E-books? E-gad! Why I prefer paperbacks to electronic pads...

I heart books...

I am a Paperback Purist. At least that’s what CBS Sunday Morning called me and others like me on their program the other day. I have to say, they are right. I love everything about books; I love the feel of holding a real book in my hands, I love to peek at the top and see how many pages I've gone through, I love reading a brand new book and trying not to crease the spine and I love the way books look on my bookshelf, all lined up like little soldiers.

I can glance at any book I own and tell you whether I have read it or not and, if so, what the story is about. When I choose a book I want to read, I do so by looking at the cover first, scanning for a title and even artwork that draws my eye. Then I flip it over and read the back cover. If the blurb on the back gets me, I open to the first page and start reading. If it doesn't get me on the first page, I put it back. I know within the first few lines if I will read a book and, usually, whether or not I will enjoy it.

Some books come home with me and get read immediately and some sit on a shelf for a bit until just the right moment comes along. New, old, used, paperback or hardback...It doesn't matter. As long as I can hold it in my hands and turn pages made of actual paper, I'm happy.

from CBS Sunday Morning

Everything in it's place and a place for everything.
Everything in it's place and a place for everything.

Filled to the brim

     More than just holding and reading a regular book, I love owning them. A bookshelf whose shelves are filled with hardbacks and paperbacks, books stacked anywhere they will fit, is a sight I adore. Books make me smile. I collect them. I try to pick up the classics anytime I see them at garage sales and flea markets. Some that I have read, others that I have not. I just want to own them, pass them on to my children, read them to them at bed time and open their eyes to the worlds I fell in love with. The condition matters not, the edition is not a concern. I don’t care what they are worth because I will never sell them. In fact, the copy of The Lord of the Rings that my dad gave me is worth more to me than any first edition print you could find.

     The books I have read and enjoyed gain a place on my shelf. Once there, they never leave. The books I love are the books I keep, no matter how full those shelves become. I will make room. 


     I can’t imagine my life without books. I have been reading like a fiend since, well since I learned how to read. I always have a book with me and, quite often, I have two or three. They are in my bag, on my bedside table, in the dining room waiting for me to pick them back up and finish their stories. It is common place to see me with my nose in a book.

     It is not common place, however, nor will it ever be, to find my nose in a kindle. Or a Nook, or any of the other e-readers out there. I am completely, utterly, one hundred percent, entirely ANTI-ELECTRONIC BOOKS.

     If you own one, good for you. But don’t try to sell me on how great they are or how cheaply or quickly or easily you can get “books” on them. You will not change my mind. I know they are everywhere and growing in popularity, some of my best friends have them. (So what if I shook my head at them and told them I was disappointed in them for going all techie on me?) But I don’t think paperbacks or “traditional books” will be going anywhere anytime soon, if ever. There are enough purists such as myself out there to keep them circulating for a good long while. And, besides, like my best friend said when I curled my lip at her new toy, “I’m still keeping the books I have and it’s not like I’m not going to read regular books anymore.”

     It was true, she’d bought three paperbacks at Barnes and Noble just that weekend. So, it eased my mind a little. Just a little. But when the electronic books had first come about, I had felt a little more strongly in my negative feelings. I felt like the future was barreling down before I was ready and, besides, my dream as a writer had always been to see my name in print on a paper page, not in type on a computerized screen. I can see that anytime, like now for example. 

Which Do You Prefer?

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Grab your floaties, paperback!

     Believe it or not, over the last year or so, I have come to terms, somewhat, with the whole Kindle/Nook/whatever thing. I know they are around, I know people are going to use them and now I only feel slightly betrayed when someone I know purchases one. I don't want to get rid of E-books....not really, I have just come to realize that it may be up to me to help keep paperbacks afloat amidst the drowning waters of this technical sea. I guess I just need to start buying more books. Let’s just hope my husband understands….

     E-books, like most technology may come and go but paperbacks and printed media are here to stay...well, at least in my house. :)


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What Do You Think? 36 comments

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

Ah, a person after my own heart! Your second sentence "I love the feel of holding a real book in my hands", grabbed me as I was hopping hubs.

I, too, enjoy the page-turning experience, and peeking over the top, as you so aptly put it.


Cheers, Liz

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 6 years ago Author

So glad to hear from another purist :) Thanks Liz!!

Keith Worth profile image

Keith Worth 6 years ago

I have two (hypothetical) confessions to make:

A) I may or may not have read this Hub simple for the alliteration application assigned to the title.

2) I am an Ebook convert. I swore I'd never own an e-reader, no one likes to read a screen after all. I predicted that they'd tank faster than the HD-DVD and with less fanfare a paper boat capsizing in an empty tub. Then I got a Nook and now spend more time downloading books than movies.

Green) I still can't count or make a list to save my life.

For those that who don't understand a word of this, probably everyone but TSA, I'd apologize but it'd be insincere since the thought amuses me.

Good Hub,but a great title.

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I have an ebook reader and I still buy "real" books. To me, it is what is in the book that matters most, not how it looks or feels. My Kindle has gotten me reading again every night. I do still have 4 bookcases full of books and I will always want real books in my home.

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 6 years ago Author

Your cunning confessions confuse me, Ceith (sorry about the misspell but had to keep the aliteration going you understand)

1)thanks for stopping by and for loving my title.

+)I have a poem that is pure aliteration all the way through that I would post here if I didn't think it was too dirty...

S)Apologies are overrated anyhow.

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 6 years ago Author

UW- I think that realization, that e-reader users will still keep and probably on occasion purchase real books, is what has helped me, cough choke, accept them. Honestly, I think anything that gets peole reading is a good thing! :) Thanks for the comment!!

Haunty profile image

Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

I too prefer real books. I just came across a news article today that says Microcosm Publishing in Portland will trade your kindle for its worth in paperbacks. A good initiative, I think.

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 6 years ago Author

WOW, that makes me want to buy one just to trade it in!

nell79 profile image

nell79 6 years ago from United States

I'm like you in that I love holding a book in my hands. I also am known to open up a new one when I get it and put it under my nose to breath in the scent as I flip quickly through the pages. I love that scent! Strange to some, I know.

At my house books are the #1 gifts of choice for my children too. We're in need of more bookshelves eventually, but like you, we're making room.

So happy to meet another book lover! And I so hope you're right that these e-readers aren't going to phase out real books any time soon!

Keith Worth profile image

Keith Worth 6 years ago

In the above comment I accidentally typed that I downloaded more books than movies instead of more books than music. I download more wool socks than I download movies, so the correction is a bit more impressive.

On the argument for E-books though, some material is only available in electronic format. To print it out yourself would be pretty impractical for documents of any length so there is something to be said for the ease of reading it in E-ink as opposed to on the monitor.

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 6 years ago Author

Hi Nell! Always glad to meet a fellow book lover, too :) I love to give books as gifts too and my kids have waaaayyy too many also. But still, I can't imagine ever NOT buying books!

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 6 years ago Author

I had no idea wool socks were downloadable, Keith. Finally, an answer to my prayers! :)

Howard Allen profile image

Howard Allen 6 years ago

I've also read many new books while trying not to crease the spine. I'm not as particular now, probably because it never worked.I like using the first page test as well. Nothing will replace "real" books. Great article.

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

thanks Howard :) nice to see I'm not the only one trying to keep my spines uncreased :)

Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California'

I too prefer 'real books', however in order to keep up with today's technology and consumer's habits, I have been forced to offer my book (self published) as a download. I may not like it much, but I won't turn away the possible revenue! LOL

Great hub BTW - I enjoyed it!

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

haha I know what you mean Enelle! revenue always wins LOL

thank you so much for commenting and reading :)

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 5 years ago from South Carolina, USA

E-books? E-Gad! A-MEN! Great hub!

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

haha! thanks DIY!! :D

Candace 5 years ago

I love this. This is exactly how I feel. I've been using computers since the 1980s and love my computer -- but it is and never will be a book! You can put a book on a computer or a kindle or any other computerized thing -- and it's just not the same. I'm glad there are still like-minded book people around who are trying their best to keep the printed book a thing of the future and not just the past.

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Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

I am SO with you on this. I love books. I love reading. I love the feel of the book in my hands, the smell of the paper, the fact that I can mark them in the margins and go back to them again and again, and they won't have been edited. I love that a book that meant the world to my mother as a young woman now means the world to me and that owning that book makes me feel closer to her.

This hub is awesome,and I'm also on the anti-Kindle crusade. Although, I may break down one day simply for the fact that some of my favorite hubbers have published, or are considering publishing e-books. But, I think you will be proven a thousand percent right...books will never go away - thanks be to God!

GREAT hub. Thank you!

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

Thanks for stopping by Candace--I hope books (real books lol) never go away. I think they will probably hang around for a while at least. I know I will definitely be passing books onto my kids...whether they want them or not! LOL

M2C--Yay! another anti-Ebooker!! :) I think I need to start a club hahaha! I love hearing how so many others feel about their books. There is just something about holding a book in your hands and even about owning books that you can go back to anytime you want. Thank you so much for the great comment!!!

Avamum profile image

Avamum 5 years ago from Canada

Lovely hub on one of my favourite topics - books! My books are as much a part of my home as the furniture is. While I can appreciate the practical aspect of an e-book thingy, (my son who lives in a tiny dorm room doesn't have much room for books and loves his Kindle)I can't see myself curling up with one the way I can with my favourite dog-eared paperback...or even hardcover! Great work, congrats on the hubnuggets nomination and I'll look out for your future hubs.

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

thanks Avamum! I agree, my books are a part of my home, it just wouldn't feel the same without them. And, yeah, I can see the advantage to an E-reader in a dorm room or small apartment but it just wouldn't have the same appeal for me I'm afraid :( Thanks for commenting!! :)

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Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

I think many writers feel similarly about this, To Start Again. Since I was small, I have tried to write - and as a result developed a love for paper. Weird, I know. My mother was a legal secretary, and every time her firm changed their letterhead, she would bring the reams of the old stuff home for me to "write" my stories on. It was great! I love hubs, and I love articles, and I like to read online....but I wanna feel and smell that paper, baby! :)

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I am not anti-ebook as I see it has its own merits, but I still enjoy holding a book in my hand. I'm reading Paulo Coello's, "Like the Flowing River" right now! And oh, if I have to write a birthday wish list, you can be sure a book would be in there too! :) Great hub!

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination: Follow this link please, http://hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub/Shadiws-if-the...

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

M2C--when I finished my manuscript, it wasn't until I printed it out and held the pages in my hands that I really felt that it was "done." I have to hold those pages, feel them. A computer screen just isn't the same...

thanks ripplemaker!! Books are always on my list too :)

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Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

God, TSA, a manuscript...I dream of such a beautiful thing someday. For now, I'll keep hubbing, but eventually, these are all going to be put together into something big, worthy, and PRINTABLE! For publication, and maybe profit. Keep it up, we'll rally around your cause. And, I'll buy the BOOK as soon as it's published. :)

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

Thanks M2C :D it still needs a lot of work but just finishing was more than I ever thought possible. A wonderful friend of mine is working on doing just that with some of her old hubs and some other subsequent writing. I'm sure you will be able to do the same!! And I'll be buying your book, too :D

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

This is an interesting hub and I enjoy reading books as well. Congrats on your nomination.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York

Hurray To Start Again! Great article. We book lovers have to keep buying books to tell the publishing world we do love them and want them. I can't imagine a four year old being read to from a Kindle!

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

Thanks Pamela!

Me either, tillsontitan! Kids are too 'plugged in' now as it is!

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

I too love being able to look over the top of a book to see how much I've read, also the smell of book pages AND the delicious anticipation of turning a page.

To me, snuggling up on the sofa with an electronic reader is akin to snuggling up with a friend's ceramic dog. Not the same by any stretch of the imagination!

But if I were...perish the thought!...to consider buying a Kindle or similar device, the cost alone would stop me. Since I habitually read several books at a time, in various places, I'd need a reader for each. One for the living room, one for the bedside table, one for the bathroom, and one for my car to pass the time while waiting for a car-less friend to come out of the grocery store or doctor's office.

Print books are self-contained, require no batteries OR a connection to the internet to acquire a desired "book" in the first place. Why would I ever give up the convenience of a real book to become dependent on the whims of technology and an internet provider in the name of "progress"? Not gonna happen.

Long live print books!

Kat 5 years ago

I agree with you about your paperback points. I don't mind reading traditional e-books from a laptop or desktop. But the whole Kindle thing..I just don't get it.

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

Yay Jama! Long Live Print Books, indeed! :) When I start seeing Kindles preloaded with books I love at yard sales for a quarter...then maybe I'll think about it ;)

I don't get it either Kat. I just don't see the draw...

MJ Miller profile image

MJ Miller 5 years ago from East Tennessee

I agree with you. I have quite an extensive library of real books and I still buy them, new and used, whenever I see something that interests me. I have resisted the electronic readers so far, although I do see myself getting one eventually, I don't think I'll ever completely give up real books. Great hub!

To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

thanks MJ! Always happy to meet another book lover! :)

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