Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Paper vs Ebooks

I come from a family of readers. My father reads avidly. My mother reads avidly. There are bookshelves of all shapes and sizes in my parents' house and I had my very own (tall) shelf by the time I was eight and it was full. Today, nothing's changed. My own house has four large bookcases and one small one for the toddler and they're all full and there are books stashed elsewhere. 

But. Funny thing I've noticed? I'm not buying as many as I used to. At least not on paper.

Let's flash back to six, seven, eight years ago (whenever the original Kindle first wandered onto the scene). My mother told me about it.

MUM: Isn't it cool, though? You can hold it in one hand and store hundreds of books on it!
ME: Nah. It's not the saaaame.

Me, I love paper. I love cracking a brand new spine and browsing bookshops and stroking shiny covers. There's a tactile joy with hardcovers and paperbacks that ebooks simply don't have.

But. I've grown to love ebooks too.

I always hear about how it's paper vs ebooks. Vs. Like it's got to be one or the other. Why? Why can't you have both?

Here's what it boils down to for me:

When I travel, I take ebooks with me. Always. I have the Kindle app on my phone and an ancient Kindle and one or both of them travel with me. Ebooks are an absolute godsend not only when I'm away from home, but also on the actual travelling part of the travel - long train journeys and long flights (not cars or buses. I can't read on either without feeling sick.)

As for home, well, that depends. A combination of impatience (I must have things IMMEDIATELY!) and a lack of space means I don't buy as many paperbacks and hardcovers as I used to. I also have a hierarchy for books.

1. I love the author/series and CANNOT WAIT to read the next book = paperback/hardcover pre-order
2. I remember reading a book years ago and loving it = paperback
3. This sounds really good, but I'm not sure = download the Kindle sample, then the book itself if I like the beginning
4. I read an ebook and fall absolutely in love with it = get a pretty paperback version for my bookshelf

#3 is obviously the most common.

My Kindle library will never replace my bookshelves, and one day I fully intend to have one of those libraries with sliding ladders like in Beauty and the Beast, but there is definitely room for ebooks in my life.

What about you? Are you an either/or reader? Or do you read a bit of both too?