Saturday, 21 March 2015

Bookish Takeout [1]: Print Books Are Not Dying

Bookish Takeout is an original blog feature on The Devil Orders Takeout, featuring book hauls, to-read books, upcoming releases, and all sorts of bookish love!

Read the Printed Word!

I'm a bookworm. Unfortunately, I'm also a poor bookworm, so I go to two places for books: Amazon Kindle, and the Book Depository. eBooks are often cheaper, but most of my books are print books.

In my twelve years of reading books, no eBook has left me with as strong an impression as a good print book. I will love them, yes, but I won't fangirl over them as much. And often, it's simply because of a different medium. In the grand narrative of the print book vs eBook debate, here's why I stand by print books:

1. Print books give me pressure simply because of their physical presence.


It's extremely difficult to ignore the steadily accumulating books on my shelf. Since joining the TBR Smash Challenge, I've read four physical TBR books and zero eBooks. The books just compel me to read them when they're scattered next to my bed for bedtime reading. A Kindle conserves space, but that same virtue becomes a curse when I forget completely about it.
Bedside print books
And I rarely DNF print books. Out of the 80+ books on my shelf, I have 2 DNF books. On my Kindle, I'm still halfway through three of the eight eBooks. When print books remind me of their presence all the time, I'm more likely to neglect my Kindle and let its battery dwindle away.

And to be honest, I've only ever reread one eBook, The Book Thief, which was one of my favourite books of all time. Whereas I reread print books all the time. Case in point:
Bookmarked print book
I have bookmarked my favourite passages in A Clash of Kings — about 30 in all — so I can read them over and over again. While Kindles do allow you to bookmark places, you can't randomly flip through a book and stumble upon a forgotten passage you can fall in love with again. Rereading is one of my fav pastimes because these sprints are what elicit the most fangirl squees.

2. Less skimming, more absorbing the book through sheer willpower.


Don't you ever have the urge to just press your face to the page as you read and absorb all the bookish goodness through diffusion and sheer willpower? Because I do that. All the time. We tend to skim more on a screen than on paper. Don't just take my word for it; the Washington Post explains how print medium lets us "slow down, savor and think".

Experiment carried out by your resident takeout devil—pick up a double-sided sheet of paper: your homework, a notice, whatever. Read the first page in 15 seconds and turn it over. How ridiculous do you feel? Typically, a page has 250 words, so you're reading 16 words per second. But most people spend only 15 seconds on a web page. The guilt-trip from flipping physical pages quickly is much greater than just scrolling or tapping on your Kindle.

3. C'mon, books.

bookmark
There is something incomparably thrilling in first opening a brand new book. A Book Depository bookmark.
The feel of page corners giving under your fingers, the rough edges as you grip the pages, the smell of paper and ink, the stain of tea from multitasking — reading print books is a truly thrilling experience that eBooks have yet to replicate fully.

Don't get me wrong, there are many benefits of eBooks.


I mean, any form of the written word is a blessing. And eBooks are cheaper, you can get them instantly, and they've opened up ways for self-published and indie authors to reach an audience. But don't give up on print books. If you can, buy the print version,

Takeout: do not discount the power of a print book.


Are print books more powerful? Do you prefer print or electronic books? Comment below!


I'm such a hypocrite, typing all this out. I'll even ask you to tweet:
  • Here's why @AlyssaC_HK stands by print books and not eBooks. (Click to Tweet)
  • .AlyssaC_HK pledges to read the printed word. (Click to Tweet)
If you love books, subscribe here for bonus readerly takeout right in your inbox!

28 comments:

  1. I use eBooks because it's simply too inconvenient for me to take a ton of print books when I go away. I can read up to a book a day, so the Kindle is really useful for both cheapness and space. (Plus, if I run out then I can just buy more or reread old ones! And I also discovered the fanfiction download from Archive of Our Own, though it does mean that the writer doesn't get as much response so I try to go back and leave a comment.)
    Having said that, I do agree with you about print books! EBooks just aren't the same. If I read a great book on Kindle, I always have to buy a hard copy as well just so that I can have it and hold it in my hand as I read. :) 

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, eBooks are quite convenient if you stay on the move. And oh my goodness, how many times have I been saved by AO3's download feature when I'm going on a plane or other Wi-Fi voids.

      Hmm, I've never done that before but from the looks of the other comments, that's a common practice :D

      Delete
  2. I will always prefer print over ebooks. I understand the convenience of ebooks: many books all in one place, often cheaper etc. I will always prefer to hold a book in my hands though and I never tire of looking at beautiful books.

    When ebooks were first on the rise, there was suddenly the question of, are print books dead? But I don't think print will ever completely die out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BEAUTIFUL BOOKS ALL THE WAY. It's always my struggle to decide whether to go with the cheaper, less attractive cover vs the more expensive, way prettier cover. And no, you definitely hit the crux of my argument there -- eBooks are on the rise, but print won't die out.

      Delete
  3. I like print books more than eBooks in terms of what I own, for one simple reason: however silly I really dislike the idea of owning a file instead of an object. It's the same for me with DVDs and Blu-Ray, and that sort of thing. Once I have made the transaction at the store or whatever, I can say, "HEY. This rectangular block of paper belongs to me, get your mitts off it." But accounts can be misplace and money mismanaged, and then you have a real problem because it could be impossible to get that book back.

    I like the ownership of a book.

    Beyond that, you make good arguments, but I don't pertain to all of them. For example, I am no more likely to dislike or like an eBook than it's print counterpart—in my opinion, it's going to suck if it sucks either way. I've reread eBooks for that reason, and I've enjoyed getting to borrow eBooks from my library faster, as well. However, I do agree with the lack of spacial reference—eBooks are fine for my own pleasure, even if I will miss flipping through them, but if it were a textbook or something with notes I would need to review, I would hate not being able to navigate as well based on space or something.

    Good thoughts, and no, paper books are not in danger yet! (I wrote a whole essay in Spanish about it once and my teacher was like, "Well, it's obvious this is your passion, Heather..." and I got good grades on that one. :D )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmm, yes, print books have that real sense of "I paid money I shouldn't be using on books but who cares, I HAVE A BOOK". Whereas a Kindle transaction feels unreal. So yes, ownership is right.

      I think I'm just sort of "meh" for eBooks mainly because of the same unreal idea -- it's just a story slipping across an electronic screen, whereas for books it's a story in my hands. But it's interesting, because for textbooks I actually prefer eBooks because I can do a quick search for whatever term I'm looking for!

      Delete
  4. I like ebooks for convenience - if I'm hauling around a huge book everywhere, that can get pretty tiring pretty quickly. But I also do a whole bunch of staring at screens as it is, so I do prefer having books. And owning them. I mean, having a stack of books is the most satisfying thing ever.
    I don't think we should bash people one way or the other....I mean, it's the story that matters, right? I dislike people who only read ebooks because reasons and I dislike people who are snobs about only reading books. *shrugs*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmm yes, book hauls just have that feeling. (And goodness, I spend HOURS staring at my screen. I really need to stop.) But definitely, some people prefer eBooks and that should be respected. It really depends on the moment -- maybe it's just inconvenient to get a print copy, versus you think an eBook isn't sufficient for your purposes.

      Delete
  5. Print books! I just adore them, although I do enjoy ebooks also. But it's just my personal preference to read print books, and they are quite easy for me to get my hands on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Book Depository does make these things waaaay more convenient, especially for non-Americans like me. I use eBooks a lot too, especially since I subscribe to Bookbub and they're all electronic ...

      Delete
  6. I think there's a place for both buuuuut I prefer a physical book. THE SMELL! THE FEEL! Although I am opposite, in that I'll more likely skim a print book than an ebook. I think this is because I read on an iPod, so I have like 2 paragraphs a screen. -_- It drives me bonkers, but it's actually easy to NOT skim, which is good. hehe.
    I also like that print books prove your a bookworm! Like you walk into a house and all a person has is a kindle...how are you supposed to judge (cough cough) them off their collection and swap favourites and just see what kind of person they are?!!!
    Basically: physical is the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EXACTLY. THE BOOK-FEEL. Don't judge me, that's totally a word. And yes, I hadn't considered swapping books as an issue. I can especially see how that would be way easier especially for book bloggers and ARCs.

      iPod-staring does not sound very healthy for your eyes, but I haven't tried doing that before -- although I do read some fanfiction on my phone. But then I skim a LOT of fanfiction mainly because I'm just hunting down sections for a particular character.

      Delete
  7. ahahha, that is very true! I don't really DNF print books either, or skim through them. If I feel like skimming, I only read fast but still read every word. But, personally, I started loving reading on my tablet more :/ You get books instantly on your tablet while, for the physical ones, you have to wait like 5 days. :P But, yeah, I always buy my favorite books in physical copy so I can hold them close to my heart. ^^ Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, the instant gratification of clicking on Amazon and instantly receiving the book for devouring is definitely good. (I remember how I was desperately waiting for ADSOM for most of this month -- much worry and anxiety and book waiting.) I think the only fav I only own in eBook form is The Book Thief, honestly ...

      Delete
  8. I don't own a Kindle (yet) and I've always preferred print books. Ebooks have their benefits, and I love how much cheaper they are, but reading something off a screen never gives me the same sense of accomplishment that plowing away through a good book does. And if I really love a book, I want a real, physical copy of it to go on my shelves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, for me eBooks aren't that much more expensive than print books, so I don't even have that incentive. But yes, there's that accomplishment feeling of being halfway through a book. And it seems that the comments agree print books are necessary for fav novels!

      Delete
  9. Ebooks are really useful, especially if you're going out of town for a while and don't want to lug around a bunch of heavy books. That said, I always prefer reading print books because they're awesome! And also because staring at a screen for too long tends to strain my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, the lighter load is one of the most popular arguments for eBooks in the comments section. But yes, screens are not conducive to my eyes -- especially worse now that I'm using a computer in school as well.

      Delete
  10. I ALWAYS prefer print books over e-books-unless my library only has the e-book version of a book. I'm all for technology, but I spend way too much time staring at a screen during school and at home, so reading a book is a way for me to get away from a screen. Also, it feels so much better to physically flip the pages of a book then just hit a button with your touchpad or swipe with an e-reader.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never actually tried borrowing an eBook from a library before. I don't think the local libraries have that functionality, but that would be fun. And yes, the flipping action is so much more fulfilling. But at the same time, eBooks are really convenient, especially in terms of distribution!

      Delete
  11. PRINT! I was on the ebook train for awhile, simply because of cost and immediate gratification. But now... honestly, I need a real book! It's easier to read them, they are pretty to look at, and I am pretty sure I have become a book hoarder? Oh, and I am apparently a super old lady now, and my eyes kind of hurt looking at the screen ;) I think you are right, print books will NEVER be completely obsolete. I often find ebooks for kids and I think... no. Just no. Incidentally, my daughter also is a bit of a book hoarder. Great discussion topic!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I jumped on that train a few years back when it was all the rage. Now my Kindle is languishing on my desk. It's definitely easier to remember I have to read books when they're sitting on my shelf, glaring at me. (And yes, my eyes can't always be staring at screens.) eBooks are definitely useful, but no print books EVER? That's definitely a long shot.

      Congratulations on your daughter's habits, I am certain she will become a lovely person simply by hoarding books :D :D

      Delete
  12. Bahaha! While I do love collecting print books (I think I have around... 300? And 100-ish remain unread) mostly because of reason #3 you stated above, I feel like I'm more inclined to read eBooks. Since I'm not from the US, a lot of the new releases take forever to be available in our country, so I just get them on my Kindle. Also, I carry my phone around with me everywhere and I like that I can adjust the fonts, font sizes, and that I can highlight passages without worrying that I'm destroying the book. ;) But still, there's no way in hell that I'll stop collecting the beautiful print books!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh WOW. That is truly a stupendous TBR. (If I ignore my Kindle, I have 5-6 unread books. If I ignore my Kindle.) Ohhhh, yay for non-USers! (The world does not revolve around them, as sometimes it's easy to forget on the Internet.) I normally use The Book Depository -- there's that waiting time, though, so eBooks still have that advantage. Ooh yes, you can highlight on eBooks! That said, I can stick post-its on print books -- complete with doodles and emoticons -- so yes. Both. Both are good. XD

      Delete
  13. Awesome post --- and that Washington Post article was great to link to! I actually don't have a firm favorite medium. I used to be all about just physical books. Then I was just ebooks. Now I'm mostly on audiobooks, ebooks for ARCs and cheap books I'm not willing to buy, and physical books for the ones I want to love forever and ever. They all have their ups and downs, and yes, I do love the feel and smell and connection with physical books. But there are other things I like a lot better in the ebooks.

    I read faster with the ebooks, which, in fairness, is attributed somewhat to skimming. But the BIG thing for me is that I'm blind as a bat, and when I'm tired, glasses can only do so much. I LOVE being able to increase the font size when my eyes start hurting --- I can read multiple hours MORE each day because of ebooks, and I wouldn't trade that benefit just to have the physical connection to my book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Liza! That's a good point -- our own preferences tend to change over time, so it depends. I do confess I've never liked audiobooks much, but that's mainly due to cost rather than preference. Physical books are definitely the best for the THIS BOOK IS CLOSE TO MY HEART feels.

      True, true. But I can always read more slowly with ebooks if I put it down often. That's why I have the utmost admiration for the ebooks that force me to turn on the Kindle again -- they are really good plot-wise! OH. I never considered font size being an issue! Conventional wisdom would say a screen's bad for your eyes, but huge font size definitely evens that out. I shall borrow that argument for usage when my parents next berate me XD

      Delete
  14. Print books will always be my first love, but I simply can't ignore the convenience and simplicity of eBooks - which is why my Kindle is my best friend. (I mean, I haven't had a chance to implement all your lovely socialisation tips yet, so once the flood of FB friend requests comes in, that spot might be usurped... but we'll see. ;))

    Also, I must add a disclaimer: the fact that I can read my Kindle under the covers at night relatively stealthily plays no part in our best friend-ship. The very thought is unfathomable and there is no way it has ever crossed my mind before today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahaha, yes, best friend spots tend to change often. I'm proud to say managing this blog is one of the contenders, although not so strong as your own amazing self :D :D

      WHAT. HOW. It GLOWS, to paraphrase Eugene from Frozen. I can read print books by the dim light from my window, but the glowing Kindle screen remains an enemy. TEACH ME YOUR TRICKS.

      Delete

IMPORTANT: Please use Name/URL instead of Wordpress/OpenID to comment, otherwise Blogger hobbits will eat your words. So sorry about this. Thanks!

I respond to all comments and would love to check out your blog if you leave a link :D Unless it's spam. Then I'll delete the comment and put you on the takeout blacklist, what a shame!