Paper or Plastic?

A joke I got from a friend:

I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law last night
when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.

‘This is the 21st century, old man,’ he said.
‘We don’t waste money on newspapers.
Here, you can borrow my iPad.’

I can tell you, that fly never knew what hit it…

It’s not unusual for discussions to turn slightly heated when the topic of e-books comes up. On one side, we have the die hard “let me hold a book in my hands and smell the ink” group, while from another camp we hear, “When I travel, I want ALL my books with me.” A friend brought up another valid point for the e-book side: she had arthritis in her hands and finds it quite painful to hold a heavy book for any length of time. For her, the e-readers are a godsend.

How about you? Do you prefer the feel of paper in your hands, or the ease of toting the entire volume of the Land of Oz books wherever you go? Personally, I’m on both sides.

There is nothing as sweet as the fragrance of a brick and mortar book store, the ink, the paper, the glue… Or a store filled with used books, old ink, old paper, old glue, old dust, and maybe a cat or two. The used bookstore in my home town keeps cats on the premises in order to discourage mice from munching the inventory.

I like books, and I like reading, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like my e-reader, nor do I eschew print books. I like them both. Equally.


About Ms. Karen

This is what happens when you live with a writer: there are pens everywhere, except by the phone; many notebooks with strange scribblings that make no sense but must never be thrown away; and long rambling monologues about what certain characters would, or would not do in a given situation. It's almost as difficult as living with an artist. Man, THOSE people are bizarre...
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6 Responses to Paper or Plastic?

  1. Patti says:

    I love to read, and rarely could I walk out of a bookstore without a full shopping bag. I really thought I would be in the “no e-reader, no way” camp. I’ve had my e-reader nearly three years, and I love it. Today I rarely leave a bookstore with more than a list of books I plan to download.


    • Ms. Karen says:

      What I love about my e-reader is that I can sample the writing of new authors without breaking my budget. Many of them will have their first book out there for free. Some of them are worth every penny ! while others are much better. 🙂


  2. Selma says:

    I’m in a weird position because I love e-books but don’t have an e-reader. I have a Kindle app on my computer which is not quite the same thing as the ease which comes from an e-reader. I think both formats are relevant today but the signs are that the whole publishing industry will be completely digital in the future. It’s probably a good thing from the point of view of saving paper but will never replace the intoxicating smell of opening a freshly bought book!


    • Ms. Karen says:

      Oh, yes the scent of the books is wonderful, and the heft of a printed treasure is a delight, but saving trees is an added bonus to the ebook format. It’s funny, but whenever I have this discussion, I think of Captain Picard reading a print version of “Moby Dick” on the Enterprise. He could use his fancy-pantsy starship reader, but he chose the print version for that classic.


  3. travelrat says:

    I like both … the e-reader for travelling, and the book for reading at home … or, taking to the beach or pool; I don’t want to leave an e-reader unattended when I go for a swim! And, of course, e-readers are a boon on long journeys; you don’t have to jump up and rummage in your baggage when you’ve finished your book, and want another.

    I hope print books aren’t going to die out completely, as that would mean the end of excellent bookshops like Waterstones, in Salisbury. I recently visited the famous Selexyz Dominicanen bookshop in Maastricht … and fet horribly guilty because I had a Kindle in my bag!

    And, an odd question … if you meet an author face to face … how do you get him or her to sign your Kindle copy of the book?


    • Karen says:

      Oh, I would also mourn the loss of the small, independent bookshops. We have several in the Seattle area that are doing what they can to stay afloat.

      It’s funny you should mention signing the Kindle. I was talking to a co-worker and we decided we needed to design an app that would allow an author to “sign” a kindle with a stylus. I’m sure it could be done, and I’m sure I’ve given someone the idea to make millions (and I sure would love a share of that! 🙂 ) Sure!


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