The e-Reader vs. The Book

I’ll admit – I was a bit sad to see Borders go out of business. As an avid reader, I’m a big proponent of physical books. I never once considered buying myself an e-Reader. Sure, the benefits are there (cheaper books, convenience, built-in dictionary), but to me, there really is nothing like holding an actual book in your hands.

But Apple’s new iPad is enough to give me pause. With its new retina display, the sexy, sleek device has been tempting me these past few days. I can hear it beckoning, “Just give in already. You’ve already lost.” It’s hard not to be fascinated by everything it can do. Aside from the Internet surfing and movie watching I’d be doing, it also got me reconsidering the e-Reader.

Cheaper books? Hundreds of novels all at your disposal with a few simple swipes? Built in dictionary? Font and display customizations? What’s not to love? My brain is telling me yes, but my heart is telling me no. I feel that if I invest in the iPad, I’d be betraying my love of physical books. I’d be abandoning them, leaving them to rot and decay, their pages forever unread as they crumble into dust as I embrace the future. Am I crazy? Surely just a little, no?

The exploding popularity of e-Readers also has me worried about the ultimate fate of bookstores, as well. We’ve already watched Borders go– is Barnes and Noble next? What kind of rainy Sunday would it be if I couldn’t spend all day browsing shelves, buying a hot chocolate, and cozying up on a cushy armchair, perusing to my heart’s content? Will bookshelves be obsolete, replaced by an electronic library instead? The thought scares me a bit.

So here I stand, teetering on the brink between the past and future. I won’t argue that e-Readers have their positives, but there is still a part of me that refuses to make the transition. I love seeing my bookshelf grow. I love the feel of turning pages in my hand, or closing the back cover of a 1,000 page monstrosity, putting it down and saying, “I read that.” There is certain majesty that physical books have that will forever triumph over electronic media. To me, physical books have heart and soul, while e-books lack character.

I hope that others can alleviate the fears I have in being alone in this. I know that I should make the jump, but I just can’t – not yet, at least. Where do you stand on the issue? Have you adopted e-Readers yet? Or do you refuse, like me, to let go of physical books? Share your opinions with us!

In the meantime, I’ll just keep refreshing Apple’s website, checking to see when those iPads will be back in stock…


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