It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Digital or Paper?

We have a local grocery store that asks if you want paper or plastic bags when you check out. Since it is a specialty store I usually buy just a few items and will ask for the paper bag.  It has a little paper handle and I feel special walking out of the store with the old-fashioned paper bag.  Plus, they are reusable for many things.

The choice isn't quite so easy when it comes to digital or paper books.  Do I want to read digital books or paper?  That is the question.  I've always loved books and reading.  I don't think I was ever with out a library book or two in my little satchel once I learned to read.   The world opened up before me when I opened a book. I discovered Nancy Drew right after we moved to Alaska, just before I started fourth grade; that opened a whole new chapter in reading for me, the novel.  I love libraries as much as I love reading.  Rows and rows of books, ahhhhh.

With the introduction of the e-reader I was excited.  I couldn't imagine being any happier than having an entire library to carry in around in a small flat device.  I didn't order one of the first versions of the Kindle, wisely waiting for an improved version that cost less.  When the day arrived and mine was delivered, I was thrilled when I turned it on and it welcomed me, by name.  I quickly loaded it up with books to read, some new and some old favorites that I wanted to have just in case I wanted to re-read one day.  Book shopping was easy, fun and quick.  It was great when I travelled since it was small, light, and always full of something to read (no buying books in the airport shop for me anymore). 

The problem started when I put a non-fiction book on it.  It was a photography book about exposure.  I started reading, but then realized that I needed to flip back and forth to different pages as I used the camera in conjunction with the book.  Finally, I just bought the paperback version of the book.  I then realized what beautiful color pictures the book had and realized that the Kindle version didn't do the author justice.  I later put another non-fiction book that was a workbook type book on the Kindle and had the same problem with trying to go back to an earlier part; sad to say, I ended up buying a paper version of this one, too. 

Next problem was similar.  As I read I flip back and forth a lot.  Who was that character?  What was it that happened to so-and-so?  I also read ahead, too.  If the book is boring I'll flip through and get an idea of what it is about and then decide if I want to continue reading.  I also read ahead if the book is just too intense and I have to know what happens!  I discovered that it just isn't easy to flip back or go forward a few pages. I had also put a copy of the Bible on it and had the hardest time trying to go to a specific book, chapter and verse quickly. (Just a note that eBible on my phone does not have the same difficulty, so this may just be in my version of Kindle).

The last gripe I have is that some texts have typos and/or missing text.  Sorry, but in the professional publishing world there is no excuse for that.  

Digital or paper? While the Kindle is convenient and I wouldn't give it up I will limit what I put on there.  Only fiction and only something that I want to read for enjoyment, maybe while travelling.   I just love those rows of books on a shelf, waiting to be chosen to be read.  I like the feel of the paper pages as I turn them, back and forth, forward and back.  I like to be able to jot notes in the margins and underline significant passages, too.  While the digital is nice, I think I do prefer the paper, just like the paper bags from the store!

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