When I talk about books I picture the print edition with the cover the publisher selected for it. When I go to the pool or take a bath, I worry about keeping the book dry.
And speaking about worrying, I worry about is happening to the publishing industry and for our nation when this industry can no longer afford to publish print editions of books. Will children even bother to learn to read if they don't have a book to hold?
When I traveled to Europe this summer I lugged along three books in my suitcase, so did my daughter. We swapped them around with each other and then left them behind when we were done with them. When we started our week-long vacation last Friday I had four books in tow and hoped that would be enough to get me through the week.
Friends always tell me that they love their e-reader and gush how much less books cost in this format. That might be the case, but I generally don't buy books for myself. I check-out library books or audiobooks. That means I get the books for free. I know that the library also has e-books to check-out, but that is beside the point.
There is actually some scientific evidence that we retain more information when we read text on paper compared to what we retain from what we read in the digital format. Maryanne Wolfe, a developmental psychologist and cognitive scientist from Tufts University says, "there is physicality in reading, maybe even more than we want to think about as we lurch into digital reading---as we move forward with perhaps too little reflection. I would like to preserve the absolute best of older forms, and know when to use the new."
In an interview with Huffington Post, author Lev Grossman said this about whether he preferred print or e-books:
Print. I'm very crusty on this issue. When I die I want to leave my kids a roomful of books, not a chunk of plastic that they have to guess the password to. I think Maurice Sendak said it best: 'It's like making believe there's another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of book.'---Huffington Post, August 5, 2014I feel the same way. When we die I guess we could hand off our e-reader to our children and grandchildren but there is something much more compelling about a library full of old family favorites. But it is more than just sentimentality for me.
Hasn't anyone read a Sci-Fi book where no one knows how to read anymore because all information comes directly into our brain from feeds? And in those books, what happens to societies when their people stop reading. It is never good.
Plus, what happens if in real-life, not sci-fi novels, some catastrophe causes massive power outages for days/weeks on end. What will people read when their e-reader batteries die? You get my point.
So, having said all this, does it come as a surprise to you that I am seriously considering getting an e-reader?
Why, you might ask, would I want to buy one since I am so clearly standing on my principles on this subject?
Well, truth be told, it is for a purely selfish reason. I want an ARC version of a book that is due out in October. I've been told the publisher will likely only give it to me in the e-book version. But procrastination is still on my side and I haven't actually purchased an e-reader, yet. If I delay much longer there will be no point because the book in question will already be out in print. When I borrow it from the library I will worry about keeping it dry in the event of a rainstorm.