Book vs Nook: Battle of the century


Technology may be taking over the world, but it will never invade my library.
I’m an active bibliophile, and I love more about books than just the stories in the pages – I love the pages themselves! With e-readers taking over the literary industry and even putting Borders Booksellers out of business, I will stay a resolute fan of real, honest-to-goodness paper books.
There are qualities to physical books that you just can’t get on an e-reader: the feel of the pages, the smell of the book, having two pages open at once. An e-reader is nothing more than words on a screen, and books are more to me than words on a page.
Every individual book is special – the cover art, the print-type, the physical thickness. I can tell things about a book just by picking it up and opening it, not to mention the really cool collection aspect to physical, hard copy books.
With an e-reader, you don’t get any of that. There’s no cover art, the print type is standardized, there’s no way to judge physical dimensions, and there is no way a collection of books on an e-reader is anywhere near as cool as a physical book collection.
I have a huge collection of real books – over 700 in my bedroom, but I’ve got at least 300 more elsewhere in my house.   I’ve even branded them with my own personal stamp: “This Book is the Property of the Michelle Fredrickson Personal Library.” I had to do that because I lend out my books like crazy.
The library system really isn’t that good anymore – I want to encourage literacy in all my friends and no one really likes using the libraries. Because of this I’ve taken personal responsibility for making sure all my friends read. So, I have to lend out my books to everyone.
And guess what? You can’t lend out books on an e-reader to friends! Once you buy a book, it’s confined to your e-reader and your e-reader alone. See how the e-reader could decrease literacy? Say I download a really good book and I tell my friend to read it – I’ll tell them to download it, and they’ll shrug and say they don’t want to pay for it.
So many people never want to pay for books. That’s why I lend them out so much, and have a lending ledger so I can keep track of who has which book. And with books on e-reader, that just goes away.
I go to book signings, too. Maybe 1/5 of my collection is autographed by the author. How would an author sign an e-reader, hmm? The concept of collectible books would disappear!
The other thing about e-readers is the distraction aspect; when you have a “book” with the ability to play Angry Birds and Temple Run, it can be tempting for people who aren’t as literature-crazy as I am to blow off reading the book and play games instead. It’s like trying to write an essay on Facebook.
I’m not saying that e-readers are bad; they just won’t replace normal books for me. They do have some uses – I think the most practical use is for textbooks. Take off the distraction factor – leave that for the tablets – and make it a total e-reader for textbooks.
I don’t love textbooks as much as I love regular books – they’re heavy and they don’t smell nearly as good as regular books. The print is small, it can be hard to keep track of… I think a really good use for an e-reader would be for textbooks. Think of the scoliosis it would prevent to have all textbooks on one light e-reader!
Plus, textbooks are so expensive – a hundred and fifty dollars for a book is crazy.  It’s cheaper and more efficient to have textbooks on an e-reader- but not normal books which can be picked up at Half-Priced Books for $5-$10.  For me, the hard-copy book will always be better than the impersonal reading on an e-reader.
Technology is invading the literature world. Amazon has already run Borders out of the game. But no Nook, Kindle, or other type of e-reader will ever replace real hard copy books for me – I just love them way too much.