Book Talk

Book Talk: Is It So Bad Reading E-Books?

booktalk

Hi guys,

I’ve actually been wanting to write about this topic since few days ago but I’ve only had time now to put it into words. Anyway, what brought this on was that I saw some people on my twitter timeline talking about how much they prefer physical books over e-books. Normally I would not care about it because after all, it is a personal preference and I don’t care if you love the former over the latter. However, this time, this said person was talking down to people who are using e-books to read, as if saying “you’re just reading e-books, that’s not real books!”

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Well, needless to say, I am pissed because I have been such an advocate of e-book reading for a long time. Of course, I love physical books too but seriously what is so wrong with reading e-books? Sure, you cannot feel the pages and emotions, cannot use actual bookmarks, cannot smell the book scent but is that all that is to reading?

15507958What is it about reading e-books that make people say we’re not reading real books? I’m reading the same words that you are reading from the physical copies, so what is the difference? I don’t feel like there is any difference in how we perceive things just because we read from e-books. We feel the same kind of feelings you felt when the characters felt happy, sad, depressed, elated and of course a myriad of other feelings too. Just because we’re clicking on the next button instead of flipping the pages doesn’t make us feel any lesser. I remembered reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes on a flight back to Malaysia from Singapore and crying when I reached the end of the book. Thankfully, there was no one else sitting beside me!

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I’m one of those people who collects bookmarks. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don’t. I collected them because they are just so pretty to look at and it makes me happy to see my collection. But it doesn’t bother me when I don’t get to use my bookmarks when I read e-books because I love the fact that e-readers automatically ‘bookmarked’ your last read page. I’m sure there has been times when you read your book when you’re about to go to bed and suddenly you fell asleep. Then when you wake up the next morning, it’s like “where did I last stop last night???” With e-readers, I usually do not have that problem because you can just click on the book to see where you last stopped but with physical books, it will always take me quite some time to find the page I last read.

There are many other reasons why I love e-books, but mostly because they are not expensive and very easy to travel with so it makes me mad that there are people looking down on people reading e-books. Yes, I do get that reading physical books vs e-books is a matter of personal preference and I am not going to say “you should be reading e-books instead of physical books to save the trees!”, because that is just ridiculous. I am also of course not against physical books because I love physical books myself! I just wished that people would just let us make our own choices because after all, reading is reading whether you do it via a physical book or e-books.

23395680Having said that, of course there are some books that it is better to be read in physical format. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff comes to mind, cos I have tried reading that in ebook format but it just doesn’t work because of the way the book is formatted. Maybe I’ll read that in physical form, someday.

“Until recently, I was an ebook sceptic, see; one of those people who harrumphs about the “physical pleasure of turning actual pages” and how ebook will “never replace the real thing”. Then I was given a Kindle as a present. That shut me up. Stock complaints about the inherent pleasure of ye olde format are bandied about whenever some new upstart invention comes along. Each moan is nothing more than a little foetus of nostalgia jerking in your gut. First they said CDs were no match for vinyl. Then they said MP3s were no match for CDs. Now they say streaming music services are no match for MP3s. They’re only happy looking in the rear-view mirror.” – Charlie Booker

Linking up at: Books and a Beat

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7 thoughts on “Book Talk: Is It So Bad Reading E-Books?

  1. I have seen similar debates on the same topic and as always,hard copies ‘win’.I read both ebooks and hard copies.Over this past weekend,I went on vacation and only carried only one hardcopy but several ebooks because my luggage would have been too heavy if I carried only hard copies

    Bottom line is,books are books.

    Great post,I love how you have presented your case

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  2. I was reluctant at first to change hard copies for e-books but it became difficult to display them all and I only read most only once. Now I have a preference to read e-copy and even when I buy a hard copy, I want it to have the exact same format as my e-reader. The only downside I still see is that you can’t see those wonderful book spines anymore.

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    1. Yes, definitely agree with you. One of the best things about physical copies are the book spines. I can just look at my bookshelves forever =) And I’m the same as you, I changed to e-reading too because I have limited space on my bookshelves.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was reluctant to try an e-reader and e-books, at first; my daughter gave me my first Kindle. But once I got used to reading on it (and especially now with my updated version, the Paperwhite), I am a big fan of e-readers and books.

    I love the ease of buying a book…one click, and it’s downloaded. It doesn’t take up shelf space. I love sending books I’m not reading in the near future, or books I’ve finished, to the cloud.

    I have plenty of print volumes, many in hardcover. I do love looking at them and reading them.

    So…for me, it’s not either or…it’s enjoying both.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m really puzzled by the “they’re not real books” attitude. Sure, they’re not books in the sense of the object, but you read it the same, don’t you? Personally, being a bibliophile, book collecting and curating my own home library is just as important to me as the act of reading, so of course I have a preference for physical copies. BUT. Ebooks are really useful when I want to read something and not keep them, and I buy most of my comics in digital format before deciding whether or not to get the trade edition once they’re out. So even a hardcore lover of physical books like me can enjoy both formats!

    (A funny story, though – once I was travelling to Malacca and rereading Cassandra Clare at the same time. I had all the books in my iPad, but somehow, without thinking, I filled my backpack with the last three hardbacks of the City of Bones series. It was only when I reached my destination that I realised that I didn’t have to XD)

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  5. I completely agree with everything you said here: I don’t understand why people look down on ebooks when they make everything so much easier. And it’s not even like you have to like one over the other, just enjoy them both. There’s a competition there between them that I don’t understand how it came to be when they complement each other beautifully in different situations. Sighs. Really thoughtful post !

    Liked by 1 person

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