Articles to read
Why do so many people turn their noses up
by William Wren, contributed to The Globe and Mail - he lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Published July 12, 2018
I was in the sun with a book and a beer. My mother called to me several times to get into the house and out of the sun.
I ignored her because I loved the heat and humidity and the feeling of my body covered in sweat. You don’t often get to perspire as if
you’re putting in a hard day of physical labour simply by reading a book.
The novel was Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the hardcover edition. I had removed the dust jacket and so my
perspiration-damp fingers were blackening with the cover’s dark dye. They were leaving smudged fingerprints on the pages as I turned them.
That was years ago. I remember the feel of the paper and the texture of the cross-hatched cloth binding. The memory is vivid: the taste of
the beer, the damp cover, the perspiration as it moved in a slow crawl down my skin.
It’s a memory of an artifact. It’s not a memory of the art.
I don’t read hardcover books anymore, not if I can help it. I rarely read softcover books either. Mostly, I read e-books.
It’s a tiresome debate, the one pitting print against digital. Yet I still hear people say to me as I hold my e-book reader, “How can you do
that? I can’t stand them. Give me a real book any day,” or something along those lines. (There’s always a reference to how books smell.)
I hear about the physical nature of traditional books: the feel of the paper and the cover. The scent of old pages. The stitching and the glue.
I hear about the physical aspects of books as if I’m dullard who is new to reading and utterly ignorant of them – as if I haven’t been reading
books for over 50 years, including those years when digital books didn’t exist. As if I haven’t collected hundreds of books in boxes and carted
them across the country.
And as if there were no physical aspects to digital books. There are. They’re significant, just as the physical aspects of softcover and
hardback editions aren’t quite as wonderful as nostalgia would have us believe. There’s more to them than how they feel and smell.
Ignoring for a moment how accessible the prose or poetry of a given book might be, you would think the traditional book is about as
accessible as anything could possibly be. It’s simple: Paper bound together and contained in a cover that is either hard or soft. What could be
easier to read?
The other day, I ordered my first non-digital book in a very long time. I wanted the book and it was only available in a softcover edition: The
Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Colombian author Alvaro Mutis. I would have preferred an e-book edition.
As paper editions were to me before, e-books are to me now. They are what I am used to and comfortable with. That word, comfort, is a key
When that softcover book I ordered arrived, I discovered it was 700 pages of small print, an inch and a half thick, and weighed considerably
more than my e-book reader. I read the book. I enjoyed it. But I couldn’t begin to describe all the various yoga moves I invented trying to hold
it and read it comfortably. I also squinted the entire time.
I’ve not renounced softcover and hardbound editions in favour of the fabulous world of digital. I’m not one of those people crying, with a
zealot’s conviction, “Print is dead!” It’s simply that I like to read and, to read comfortably, which is the only proper way to read, I need e-
books. I’ve found I like them, too.
My hands don’t hold physical books as well as they used to. My fingers and wrists start to hurt after a fairly short time. It’s just plain hard
to read softcover editions and even harder to read hardcover books. It’s probably something arthritic or rheumatoid in my hands. I don’t
But I was about 30 when I read that book in my mother’s backyard and that was 30 years ago. I’m older.
It could be said that I didn’t choose e-books. My hands did. They made the choice a few years ago. E-books are easier to hold and read.
They make reading comfortable so I can ignore everything external and lose myself in the story.
Yes, the story.
(My eyes chose e-books too. They’re no longer young. With a book in digital form, I can simply enlarge the text with a touch.)
As much as I may admire the art of making physical books, my interest is in the writing: what it has to say and how well it says it. I care
about the words.
Paper and digital, pages and screens: All of these are things; things we use to read. What is a book if not a portal to stories and ideas? Paper
doesn’t make a story good or bad, no more than digital makes it good or bad. It’s simply the form it appears in.
The only thing that is important is the story.
People tend to think of digital versus physical in an either/or way. Binary thinking. Always nonsense. One is not lesser than the other; one
does not preclude the other. Where books are concerned, they are just different vehicles for reading stories and discovering ideas.
I’ll continue to like them both and to read them both, leaning to e-books simply because it allows me to read with ease – with comfort,
focused only on the story.
Now the sun is out, the beer is cold, and there are stories waiting for me. I hope I don’t get sunstroke. And I hope I don’t have to hear yet
another person tell me about how wonderful “real” books smell.
The Book Versus The E-reader
by: SarahT - Sunday, March 16, 2014
Three years ago I was completely against e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle because I loved showing off all the books I owned on a
bookshelf and would even store them alphabetically, which gave me a feeling of accomplishment. It wasn’t the fact that bookstores were
closing down around me, as I would always buy books online anyway (who doesn’t like to save money?) that made me detest these new
electronic versions of books, but the fact that I wouldn’t be able to hold a book, flick through the pages or turn down the corners to mark
where I had read to.
However, last year I caved. I bought a Kindle. My reason behind buying one was that I’d be travelling for a year and the suitcase allowance at
airports would never be large enough for me to transport my books around! Books are just a hassle when going on holiday. When I was
younger I would go to the library and take out the maximum number of books allowed and would always read them and reread them in the
space of two weeks because I couldn’t take enough books with me. My hand luggage would be stuffed full of books just to make my suitcase
Since I’ve had an e-reader, I don’t think I would ever buy a book again. I have no need. Books are bulky and heavy whereas an e-reader can
easily be slipped into a handbag and is extremely light. I don’t want to be carrying round a book all day just so I have something to do on the
metro, but instead I am carrying round a whole library!
Electronic books are also a lot cheaper than the hard copies and a lot of the time you can find some amazing books for free too. There’s
even an option to read a sample of the book before you buy it, which I find is a great thing. There’s nothing worse than buying a book and not
being able to get through the first chapter!
I do hate that many people are losing their jobs because of the rise in people buying digital versions of books, but that is the direction our
world is moving in, as it’s happened to music and films too. I think the number of people owning e-readers will continue to rise despite how
sad it is that paper copies of books will disappear. Keep turning those pages whilst you can!
Kindle Paperwhite, 6"
High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi.
With a storage capacity of 4GB this e-reader could hold about 3,000 books, depending on the books.
Did you Know...
It's thin and light. >Thinner than a pencil, lighter than a paperback; over 30% lighter than iPad mini.
- no annoying screen glare, even in bright sunlight.
- easy on the eyes to read, less strain; adjustable brightness.
- A single charge can last up to eight weeks (based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless off and the light setting at ten)
- Flip Through Without Losing Your Place
- Add margin notes that you can edit, delete, or even export from Kindle Paperwhite to your computer. Share highlighted sections and meaningful quotes on Facebook and Twitter, and see passages frequently highlighted by other Kindle readers.
-Kindle Paperwhite's Smart Lookup feature integrates a full dictionary with X-Ray and Wikipedia so you can access definitions, characters, settings, and more without leaving your page or losing your place.
- Choose from eight text sizes to prevent tired eyes and keep you reading longer.
- it synchronizes your last page location, bookmarks, and annotations across all your devices so you can pick up exactly where you left off reading.
- Words looked up in the dictionary are automatically added to Vocabulary Builder.
- Tap any word or highlight a section to instantly translate into other languages.