Weekly Writing Challenge, Writing

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap – eBook or Printed?

I have always loved books; as a child, a book fair at school was pure heaven. The book store was even better! I was a library-card holding book worm! My books became cherished items – just as much or more so – than my toys. When I was 12, I asked for a dictionary for Christmas, and was uber delighted in this huge, mammoth book of words that Santa delivered. I still have that dictionary.

Words, words, words. My entire career has been built around words. I am a lover of the printed word. My bookshelves overflow with way too many books and not enough shelves. The books are three rows deep! And all over the place.

So when the Daily Post posed the question of whether we prefer eBooks over printed books (and to blog about it, thus, this post), my mind became a quandary. I am torn. I love both.

Honestly, I did not think I’d ever like reading on an electronic device – and resisted doing so for quite some time. And a disclaimer here: I love my technological gadgets! But I thought “there’s no way I’d ever like this over a real book.” And then my hubby gave me an electronic reader. I found it … easy to use!

And easy to buy books! Holy smokes, I can buy a book on this device and be reading in less than a minute! I don’t need storage space on my bookshelves for this book. And when I finish said book in less than three days, guess what … I can order another one! Painless ordering. Talk about instantaneous gratification, I am spellbound. I am hooked.

I don’t even want to know how many books I breezed through over the course of just last year. Most of them were on the technological gadgets – note that plural use – and found that I enjoyed it. I could purchase a book on one device and read it on multiple gadgets, even my computer!

But I felt like I was cheating.

Seriously! Because with an eBook, I can read anything, at any time, buy a book at 3:22 in the morning if I want, read that book in the dark because my iPad, iPhone, or Kindle Fire are all back lit. No need for lights or tiny book lights. I can prop up my device and read hands free!

But I’m not shopping in the local bookstore. Where I live, we have already lost Borders, a Barnes & Noble, and a Books A Million. I love book stores! I love perusing book cover designs, it’s the artwork or the wording that normally lures me. It’s kind of hard to do that on an electronic device (even if you do see a thumbnail image).

I don’t ever get a chance to put my imprint on that printed book if I’m reading it as an eBook. There’s something beautiful about a book that has been read many times, with all of its cracks in the spine, the worn edges of pages, the whiff of old book smell. It’s kind of hard to experience that on an electronic device. (I’m not holding my breath for the invention of eSniff devices!)

So I’m truly torn in claiming devotion for either the eBook or printed book. Although there are so many advantages of the eBooks (that instant dictionary feature by clicking a word is awesome, by the way), I feel disloyal to those printed relics crammed on my bookshelves.

Last week I took my 10-year old son to the book store, relishing the fact that he requested to go, and enjoyed a good meandering through the racks and racks of that printed word. Words, words, words, I can’t get enough!

I picked up the Life of Pi and quickly knew it would be accompanying me home, regardless of if there’s space or not on the overflowing bookshelves. I won’t be able to read it at night without a light, can’t look up a word just by clicking it, and I’ll have to actually turn the page. But I think I can live with that.

I can’t wait!

P.S. Please don’t tell my books but I plan on reading on my eBook devices again. 🙂

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/weekly-writing-challenge-mind-the-gap-2/

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5 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap – eBook or Printed?”

  1. As a writer I too have held on to the belief that ”Real” books or nothing. But then, the world moves on and if one does not move with it then …oops one is left behind. Besides, didn’t we all feel the same about LP’s LOL!
    I once had a young lady friend of my son’s confront me at a party and she said in a voice full of awe: “You have an LP of Led Zeppelin!”
    Er…yes. Several, in actual fact…
    I too have not got an electronic reader…truly a sin for a writer! But that must change, and no doubt I will change as have you. Besides, it may soon increase the value of books. Imagine what a proper Hardcover first edition will be worth in a few years?
    Crikey! We’ll be rich! 🙂

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    1. Oh I so hope your prediction comes true, because I already have way more books than bookshelves! And lots and lots of hardbacks. I recently finished the “Autobiography of Henry VIII” by Margaret George (a mere 939 pages) in paperback, and I truly enjoyed not only the story, but being able to hold the book and turn the pages. Even the smell of a book’s pages are intoxicating sometimes. But now I’m reading on my iPad. Always reading, always reading. (But never enough writing!)

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      1. Well, as the car saved the horse, maybe the ebook will save the hardback?
        I purge my bookshelves every few years: trading in the ones I genuinely do not read at a local secondhand bookstore in a shopping centre close by.
        I read mostly fiction, but I did read Gibbon, Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire last year.

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        1. I’ve started donating some of my books to Ian’s school for their annual game night event, where everyone gets to pick out books as their prizes (and everyone gets books no matter what). I, too, read mostly fiction, but got hooked on watching the HBO series “The Tudors” about a year ago (watched all four seasons in about two weeks) and then went off on a reading frenzy about Henry and the rest of his entourage. This “autobiography” was entertaining and now I feel like I personally know that old King. LOL
          But I did learn a lot of history in the process.

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