eBook or Paper: Which Do You Prefer?

Or The Dilemma of Choosing Between Comfort and Convenience

tablet computer booksA book is like food. If it’s the right kind, it will  nourish and gratify.

When I was a child, I fed on every kind of book that took me away to unknown worlds or introduced me to characters and their dilemmas that helped form my opinions of right and wrong, and the gray areas in between. Reading was my escape and solace. Lord of the Rings swept me away to middle-earth and The Outsiders brought me closer to home – both showed me examples of suffering and courage and perseverance against all odds.

Cloth-bound hardbacks or soft-sided paperbacks or flimsier comic books were the choices back then. We borrowed from libraries and bought from secondhand stores. My mother kept our house stocked with encyclopedias and works of the masters. She even paid for a subscription to Writers Digest Condensed Books, which I devoured along with everything else in the house.

Today, my love of books is evidenced by filled book shelves throughout my house and books in boxes still waiting for a resting place. Dictionaries, thesauruses, and dozens of writing guides live near my computer. Cookbooks laugh at me from the kitchen. Children’s books wait for my granddaughter’s visits. Tons of toddler books are stored away for the day my new grandbaby grows into them. My night stand is stacked with fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries. And on top of the stack closest to the bed, and within easy reach, is my Kindle.

Yes, I’ve embraced the digital age (somewhat, anyway). My Kindle holds nearly 50 books I’ve already read, plus 50 more nonfiction and 158 fiction titles in to-be-read “piles.” I don’t buy jewelry or shoes. I do buy books. They are still my solace and my escape.

I shared my love of reading with my children when they were young, and now my ten-year-old granddaughter loves to hear and read a good story both in paperback and eBook.

But I can’t imagine my baby granddaughter growing up without a relationship with physical books. Not running her chubby fingers over color-filled illustrations, not turning pages (tasting and smelling them, even), not leaving baby smudges behind. Don’t children need this tactile interaction? Don’t adults?

Reading on my Kindle is convenient, saves space, and usually costs less than its paper alternative. But there is something more personal about touch versus click, voice vs texting, mailed letters versus emailed ones. It seems a connection is missing from lack of the personal.

I hope we will always have the choice between physical and digital books. For me, if the costs are the same (or close), I choose paper. How about you? Do you prefer reading eBooks or paper? If eBooks, why? Please take a second to choose your answers in the polls below. 

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Image ” Tablet Computer And Books ” courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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