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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Paperbacks and Hardbacks V/S E-books

Reading books has always been a habit I’ve followed, rather a treasured hobby. I have always regarded a book as an art object, as an investment. However, the growing presence of Amazon's Kindle & the Nook force me to think about how a person who just can't part with books would feel about one of these gadgets.
I believe, a book lover would always prefer a paperback edition of a given book to the electronic version. And there are numerous to support it.

One, the Kindle or Nook doesn't create a feeling of reading like a book does. Admit it- that anticipative feeling while turning the pages of Jeffrey Archer’s Prisoner of Birth won't be felt as you tap your e-reader to scroll down and read more.
I remember collecting old copies of the Enid Blyton series from my grand mom’s house & devouring on them throughout the holidays. Books remain readable for many years, given that paper has a much longer life span than most digital forms whereas E-book formats continue to change through time.
Plus, you can’t rule out the possibility of documents getting lost in cyberspace. Worse off if the system of a Kindle crashes, you lose your precious books unless you have backup. 
For someone who reads pretty often, a book comes in much more handier than the e-book reader. Books are best companions on travels as they don't have a battery life - whereas, a moment of anxiety on the climax of a gruesome thriller read can abruptly come to a dissappointing halt , in case, the e-books batteries are not charged. 

As for the economy of the e-book reader, not all books are available free on the net, especially the best-sellers. In case they are, you cannot rule out copyright issues. The print versions of books often cost the same as the ones available online & there isn’t even a high cost involved in getting hold of the paperback edition. 

You can always walk into the nearest bookstore, read a few excerpts & buy it if it suits your taste. Or even better, you can rent-a-book from

The smell of a book be it an old, musty book of Shakespeares’s Hamlet or a freshly printed copy of the Harry Potter series is always fulfilling. There is a sense of comfort on the touch of its pages touch of its pages both - yellow & white.
From an author’s point of view too, paperbacks/hardbacks are a more concrete evidence of their efforts as against e-books. Additionally, the potential for piracy of e-books may make publishers and authors reluctant to distribute digitally. Copyright infringement may be involved because copying is involved-sometimes without the author’s/publisher's knowledge.
E-books suit one section of the society really well - students. They are pretty much more convenient  to use, unburdening students from carrying a load of books. They are also beneficial in cutting back textbook price, offering a greener choice as opposed to a thick 1,000-page encyclopedia.
Given that these gadgets are convenient and appealing, they save space & carry the “environment friendly” tag. But as someone who has resorted to the experience of picking up a book to read, would you let these reasons take over your paperbacks & hardbacks.
Make your choice. 


  1. I, as a reader prefer paperbacks to ebooks.

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  3. Paper books- I cannot avoid underlining and highlighting while reading. Somehow the proper feel of reading comes from the tangibility of a paper book!

  4. @ Harish- That is great to know :)
    Are you an avid reader? What kind of books do you generally read?

    @ Payal- You have a really good habit! Underlining sentences etches them in our minds. Helps us think deeper, doesn't it? And surely difficult to follow on an e-reader. Continue with it :)

  5. I don't think you've laid your hands on an e-book reader yet. I love the small of paper, but I totally love my kindle. I've doubled my reading ever since owing it.

    Also, highlighting is very easy in ebooks. You can refer to your highlights and even copy them or share them on a social networking etc.

    I'm sure paper books will always have their place, but the balance is disrupted for sure and i'll take a while before the new normal for sure.

  6. @pisku - its really great to know that you hold a different opinion. The highlight & share feature seems pretty neat.

    Why don't u share something with us & our fans through your Kindle? It'll be great.

  7. I am glad you mention Enid Blyton. In fact I have written a book on her, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage ( In fact the book will be converted into an e-book, costing less than a quarter of the print version. So be on the lookout for this great once-in-lifetime bargain.
    Stephen Isabirye

  8. @eni - A personal ode to Enid Blyton sounds great. We shall definitely check out the link.
    Keep sharing stuff. :)