needed to check those out under my parents' library cards, because my juvenile library card wouldn't allow me access to them. At age 12, the library finally stopped putting them under my parents card and just granted me an 'Adult' card at an early age. When an opportunity came up to shelf books for $4/hr, I jumped at it.
I was and am a voracious reader. Before ebooks, packing for a vacation sometimes meant I needed an extra bag just for books. It wasn't possible for me to throw a couple changes of clothes in a backpack and head off for the weekend; I needed an actual suitcase because I'd need space to tuck at least a couple of paperbacks.
But I don't miss real books. It took me a few years to get used to reading on an iPad. I can finally travel light, even if I'm spending a chunk of an entire weekend in airports. I don't need to choose between bringing one technical book and three paperbacks. It's so much more convenient.
Today I love my Kindle and I like the peace of mind that my books are safe.
Until AMZN decides to take them away from you.
But recently I've been digging through some reading material which partly exists in PDF, and partly in big physical books, and I'm going way faster through the PDFs than through the physical books, because I read the PDFs on a tablet that I always have with me, and the physical book is big enough that I really need to sit down explicitly to read it.
When I go to the barber I know that there is a good chance that there will be a queue, so I grab a book. I got through six chapters of Foucault's Pendulum (Umberto Eco, 1986) that way last week.
- I prefer reading on paper
- Not having to think about charging and battery life (book light excluded)
- Used books can often be had cheap or free
- No proprietary lock-in bullshit
Why I do not like books:
- Turning pages is cumbersome
- No way to search the text
- No way to alter the font size
- No way to look something up in a book you read N years ago unless you're home with your bookshelf
- Harder to find a comfortable reading position
- Books are heavy and take up a lot of space
Despite all that, I still mainly read paper books.
To me, it's the difference between the 100k photos I have sitting in the cloud and the photo albums my mother has sitting on her shelf, which she knows by heart. Or having access to pretty much ALL the music on the play store, or holding a new album by Jack White and seeing the artwork off a screen. Maybe it's just a luxury now to have physical items, or maybe I'm just getting old and nostalgic, I don't know.
Many ebooks are in the public domain and can be had free of cost from Gutenberg and other sources, which are free from any kind of lock-in or DRM. Especially for English, eReaders have opened up almost the entirety of the corpus of authors like Trollope, Scott, Thackeray, Meredith, Conrad, Henry James, George Eliot, Stevenson, Bennett, Galsworthy, Sinclair Lewis etc, many of which works are no longer easily obtained as physical copies.
- Persistent subconscious knowledge of where I am in the book (weight in each hand).
- Much easier to flip back multiple pages to re-read a section and flip to where you were.
- Resilient to collapses of information/power infrastructure.
- Traveling with many books is impractical
- Built-in dictionary and wikipedia search
- Resilient to fire and water damage
Though, I do understand how some bookstore may suffer. I actually believe we may see more of them. They could benefit from the co-working space / coffee shops culture that's growing.
On the top of that, I would say the ease of purchasing a book today has likely helped a lot of authors increase their revenue or general awareness.
Books are lovely physical objects, but the convenience of carrying a library with me at all times far outweighs any sentimentality I have.
The second way physical books are still superior is that the non-text-based ones (i.e. anything with plenty of illustrations, especially in colour) still look much better than their electronic counterparts (and with that type of books, the appearance matters at least as much as the content).
Why miss ? Millions of them are still sold every month.
Besides, it's not an XOR proposition.
I had 3 e-readers, as they are handy in a trip. However, it takes less effort for me to read from a real book, and I also read faster.
As a compromise, I will buy books from foliosociety.com as gifts for others instead.
I do have to say brand new books are pretty expensive though, but used books can be gotten for very cheap (and I actually like that older book smell). Or alternatively, free at the library if you have the time/inclination to go.
I ran into the first world problem of not being able to read a physical book in bed because my bedside lamp isn't bright enough, having always used my Kindle Paperwhite.
TL;DR; Working with the book is easy in printed form and pain in e-format.
Might be a difference in reading style, but for something like a physical textbook it is normal for me to have 40-50 separate bookmarks, which I always found unmanageable.
Which is a shame, because the primary reason I like ebooks is because technical books are so much cheaper in electronic format. Likewise, I'd much prefer to read a paper electronically than kill trees, but (even if you reflow a pdf [grr!]) it is so hard to follow the text when it references a diagram or a code sample on another page, as I want to see two different things at once, and it is so easy to have two pages open in a book (or, more likely, one two-page spread open flat) and switch between them quickly.
One more thing I'm torn on: I really like reading on a dedicated reader; it has much less eyestrain, and doesn't come in with built-in distractions (like the internet being a click away, or notifications popping up). OTOH, the responsiveness, being able to zoom in and out, for example, on a tablet, is really nice.
Flipping through marked-up books is faster than going through the "highlights" section of your ebook.
I'm not really a book person though. I don't think owning a bunch of physical books makes me smarter and I don't particularly like the look of shelves upon shelves of books.
Probably miss physical books more for something you are studying rather than just reading a novel.
So if I'm learning something I'd rather have a physical book, for reading either one works.
I do like having books on shelves though, just the look of it and seeing what you have read, having books for reference.
I tend to use Gutenberg for quoting passages, and I read most computer documentation on-line. Otherwise, I mostly use physical books.
Also see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge%27s_law_of_headline...