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Why E-books Suck and Real Books are Awesome

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There has always been something charming about books to me — something glamorous and exciting. E-books have no such charm or glamour. Why throw out what isn’t broken?

I mean, we have been printing words on paper for over 570 years. Show a little respect, people. Gutenberg is probably rolling over in his grave the way we are shaming his invention. Whoever decided, “hey, let’s not print books anymore, let’s just put them in a digital format and suck the fun out of everything,” is a killjoy.

And, if any of you environmentalists come at me thinking you’ll convince me, “well, electronic publishing doesn’t use paper and saves trees blah blah bullcrap,” you’ve got another think coming. How about you get rid of automobiles first, and then you can try to take away my paper-bound books? Not going to happen.Books do not require batteries to read. What if you were stranded on an island and you only had your Kindle or Nook book? How long is that going to last you — one to two months? Or you could have not made that mistake and have traveled with a real book instead, which could last you a lifetime. What do you say… sounds better? Of course, it sounds better because it’s a real book and real books are awesome. I bet you Robinson Crusoe would have been pissed while shipwrecked on an island for 28 years with a Nook book.

You can read books on planes during the first 20 minutes of take off because they do not require an on off button. The first 20 minutes of a flight, which is the most dangerous part of the flight, is probably the time you want to be distracted. I mean, you’re only in a 735,000 pound death trap that could kill you and burn your entire body to smithereens — ouch! Might as well get a little bit of happiness in with a book before you’re “bye bye birdie.”

Real books come in a bookstore, and bookstores are awesome. You can grab a book from the store, flip through the pages, look at the cover, and see if it looks interesting enough. Bookstores — and even more awesome, independent bookstores — usually have people that can help you find the perfect book for your tastes, unlike massive chain stores that suck the souls out of their employees to turn a profit. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Joe Fox. How, could you destroy the Shop Around the Corner? Meg Ryan should have kicked your ass, you corporate sell-out — great movie, though.

The list continues. You can underline passages in a book. For the haters out there, don’t give me any crap about “oh well on the Nook book and Kindle you can underline passages and even highlight them too.” Well isn’t that nice? But it is not the same. I will admit, you electronic lovers, that it is nice to be able to click on what you underlined and go immediately there, instead of flipping through your book, not finding the specific passage, so then you resort to turning page after page to find it — cursing that you didn’t dog-ear the dang page. Electronic lovers, you have not won the battle yet. For it is actually a good thing to turn over all those pages because while you monotonously turn each page you can stumble upon other passages that you love.

An even lamer feature on e-readers is that they often have access to the internet. Well you know what? The internet is addicting. When is the last time you logged onto your computer and didn’t check Facebook or your email first? Never. I’m trying to read a dang book. Why would I want stupid things like technology distracting me? Exactly, I wouldn’t!

Real books are not fragile. Why is that relevant, you may ask? Well first of all, I am a passionate reader. I actually delve into the characters I read and immerse myself into their story. So if something happens to them, or the story takes a turn that infuriates me, for instance, last two chapters of Mockingjay — come on now, Suzanne Collins, did you die and have someone else finish your story? — then I can throw my book down in a fit of rage. Nook book would shatter into a million pieces and then start sparking and making weird noises and eventually probably burst into flames. Not cool, Nook book, not cool.

Here’s another scenario: Let’s say I own a Kindle. So I just read this amazing book, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It is imperative that I give it to all my friends to read. Oh wait, I can only share the book with one friend, and oh, guess what, you have 14 days to read it, or poof — sucks for you, the book is gone.

This scenario sucks because books are meant to be loaned out, shared, and passed around many times. Haven’t you ever been to a coffee shop that has a lending library? It is a magical place, where people donate one of their books, and then take a book in turn. How am I going to do that with an e-reader — here is my 200-dollar (Kindle Fire) read my book and return it to me. You have got to be kidding me.

If we are getting really crazy, let’s talk about a future scenario where there are no paper books anymore. All books are in electronic form. Consider the children, for goodness sake. You think teachers are going to read a children’s book and then slowly show to the class the tiny picture on the screen of a Nook book or Kindle? No, because that is the dumbest idea ever. Then there could be the argument “well, the book could be on a television screen to have a bigger picture.” I am about to throw a tantrum like a five-year-old.

What is the world coming to that would have children read television screens over paper books! This is a nightmare. If that ever happens, I am building a rocket ship and getting the hell out of this world. Maybe I will meet some aliens who are cool and read paper books.

Here is my last thought on why e-readers suck and paper books are awesome. If you have ever seen Beauty and the Beast, then you will understand my logic on this one. Remember the scene where Beast shows Beauty that library. Well that library is my dream. A room filled with the most imaginative characters and best stories since the beginning of time — rolling across the shelves on my ladder. I know it is the best dream ever.

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About MeredithElaineDonaldson

  • livnat

    I agree with every word, but still holds a kindle for any case

  • robert

    Exactly. I also hate the way media keeps plugging on that everyone wants e-readers and they are now selling more than paperbacks. There is a reason and it’s not popularity. It’s because a huge multinational came in, bought out all the local book stores (or put out of business) then went belly up (yes boarders- curse you) leaving no book stores to replace them. Basically forcing people to go onto e-readers.

  • Rhawkz

    I saw this woman do a talk on -ebooks, she raised two points that I found slightly disgraceful for a writer to put forth. 1: She said that e-readers do their best to make the experience much like reading a physical book. To that I say: Why not just read a physical book? The second point was: it gets rid of cluttered bookshelves. To that I say: That’s the best part!

  • Michael

    I too prefer paper books for two main reasons; the physical gratification (like when you buy a cd or vinyl you get the cool booklets etc) and because the price of e-books are still the same as a regular paperback/hardcover. That means not only do you have to pay 100-200 bucks for the hardware but you still have to pay full price for content that doesn’t even take up physical space or cost anything to reproduce.
    Imagine having to buy a $200,000 Ferrari with cloth seats being standard config. Like WHAT?! Why should I pay further premium for a product that IS premium.

    Often I find the E version of books to contain a lot of errors that make the read annoying (repeated pages, poor formatting etc). E books are a cool idea but in practice it has proven far less enjoyable than just owning the real thing in my case. One can argue the portability factor but ask yourself…even if you do travel a lot, how many books are you ACTUALLY gonna read? That’s right, just enough for the layover and transportation. You aren’t gonna visit France and stay in your hotel reading all day, unless you’re THAT disconnected and lame.

  • Rachael

    I was looking forward to reading an argument on why Paper books are great from you but your argument held nothing substantial to me. Look at e-books vs real books.

    Counter argument?

    Also, Thanks for giving me a good source to use for my paper on why the argument for Electronic books is stronger than those who argue against them though!

  • Igor

    To each his own. After a lifetime of reading and collecting thousands of books I finally bailed out and went too a PDA reader. And now I’m converting to audiobooks.

    Everything in it’s time, and everything in it’s place.

  • Ann Fowler

    Real books are better than e-books. E-books can’t beat the feeling of having your favorite book in your hands.

  • Graham

    I travel a lot so the appeal of ebooks should be obvious to me, but I just can’t commit to them. Last time I travelled I took a small shelf of real books, and the joy of reading one, putting it away then helping myself to another can never be replicated by my kindle. I also grow deeply annoyed when I spot the frequent typos in ebooks; as someone said they are not that much cheaper than real books anyway, so why should I spend £6 on an ebook only to have wordsjoinedup and distracting formatting? I wish I could love ebooks for my own convenience, but I don’t just read to get the text, there’s also a sensory pleasure that only real books can provide.

  • richard philip

    personally since i have not read the article above i have nothing to say. i will finish of this comment by saying
    with a grain of salt. beyotch

  • richard philip

    i hate my life

  • Realbooklady

    I agree with you. A piece of plastic with some electronics in it can’t replace the real thing. I have a kindle and it only gets used when I travel.

  • Sun Hao

    I’m taking a math class that gives us a sort of “free” ebook, and it is TERRIBLE! I miss the days when I could flip to the back of the book to look up answers AND I actually learn faster using a real book. Now, with the stupid math ebook, I can hardly read the print, my eyes are getting weaker by the day, and I don’t have the patience to “type” in a page number to go all the way to the back of the book. Learning math is an aggressive activity, and a physical book can take the aggression better than a computer.

  • Marion Freeman

    I find this type of approach really insulting to writers. So it’s not their hours of hard work that count, it’s just wether or not it’s printed nicely on paper? Really? I agree DRMs suck. That’s why I rutinely strip all my e-books of DRM protection, even though I paid for them and I have a kindle. But I have a small apartment, which I will probably vacate soon again, because that’s how I roll, and I will not lug around bookshelves full of heavy tree-pulp.