Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Printed Word

If you look on the right column of this blog, you will see a button, proclaiming, "I pledge to read the printed word." The interesting thing is that I inserted this button just a short while after I got a Kindle. Hypocritical, right? Yeah, sort of. I do like my Kindle. And I do like Online Newspapers. And what better place is there for research than the internet?

But before you start chastising me for my hypocritical ways, I want to declare my eternal devotion to the Printed Word. Even though I happen to enjoy my Kindle (who wouldn't?), I am definitely not going to read all my books off of it. Sure, it's cheap. Sure, it's easy. But it cannot - and I repeat, cannot - replace the glory of a giant room filled with oak bookshelves, a thick, dark carpet, and a comfy reading chair. If the world is taken over by eReaders and eBooks, the libraries will eventually disappear along with the Printed Word. And if the Printed Word disappears, I will slowly fade away and die. Even my Kindle won't be able to save me. 

So I am determined that the Printed Word shall not die, if only for selfish motives. Without a printed book, and only a Kindle, I cannot differentiate between books by their size and weight, and by the color and texture of the pages. I cannot feel the glory that comes from starting a 500-page novel, and seeing the amount of great reading that awaits me. I cannot feel the disappointment when I see I only have a few pages left, until my journey is over. I cannot gaze in satisfaction at the shelves and shelves of books that await me. There is no need to go to the library and browse through the aisles and aisles and aisles and aisles of books and books and books, and open them, and flip through them. If all my books were on a Kindle - how two-dimensional my life would become! I cannot get thoroughly lost in a book if it is not in it's physically printed form.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just my love for all things ancient. Are printed books going extinct? I hope not. I'm not absolutely condemning the Kindle; it's very useful for trips and the like. I actually have a pretty good collection of Mark Twain and Jane Austen on there. It's just that I'd rather have the option to read the Printed Word. I'd rather have my beloved Chronicles of Narnia, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Complete Winnie the Pooh, and the rest of my current biblio-family taking up space on my bookshelf, than digitally existing on my thin little Kindle.

Something occurred that proved how little I actually use my Kindle. On my Costa Rica trip, I accidentally dropped my Kindle in a river that we were wading across (there was a suspicious sign saying, "Cuidado! Crocodiles!" but we saw no crocodiles). The instant we reached the shore, I stupidly tried to turn it on.
At the next village, I bought a bag of rice. The cashier must have though it odd - an obvious tourist comes in to the grocery store and buys just a bag of rice.
So I put the Kindle in the rice, and left it there for two weeks. Two weeks! I even packed it into my suitcase while still in the bag of rice. It didn't help. The little Kindle boy reading his book under the tree remained on my screen, no matter how many times I tried the 30-second refresh or any other tricks. So I put it on the shelf, not knowing what to do.

My dad had bought that Kindle for me on my 16th birthday, and he asked me if I wanted another one. I felt terrible, and so irresponsible. I told him I'd think about it, because I didn't use it that often.

I ended up not asking him for another one. I realized I really didn't need it.

But then, a few days ago, I was cleaning up, and I saw that the screen on my Kindle had changed. No more little boy reading under a tree - it was now screaming for a charge-up.

So I charged it.

And it resurrected.

So now I have my Kindle back. Which is nice. But nice in a no-big-deal sort of way. I would have been fine even if it hadn't resurrected.

But, if there was a fire in my house (and in all the neighboring libraries) and all the books perished - I would probably perish with them.


What do you think? Are you easily accommodating to the Digital Age and would gladly read off an eReader? Or would you die if printed books disappeared off the face of the earth?

(This post is linked up at The Fiction Conniption's Let's Discuss.)


  1. I think most people agree that the hard copies of books are their preference. But then, there's the thing with price and convenience. I feel like even paperbacks are way more expensive than e-books. And also, it's easier to have a lot of e-books. I prefer printed books, but because I'm cheap, I have way more e-books than I do printed books. :(
    My Latest Discussion Post
    Laura @ Music Plus Books

    1. That's very true - there is definitely a huge price difference. However, I borrow a bunch of my books from the library, so it's not so much of an issue for me. I want to make sure that I'll reread the book before I buy it!

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. I feel the exact same way.I read a lot of books on my ipad and it's great of course. I get to get books instantly and of course I need it for Netgalley, but there have been many time when my ipad has gone dead and I haven't bothered to charge it for a few weeks. Whereas with a printed book, I start to go a little bit crazy if I haven't read an actual printed book in a while. I have to admit though that I do worry that the printed word is on its way out. It's just so much cheaper for publishers to produces an ebook than an actual book. This is one of the reasons that I always try to buy the book instead of the ebook! Keep the industry going you know! Great post!

    1. Hmmm... that's a good idea... I might buy more books now that you bring up the point of keeping the industry going. You make me want to go out and raid the bookstores to save the printed word :-)

      Thanks for reading!


  3. I am so in the middle on this. I love reading on my Kobo. I guess I would go so far as to say that I prefer to read on my Kobo. It's just so much more convenient and comfortable, not to mention the features that add to its convenience (such as the backlight, the ability to change the font and the size of the text, and how it saves my spot with no worries of that bookmark slipping out!).

    However, I prefer owning and displaying my favourite books. I just love the pretty covers and how they look sitting on my shelf!

    -- Sam @ SIK Book Reviews

    1. It's true that e-readers are more convenient. One thing I love is that I can highlight and make notes and not worry about defacing the book. (I have a quirk that I just can't write in books. Especially in pen. Even in textbooks I only make sparse notes in pencil only.)

      Nice-looking books on the shelf always enhance a room!



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