Mind the Gap: Paper or Electronic?

BOOKS3I still remember going to the library with my Mum when I was a preschooler. I had my own library card, and proudly brought home three books from each visit. I learned to read phonetically, and those books gave me new practice material each week. Finishing each page and physically turning it to the new challenge was fun, and exciting.

Books1Every night as we got older, our father read a chapter of one of the “Children’s Classics” to my sister and me. That’s how we became acquainted with Heidi, Tom Sawyer, Hans Brinker, and others. I still have many of the books I owned as a child, and some of the books I bought for my own children as well. Among them: Dr. Suess’s Gerald McBoing Boing, Kipling’s Just So Stories, and Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses for me –  Lobel’s Frog and Toad are Friends and Silverstein’s The Giving Tree for my kids.

Fast forward… When I retired, my co-workers gave me a Kindle Fire and a gift card to load it with books. On days when I was caring for my mother, she slept a great deal and I read. I couldn’t leave the house, but I could download light fiction and mysteries onto the Kindle to pass the time. When the power went out in our last winter storm, I could still read in the evening on my little backlit e-reader.

I like that I can get magazines newspapers, games, and some books electronically. But… there are also things I still like to own in paper form. I love having all my Diana Gabaldon books on the shelf, and there are a few other authors I plan to keep there, too. We have history books, photo books, and more.

I like being able to have up-to-date reference materials online (the OED and encyclopedias take up a lot of space, too.) And I like that I don’t have a million paperbacks cluttering up my space. But for some other kinds of books, I still really love my paper volumes – and the bookstores that sell them.

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This post was written in response to the WordPress Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Do you prefer digital books or paperbacks?

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17 Responses to Mind the Gap: Paper or Electronic?

  1. eof737 says:

    I do like the option to explore both. 😉

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  2. lexiesnana says:

    I love my kindle fire that the kids got me too.It is wonderful for car riding and taking to work.There are pros and cons to both I guess and I am glad we can have both.Great post.

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  3. I’d have a lot more space on my shelves if I went electronic, but I still like the ‘page turning’ aspect. My son signs out audiobooks from the online library all the time – loves being read to. My daughter is a ‘book in hand’ gal like her mother. We have an early model Kindle, but since the initial novelty wore off, we never use it. – Suzan –

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  4. coastalcrone says:

    Paper books, please! I like other things electronically but must have my paper books.

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  5. sharechair says:

    I don’t think we’ll ever have to make the either/or choice … BUT …. there are deep changes happening within the industry of publishing that will certainly alter the landscape of books. Print publishers are struggling because the big orders just aren’t there. So sad to see Borders collapse last year, and now B&N is in trouble, too. Turbulent times for book stores and book makers, but I’m confident it will all work out in the end.

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    • I agree – Barnes and Noble is a wonderful respite – and I often stop in there. Recently I found they carry Paddington Bear toys – but not the books! Those you have to order online… Because I had a deadline, I didn’t buy either from them, which made me very sad! I love having a grandchild on my lap or in the curve of my arm, turning the pages of a favorite story together.

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  6. Ruth Bailey says:

    I have owned many books over my life time and I, too, still have some of the books that my parents bought me as a child, notably some horse books by Marguerite Henry, as well as a collection of books that my father and his siblings read as children. And our bookshelves overflowed during the years I homeschooled my children (using a literature-based curriculum). But now that my husband has retired and we have moved to a smaller house, we are always on the alert for ways to diminish our physical “footprint.” We don’t have an electronic reader yet, as the public library is half a mile down the road, but we can see where one might be in our future, especially if we decide to use our boat for extended trips.

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    • We have one bookcase dedicated to books we just can’t bear to part with. Our library has an annual book sale where they take donations (we always have a few boxes), and use the proceeds to purchase new materials. Anything that doesn’t sell is donated to after school programs or shelters. We couldn’t bear to just throw old books away, and this is a nice way to empty shelves.
      The extended boat trip sounds wonderful! 😉

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  7. bluebee says:

    The convenience of digital books is great, but a world without the real thing would be too awful to contemplate.

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  8. travtrails says:

    Books anytype except trash, are my weakness too. Though now my reading time is getting limited due to too many commitments,

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    • When my Mum passed away, I got some of her books – added to my stack to read… I’m having fun getting through them Reading is such a great way to decompress – I hope you find a way to fit some recreational reading in! 😉

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