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I love to read. I’m never happier than when I’m nose deep in a good novel.

I could say that I love books but that would be wrong. I love stories, the written word, a well woven tale or a carefully crafted thesis. But books? I can’t bloody stand books.

The best Christmas gift I ever got was a Kindle Keyboard Nerd Nostalgia: MakeUseOf Remembers Geeky Gifts From The Past Nerd Nostalgia: MakeUseOf Remembers Geeky Gifts From The Past While looking forwards is ultimately positive, occasionally looking back can also be a good thing. Nostalgic nerdgasms now! Read More — it changed my life. I went from reading 30 or 40 books a year to more than 60. The reason: reading an eBook is a million times better than reading a printed book.

The Settled Debate

As someone who’s dropped a Wheel of Time novel on my face, I can tell you the debate on reading experience is well over. Modern e-readers hold thousands of novels, weigh next to nothing, have built in lights, high resolution screens and don’t give you a concussion when they hit your nose. Books hold a single novel (or occasionally a couple of shorter ones), weigh way more, have to be angled towards a light, rely on manual screen refresh and can give you a black eye for weeks.


A few years ago there was an argument to be had — older Kindles had lower resolution screens that were more dark-grey and light-grey than black and white — but the rapid march of technology has overcome these short-fallings. There is only one defence left to physical book lovers.


The last refuge of the luddite: emotion.

And We’ve Heard It All Before

There are well meaning, intelligent people out there who genuinely believe that vinyl is the best way to listen to music — they even have websites dedicated to tracking down records WaxFM: Find Your Favorite Music Records On Vinyl WaxFM: Find Your Favorite Music Records On Vinyl Read More . Instead, while they’re online they should ignore Taylor Swift Why Taylor Swift Is Wrong About Spotify Why Taylor Swift Is Wrong About Spotify In the past week Taylor Swift has pulled her music from Spotify, inspired countless song-pun laden headlines and reignited the debate about streaming music services. Read More and sign up for a Spotify account. They can built a complete music collection Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify is no longer content to just compete with radio, now they're competing with the idea of even owning music. Read More and listen to it at a far higher quality.

They won’t do that though, because vinyl feels better.

The same arguments happened when tapes, and then CDs, and then iTunes and now, finally, Spotify, have come along. No improvements in technology will ever convince a vinyl aficionado that they’re wrong. We’re seeing the exact same thing with ebooks.

Judging Books By Their Insides

You don’t pick up a Terry Pratchett novel because it’s a well bound book — most paperbacks are really poorly bound anyway. You pick one up because you know it’s going to contain a great story, hilarious characters and a cutting satire of pop culture. No one goes, “I love Terry Pratchett, all his books use such high quality paper — and the font choices? Oh my…”

You love Terry Pratchett because of how his words make you feel. When you’re being drawn into Ankh-Morpork you don’t want to be distracted by whatever you’re reading the story on — whether it’s a paperback, e-reader or smartphone. You want it to just fade into the background unnoticed. Books for years have been great at this. E-readers are now even better. (Smartphones though, suck at it).


You can sit for hours with a Kindle and never think about it for a second — all your focus is where it should be: in the story, on the streets of Ankh-Morpork or wherever else you like to be drawn.

On The Emotional Nature Of Kindles

So where does the love of physical books come from? In all my conversations on the subject, two things come up time and time again. People love that a book is theirs — the battered tea-stained pages remind them of where they were at in their life when they read it — and they love the smell.

The first point I get. Physical objects trigger emotional memories. But you know what else is a physical object? My Kindle.

If I pick my Kindle up and sit quietly for a moment memories come flooding back to me. Echoes of emotions once felt are tied inextricably with what I was reading at the time. I instantly remember what I was reading to distract myself in the weeks following a breakup and the escape it brought me. I know what books I’ve picked up to celebrate a pay cheque, or were bought when I really couldn’t afford them but desperately wanted something to read. Faint tendrils of my excitement (and guilt-tinged excitement) cling tight to my Kindle. Every time I pick it up I touch them.

While a paperback might be able to trigger three or four memories, my Kindle holds hundreds.

As for the people who love the smell of paper books? They’re just strange!

The Last Chapter

I’m not some tech-loving writer who can’t stand books because they’re old. I’m a tech-loving writer who can’t stand books because they’re awful. Ten years ago, I loved books because the alternative was scrolls. Now that there are e-readers, it’s time to move on, accept the advances of modernity and realise just because something is old, doesn’t mean it’s good.

Trust me, pick up a Kindle Paperwhite Kindle Paperwhite Review & Giveaway Kindle Paperwhite Review & Giveaway The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon's current flagship reader, and one that we've been wanting to review and give away for quite some time. If you already own a Kindle or a different eReader, you may... Read More — you’ll love it.

And seriously, what’s the deal with the smell?

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  1. Julie Morris
    May 1, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I could not disagree more with what you say with every fibre of my being! And I am no Luddite. I have a Kindle - I still love physical books more.

    Reading a screen all day, the last thing I want is to spend my evenings and holidays staring at one too. It's bad for your eyes and your sleep patterns to be staring at a screen at bedtime.

    Also, one of the great joys to me of books is sharing them with my friends, I can't loan out a great e-book. And whoever says books don't last obviously just doesn't look after them. I have well-loved books from my childhood on my shelves in great condition, which my kids now read. Some of these are now out of print and can't be replaced in ebook format. Also, a boon is technology that doesn't date, unlike ereaders. Whatever you have will eventually be out of date and you'll need to replace the content, as happened with the evolution of VHS, to DVD, and now dreaming. Everything today is designed to be impermanent, except books.

    The decline is e-book sales and the related resurgence in physical book sales over the last 3 years supports the fact that the honeymoon is over for e-books. They have a place, but they will never replace physical books for true book lovers.

  2. Maryon Jeane
    November 29, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Thoroughly agree with all this, Harry! Reading is one of the great joys of life as far as I'm concerned and, on the other hand, one of the ghastlinesses of life is being without a book. When I read 'Rogue Trader' I felt the most sympathy with the guy when he found himself in prison with just one book - and then found the last page of the book to be missing - aaargh!

    I love my Kindle, but not particularly the physical device itself (although I have skinned it so it does look quite good...). What I love is that I always, always have a book with me. In fact I have a whole library with me (529 books on the Kindle itself, many of which are complete works and so obviously contain multiple books), and more in my Amazon library. Then, if I get a sudden yen for a particular book which I don't already have, it's just a few swipes away. I have a Kindle Voyage with wi-fi and 3G, so wherever I am I can browse Amazon's offering of books (over 5 million to date) and there's something for every mood and situation.

    If you love reading, being without a book - particularly in a 'waiting' situation - is one of the worst feelings ever. With a Kindle, this just doesn't have to happen; with physical books it was always happening.

    Fear of being without something to read has sent me to the chiropractor more times than I care to think about (given the cost of chiropractic sessions). I've also paid large amounts in excess baggage costs for the same reason. And had to read some pretty awful books and magazines rather than not read anything.

    People frequently express disapproval or worse about the cost of my Kindle. Yes, it was top of the range when I got it (it was actually a present), particularly given the included 3G facility - but is there another leisure device on the planet which gives so much pleasure, day after day, for so relatively little cost? Lots of the books I've got from Amazon were free, many cost only 99p. I was always a second-hand book buyer (perennial chronic lack of funds), a haunter of second-hand book shops, remaindered stalls, boxes of tattered books for sale in libraries and the like. Yet, even so, now I'm constantly finding just as good or even better bargains on Amazon.

    As for the smell of physical books - yuck. As a second-hand book buyer for so many years I can tell you here and now, the smell is not something I miss. It's a smell compounded of damp, mould spores and the remains of old meals. And turning a page to find a more visual presence of one of those meals is a wonderful thing to be without...

    The other vitally important thing about e-readers, as Harry points out, is the integral light. My first Kindle had to have a clip-on but now, with the integral (and automatically adapting) light, I can literally read anywhere. I have before now resorted to carrying extension leads with me when staying away from home, just to be able to move a lamp next to the bedside so I can read at night. I have (again) incurred chiropractor fees by twisting myself into strange pretzel shapes to get my book near enough to a light to enable me to read it. Now I just switch on my Kindle and read - anywhere.

    e-books and e-readers? Yes, yes, yes! They're a reader's dream.

    • Rodney S
      May 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      Maryon you are so right! I bought my voyage with 3G about 1 year ago. It was a gift to myself and it has changed my life. Oh, how I hated being stuck on the train or waiting for my car to get an oil change or in a long, slow line at Walmart with nothing to read. I used to bring one book with me but I'm the type of reader where my moods change frequently for different genres or if I'm engrossed in a book and finish it , well, that's the worst, no backup. I get so giddy when I know my voyage is loaded,LOADED with books I have chosen and can't wait to read. I love to head down to my favorite bookstore or coffee house and sit with my favorite drink and my kindle and read for hours. Sometimes when it is cold or raining I pull a chair next to the window and get ready to take my next adventure. I'm a voracious reader and my kindle allows me to escape anytime, anywhere day or night. I wish all my fellow travelers continued great adventures. Happy reading!!

      • Maryon Jeane
        May 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

        We may be on opposite sides of the world (or nearly), Rodney, but you sound like a kindred soul. Happy reading to you as well!

  3. Jack Barrett
    October 7, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    May I simply just say what a comfort to uncover an individual who genuinely knows what they're discussing over the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people ought to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you are not more popular since you certainly have the gift.

  4. Charitha
    September 13, 2016 at 8:52 am

    I can't thank you enough for writing this article. My brother recently gifted me a kindle paperwhite. Since then, I've been torn between my kindle and actual books. I feel that I want paper books now just because of vanity - to display my full shelves to people. Kindle makes books cheaper, quickly accessible , easy to understand (dictionary and wiki features) and if you read a lot of books - environment friendly. I've sworn off physical books now. Reading, now that I'll never let go.

  5. McJeff
    July 28, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Kindles are pretty awful. It's nice that you like using a Kindle. I'm happy for you. And your OPINION.

  6. BigJonMX
    March 10, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Clearly you work for kindle. As 99% of experienced users know, these kindles and their ilk are bloody awful. amazon can 'take back' what you've paid for! Adobe's reader is the most hated piece of technology out there. The DRM annoys every book buyer everywhere... the list goes on and on.
    Sometimes i buy ebooks - in EPUB format. I can move it around like any file I OWN. Onto my tablet, my smartphone, my laptop, wherever I WANT. I can highlight passages. I can print. I can copy and past quotes. Simply: I can use the book.

    If all you do is surf the internet and bore others, then continue buying Apples and Kindles. But stop pretending to understand technology or the masses

  7. Peter Bates
    November 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    By the way, Nooks are better than Kindles. In every conceivable way. Look it up.

  8. Peter Bates
    November 3, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Another reason people do not like e-books readers is because of their basic distaste (and in some cases phobia) for technology. They learn what they have to in order to get by at work, but when it comes to relaxing they want nothing to do with glowing screens. Hence the retreat into the ancient technology of books.

    • BigJonMX
      March 10, 2016 at 8:40 am

      This silly opinion is often stated by the ignorant. Usually in responce to the hatred for microsofts new FischerPrice interface.
      And its simply not true.
      Even just a few minutes worth of self education will reveal there are virtually no technology haters in the first world. (and there's no evidence they exist elsewhere).
      What people do hate is annoying, badly designed, incomplete, profiteering, junk that makes life harder. It doesnt have to be modern tech, but this is where we usually hear about it.

  9. Carlos
    January 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I loved my Kindle, I'm getting a new one. After reading all the points against e-readers, I had to agree with one: they ARE a thief-bait. I got mine stolen last year. I can read a paper book while in a bus, but a Kindle, no way. In North America or Europe, things may be different, but in Latin America unfortunately , it's just a too much of a risk.

  10. Leah Tyrrell
    January 16, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Iim actually wondering if I should get a kindle. I don't like the light from screens though if I use something for more than an hour (which with books I definetly will) I get watery eyes and a headache. I was also advised by my optician to avoid screens when possible. Another reason is I'm not allowed devices in school and I need to read when I have any chance this includes free classes.

    Then there is the issue with books! I hate the fact that I could save all that paper if I just got a kindle and bought books on that instead. I'm very enthusiastic about preservation of trees and I hate wasting paper in any way. I make sure to buy books that are recycled when I can though. It's quite the conundrum!

    • Harry
      January 17, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Hey Leah, the screens aren't really screens like you'd think of it. They're not lit from behind but from the front so you don't get the same eye strain or headaches. I think Amazon has a decent return policy so you could always try one and if it doesn't work out return it! Double check that though. ;)

    • BigJonMX
      March 10, 2016 at 8:43 am

      Dont forget to read up on where these things are made. Its a fact that Apple products are made by slaves in china, depriving your neighbors of jobs, just so the top 1% can make *more* profits.
      Check out the working conditions, and you'll see *slave* is the correct term.

  11. Frank
    January 12, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Thinking on kids... it is true about the ability to read in the dark. I think i would have been nice to have than 2 years ago... but still, it reminded me that the one thing that sometimes leaves me in doubt about using ebooks over paper books, is the discovery factor that exists with having bookshelves at home.

    I have a 5 year old, and I remember when I was a child, I would go over to my parent's library and choose a nice book - because of the cover, or the summary on the back page or something else. I wonder whether by having everything on the Kindle I'm depriving him of this possibility, of having a few years down the line a nicely stocked library to pick books from.

    On the other hand, who knows what he will prefer as a medium a few years down the line.

    • Harry
      January 17, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      I've built quite a nice collection of eBooks. On the newer Kindles it's actually quite pleasant to flick through.

    • Maryon Jeane
      May 7, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      I don't know if it helps, but I gave a previous Kindle to an (elderly) neighbour a couple of years ago - and she told me recently that she's read much more since having it. Previously it was a case of having to get to a (poorly-stocked) library or buying a book; now she has a vast library from which to choose (I left the Kindle linked to my account) and she says she often has more than one book on the go at once.

  12. Frank
    January 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Nice article, it makes the case very well. I sometimes miss reading paper books, so for a month or two I will be going to the bookstore to buy books. But then I always go back to using the Kindle. Because for me the biggest dealbreaker is not the lower weight of the kindle compared to a book, or the lower cost (both matter though), but the built-in light.

    At night, with a book I need to use one of the reading lights that attach to the pages - works fine, but it is not as easy to illuminate the page evenly, it moves around, and the light keeps my wife awake. Instead, the Paperwhite is fantastic for reading in the dark. - in bed, or at a bus top at night and so on. The screen is evenly illuminated and the light does not diffuse as much as with a reading lamp so it doesn't disturb my partner.

    This has been mentioned here, but I'm surprised how often this feature is overlooked in online discussions.

    • Harry
      January 11, 2015 at 11:58 am

      Yeah the light is game changing. As a kid I used to have one of those crappy reading lights and I'd try reading under the covers with it. It was terrible, uneven and burned through batteries. I'm sure they're much better now but I doubt they'll ever be as good as the Kindle's.

  13. LCaution
    December 29, 2014 at 5:13 am

    My first tablet was the original Kindle Fire. I didn't expect to use it for e-books, but then I discovered public domain books and realized I'd have more money, and more shelf space, for real books.

    Last year, after reading endless positive reviews, I got a Paperwhite ... and returned it 2 weeks later. Even with a cover, holding it hurt. Usability? Low. But worst of all was the screen refresh, not just annoying but headache-inducing.

    I do now buy genre e-books when on sale, but books I care about? I buy real ones because I know they will be readable decades from now, will never need anything other than sunlight, flashlights or candles.

    • Harry
      January 2, 2015 at 12:28 am

      I'm surprised at your opinion of the Paperwhite! Compared to a book, I find holding it a dream! And nor do I notice the screen refresh. I'm not sure how it could cause you headaches. Also books are far less permanent than ebooks. While they might in theory be readable in decades, that's only if they don't get damaged and are kept. Most books don't last that long — especially paperbacks.

      • Maryon Jeane
        May 7, 2017 at 4:52 pm

        And especially if you read in the bath...

  14. leslie
    December 29, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Maybe if I downloaded f.lux on the iPad? I've read it's complicated though, something about having to jailbreak it.

  15. leslie
    December 29, 2014 at 3:39 am

    I'm a college student majoring in biology. Computational biology, but biology nonetheless. My point is that I would like to get an e-reader or tablet to read my college textbooks. Biology textbooks are big, with small font, and contain lots of colorful graphics. I don't think a kindle would be appropriate for that. So maybe an iPad Air? That's my idea, but I'm worried that it will be bad on my eyes. As I have to constantly be reading, and staring at the screen. What do you think?

    • Harry
      January 2, 2015 at 12:29 am

      I've used textbooks on an iPad and it's pretty good so long as the textbook manufacturer has embraced it. If they haven't it's just awkward. As for f.lux, yeah you've gotta jailbreak your iPad. Although I think f.lux is over rated.

  16. Rob
    December 26, 2014 at 3:39 am

    I guess I kind of agree if you're talking about easily available fiction. But when it comes to more difficult-to-find non-fiction, I have to disagree. Non-fiction on an ereader is an absolute nightmare. There is no quick flicking back and forward to go back or forward to other arguments, no easy annotations. I want to be able to scribble notes on the paper and find what I want with a stroke of the thumb, not a hierarchy of buttons.

    The same goes for other forms of non-scholarly non-fiction. There will always be a plave for books. Perhaps not so much so for the novels (bar the beautifully bound ones for the sentimental peeps), but for the books that need to be beautiful. I believe the printed book industry will become an ever-more beautiful industry. Cookery books with stunning photography, travel books, coffee table books, books about design. These will endure far more easily than the novel.

    That being said, I just picked up an actual book as I saw it on a shelf in a guest house here in Cambodia. I couldn't resist. And damn it felt good to read. It was the first physical novel I'd read in over 2 years. The emotions came flooding back...

    • Harry
      December 27, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Have you tried taking notes with your Kindle? I felt that way til I started just using the highlights properly. It's as easy and all your notes are stored and searchable. You just need to get used to it.

      And yes while those kinds of books are better than pulp paper backs, it's still a faster horse situation. All of those are far better in other digital forms. The iPad is fantastic for cookery and photography.

  17. Justin
    December 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Also, when doing a study, i find myself to have multiple books open at once spread across the desk. Cant do that with a kindle, to be able to have both texts open, quickly jotting eyes back and forth, comparing text to text.
    So my conclusion: For novel reading, and entertainment, Yes e-readers and kindles do rain supreme (unless one's personal preference seeps in) But for serious studies in Philology, and all things alike, physical books are much preferred.
    BUT for the preservation of texts id rather have both a huge paper archive, and a digital database.

    • Harry
      December 27, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      As above! You can have multiple windows side by side on your computer. But yes, if you're actually studying ancient texts, I can hardly fault you for looking at ancient texts.

    • Si
      March 1, 2015 at 2:59 am

      When I studied philosophy with minors in history, I found it so much easier to read, summarize and write with a pc using mutable desktop windows, it’s space and time saving and I feel less cluttered. I actually found it more productive to quickly scan (with my Ipad) the pages in the books I can’t get in a digital format and then create files with notes which are all easily accessible on my pc, I can work anywhere with everything I need in the one place, or synced across multiple devices. Also for those of you working on transcribing old or ancient text, it’s so much easier to scan the text you’re working on and then you can enlarge the text on your device to determine the tiny nuances needed to transcribe accurately. I’m back at Uni doing postgraduate study, and all I need is my 11inch mb air for note taking, all my textbooks and secondary sources are in digital format. I might add my kindle paperwhite goes with me everywhere, it’s light and takes up no room in my bag, the kindle is my ereader of choice, and I agree with everything Harry has said ?

  18. Justin
    December 25, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Hah, maybe for regular novel readers. but for serious historians, bible scholars, and true to written word linguists (and i dont mean people who learn to speak Spanish or French, i mean scholars who take their time to examine ancient texts, read in dead languages) physical books are a must!
    It is just TERRIBLE to use a Hebrew Lexicon on a digital format, or a concordance. because it is best to have the physical book.
    Society is dumbing down, dictionaries becoming concise, History books now only have cherry picked information. Books like Herodotus, Josephus, and even the Bible are being left to the way side from scholarly studies.

    • Harry
      December 27, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      That's a pretty niche use-case! For almost anything else digital's still better. It's far easier to keep note, keep everything cross referenced, linked and searchable with digital than with a heap of texts. Though I utterly disagree with you on society dumbing down. History books have always had cherry picked information, and in older texts, are often fabrications. There has never been as much scholarly research going on in the world as there is today.

  19. Saikat
    December 24, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Well, let's be grateful that we have the choice which the Egyptians didn't. I love both my Kindle and the occasional books I buy. Want to read a travelogue with cool photos? Kindle's not your thing. Want to save ten bucks on a paperback -- Kindle it is. Want to sleep on the grass with a book covering your face? Yup. Kindle can't do it. Want to carry year's worth of books on a week's trip -- pack the Kindle!

    • Harry
      December 27, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      Hahahhaah Saikat, I have the Kindle winning on three of four. A good case and you can sleep with the Kindle on your face too. ;) And even for the travelogue, digital is still better. Read it on an iPad! Then you can get interactive maps and video and everything.

  20. Allan Jay Monteclaro
    December 24, 2014 at 9:29 am

    As someone who's studying Library Science, I must say both formats have their own merits. Aside from first world countries, e-book readers are still expensive. Moreover, people do not really have constant access to the Internet. Even online shopping is a bit difficult to do. However, libraries are adjusting to new technologies. Most, if not all, offer access to e-book readers. Still, printed materials are better archival materials. Prints are also easy to access everywhere.

    At the end of the day, librarians (and aspiring librarians!), are just happy that people are reading a lot again.

    Personally, I use both formats. I usually buy prints for titles I really love. I have the entire Wheel of Time series. Oh, and yes, having one of those WoT books fall on your face can cause concussions.

    • Harry
      December 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Hey Allan, I'd have to disagree with you on the international side of things. Finding a wifi connection is surprisingly do-able almost anywhere in the world and it's far easier to get ebooks than look for them in local book stores.

      It is great everyone's reading again. And yeah, the WoT novels aren't on the small side of things...

  21. Buffet
    December 23, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Books DON'T suck! YOU DO!

    • Harry
      December 24, 2014 at 2:27 am

      I get the feeling this is an issue you feel strongly about...

      • Rodney R
        May 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm

        Harry, I think many people are missing the point. I love, love my kindle and I don't hate physical books. It's just that I LOVE TO READ. My kindle is simply much more convenient for me to do what I love. This physical book vs ereader argument is tiresome and childish especially when insults are thrown around. I used to be solidly into physical books until I tried the kindle, then I got religion and haven't looked back. I'm not beyond purchasing a physical book, especially if I want to keep it for years because it is dear to me but my kindle is where I go TO READ. Everyone is allowed their opinion but I'm with you on this. If you choose one over another, fine but let's keep it civil. As someone once said " kindles are to books as elevators are to stairs." Neither are going away. Happy reading!!

  22. PatL
    December 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    You are right. It looks like they've added a bunch of books to Kindle since I last searched. Still, I would rather pay $2.00 than $9.99. The price is even better when I can sell the books back.

    • Harry
      December 24, 2014 at 2:26 am

      Ah but there's plenty of promos! I've picked up loads of ebooks for between 2 and 5 dollars!

  23. PatL
    December 23, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I have a kindle that I use, though not as much as the Kindle apps on my phone and tablet. It can't replace the sheer joy of walking into a bookstore and being surrounded by books. I can pick up any book I want and read the cover flap, maybe browse through a couple pages. In Amazon, I am limited to what they show you or specific look ups, but what if it is a topic or author I've never heard of.
    I can also go to a used book store and pick up a book for a fraction of the Amazon price. They also have books that Amazon doesn't carry. I like mysteries, gothic novels, and romances that Amazon can't be bothered with.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      Hey Pat, I've found the only books Amazon doesn't carry are out of print. And even then you can buy second hand books. I've picked them up for €0.01 plus postage in the past!

  24. suzybel
    December 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I have loved reading since I was little. I have a Kobo, but still prefer reading an actual book. I visit the library about every 3 weeks and withdraw my usual 4 books. That being said, I use my iPad for magazines (love that). I do love the Kobo because all the books are stored on it and I can throw it in my purse to take with me. Most of the books I have downloaded are the freebies. I have purchased a couple of books but find them pricey. I guess that's my deciding factor.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      The iPad is awesome for magazines! Yeah ebooks can be pricey though I never let it be an issue for me. I've sort of decided that if I want a book, I'll get it and let something else suffer instead! I'd sooner a book than a few more drinks on a night out.

  25. lope
    December 23, 2014 at 10:36 am

    on a side comment, you can not convince a vinyl aficionado that cassetes/cds/ itunes/ spotify are better, because actually they aren't. you telling that they can throw away vynils and go to spotify for having their music and "listen to it at a far higher quality." is laughably wrong.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:40 am

      Hahahahah but it isn't! A high quality digital source like CDs, Lossless digital files and 320kbps Spotify streams have far greater fidelity than vinyl. You get the same file again and again where as a record degrades every time you play it.

    • Ben
      April 28, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Sorry Harry. But you are very wrong. I have done the test on multiple albums, and vinyl DESTROYS the sound quality of Spotify (and the new lossless Tidal). The sound of vinyl is always better than any streaming service, CD, etc. I have tried.

  26. hansrudolf
    December 23, 2014 at 6:19 am

    i'm german speaking. i read books/ebooks in german, english an recently in portuguese. my reading habits changed quite a bit during last 2-3 years. i use internet very often to find pictures of people, or plants i didn't know, or i consult maps or use googleearth or even streetview, online dictionnaries ... that said, i find the talk about book or ebook not very important, i use both.

    the main advantage of an ebook is availability. where i live there is no bookstore around with portuguese books in stock. i can order them in portugal, but then i have to wait 1-2 weeks and have to pay the postal service, what could cost me more than the book.

    i usually download free ebooks in epub or pdf format, and read them on my tablet. ebooks are mostly too expensive here in europe. i know a kindle is better for reading, but i need more than that, and i don't want two devices in my pocket.

    i still prefer real books. a book can be a piece of art, a pleasure to look at, to hold in hands. i'm not talking of paperbacks, of course.

    i have to add: i do not read bestsellers, no police stories, no fantasy ... rarely romances. therefore the amount of ebooks for my interests is much smaller.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Yeah the convenience of having a book at the press of a button is crazy. I'm in Ireland so it used to take up to a week for things to ship from Amazon. Now it's instant.

  27. Pat Terner
    December 23, 2014 at 5:15 am

    I'll buy a kindle as soon as I can *buy* eBooks and not just rent them.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:35 am

      I don't think that'll ever happen. Digital products don't have the same concept of — or possibility for — ownership that you get with physical products.

  28. wpshore
    December 23, 2014 at 4:53 am

    I actually prefer the color ereader to the Paperwhite (I have a lot of them, including the Paperwhite). My favorite setting on the color ones is white text on a black background (ideally I'd like to be able to tweak the foreground/background color settings and this is one of my few frustrations with the color models]. I also like the larger formats of the color tablets, especially for computer/math books/tutorials.. Does anyone else prefer the color eReaders for reading to the Paperwhite? I do totally understand why people might like paper books though, it's an aesthetic, retro maybe - but still very satisfying (for space reasons, IF I had to choose only one, I would prefer one of my color ereaders to paper but I like both).

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:36 am

      I've never used a color reader! Might have to see if I can get a chance to try one. I'm happy with my Kindle though and locked in to Amazon so...

  29. eric jay
    December 23, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Both have their pros and cons and it all boils down on the reader's preference.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Ah but Eric, the point of a polemic piece is to totally ignore the pros of the other side. ;)

      • Maryon Jeane
        May 7, 2017 at 5:01 pm

        There speaks a true journalist... ;-)

  30. Victor
    December 22, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Sorry, I can't stare at a screen for a long time to read something like a novel. I can read a novel in one sitting if I have good lights because it doesn't strain my eyes, but the backlighting on most ereaders I've seen are quite, harsh, to say the least, in my opinion.

    • Joy
      December 23, 2014 at 3:41 am

      Try an ereader. It's different than your phone. They are different than computer screens and aren't backlit.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:27 am

      Hey Victor, you can dial it down or even turn it off. With it off, reading a Kindle is just like reading paper!

  31. wazzin
    December 22, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    And what about DRM ? Although I have a Kindle and love it, I simply can't give money to get something that I cannot hold physically. I use it to read the free (old) stuff and the free samples from the kindle store. It's great from this perspective. If e-books were a lot cheaper than paper books I would buy them. But it's not (at least in France, excuse my french ). Between something that will last a lifetime and something stored on a device that I would need to copy from drive to drive eternally, crossing fingers hoping the format will still be readable in 10-30 years from now... I chose paper when I pay.

    And about carrying thousands of novels in one device, I'm not sure there is a lot of people that reads more than one book at a time anyway. But still, the kindle is great !

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Ah I'm totally the opposite. DRM doesn't bother me in the slightest. And your Kindle books are far more secure than a regular one! In 30 years they'll still be fresh and untarnished in your Amazon account ready for you to download.

      • Maryon Jeane
        May 7, 2017 at 5:11 pm

        I kind of agree: I'm generally against the DRM concept but I decided to go with an e-reader not only for the main benefit of having unlimited books with me at all times but for two other reasons as well. Firstly, given that a vast amount of books (and not only cheap fiction, which I don't often read) are cheaper than their physical counterparts; secondly, Amazon did themselves so much damage (as in shoot-in-foot) when they slipped up and deleted some people's libraries that the chance of their ever doing so again is tiny, tiny.

        I think I've lost more precious books over the years from people not returning them, losing them on public transport, having cases go astray, dropping them in the bath (I have a waterproof cover for my Kindle) and so on than I ever will lose e-books which, as Harry point out, can be redownloaded in a trice.

  32. ReadandShare
    December 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I travel a lot and when on the road visiting half a dozen countries, I just take my tablet along -- 6 different guidebooks, plus all the music, photos, journal, etc. all weigh exactly the same as the tablet itself. Sweet. Very sweet.

    But when at home planning a trip -- not knowing anything about a particular country but simply wanting to read on what's available out there -- prioritizing and planning routes -- an electronic reader SUCKS BIG TIME!!! It's why I still borrow hardcopies from my local library -- or buy used ones on the cheap off Amazon. Browsing haphazardly -- a so-called 'dead tree' beats ether any day in my book.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:20 am

      I use the Internet for any trip planning! But yes, scanning ebooks is definitely harder than scanning a book.

  33. Esteban
    December 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Recently I sold more than 2/3 of my book collection, it pained me to no end, but I was moving and couldn't justify (not afford) the space books occupy. They weight tons and to move 10 big boxes of them is just ridiculous. All of those books (almost) are on my pc, a lot on my kindle.

    I read daily and yes, my kindle has allowed me to do the same: more than double the books I read per year.

    I'm on my second Kindle, because the first one died. I have now the one with no light and no keyboard and it's better as the old one (since it's smaller and black).

    e-Book readers are far superior to books in every respect, except if the book has illustrations.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Yeah I went through my physical book collection a while back and bought on Kindle anything I wanted and then through almost everything away. But yes, the Kindle hasn't perfected illustrations yet. If they're simple and inline with the text they're fine but if not they get awkward.

    • Doc
      January 19, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      @Harry: "then through almost everything away." **Threw**. Not good for a blogger to not know English. :)

  34. Eileen
    December 22, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    I just started using eReaders. I found both a Sony PRS-T3 for $59 & a Kobo Aura for $89. I prefer the Sony generally but the Kobo has a front light for reading in low light. I prefer holding & using the eReaders. I enjoy being able to instantly look up words in the dictionary, or even things online if connected. I enjoy having many books in a small light device. I enjoy using the Sony to borrow books from my library, though the selection still isn't great.

    What I don't like about them is the too high cost of the ebooks & the sale prices are not on the type of books that I want to read.

    The cost of the Readers is no longer extravagant & if I lose one, it is not a high cost @ $59-89, at least not once. Plus the prices look to be dropping further.

    You do not lose your books if you lose your eReader, or at least you don't have to, as Kindles & Kobo books can be & should be backed up to your computer or a cloud account. There is no reason to lose your books if you lose your eReader.

    Kobo ebook prices are a rip off but nice that you can use ePub books from the library. Kindle/Amazon is a PITA & or rip off for being locked into their system & not being able to borrow ePub books from a library.

    I prefer eReaders to paper books.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Thanks for your input Eileen! I've never used a Sony or Kobo. I like being locked in to Amazon... They've Kindle Apps for everything, great prices and the largest selection!

    • Maryon Jeane
      May 7, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      I'm slightly puzzled by the numerous mentions of the high price of Kindle books. Admittedly if you want a particular book immediately you can find yourself paying top price - but even then this is usually comparable to the price of the physical version if you add in either postage or the cost of travel to a bookshop, time taken, and so on.

      Me, I'm a rather parsimonious soul and I just keep an eye out for when the books I want go on offer, browse the on-offer parts of Amazon continually, and ask for Amazon vouchers when kind people ask me what I would like for my birthday/Christmas etc. I have a huge library now on my Kindle and I could never have afforded its physical equivalent - and nor would I have room to store it!

  35. Pang
    December 22, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I read books online and in print. Day time, I prefer an actual book to a book on device. At night, I read online but for only so long as my eyes are very sensitive to light therefore end up wearing sun glasses! to read. All in all, if I have the means, I would rather have a book in which I own for life and can hold than a text on device any day.

    • Joy
      December 23, 2014 at 3:39 am

      Right. Sunglasses. Sure. The topic is ereaders. Not reading on computers. There's a difference.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Hey Pang, check out a Paperwhite. It's front lit so the light doesn't shine out of the screen. It might work really well for you.

  36. dragonmouth
    December 22, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    1. Books do not need a source of power.
    2. Books do not break easily.
    3. You lose a book or it is stolen, no biggie. You lose a e-reader, there goes your whole library.
    4. Books are not thief-bait.
    5. Books are free from the local library.
    6. Once you buy a book it's yours forever.
    7. e-readers are for self-centered showoffs.
    8. Books are easy to read in full sunlight.

    For technological advancement, I rather prefer audio books (tape or CD/DVD) because you don't have to hold it, you just listen to it.

    • Joy
      December 23, 2014 at 3:37 am

      FYI, local libraries have content online and free for borrowing on your ereader. They also have audio-books.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:14 am

      1. Power is now a total non-issue. One charge every 2 to 4 weeks.
      2. Books are fragile! They get ripped, torn, marked and marred easily. A good case on a kindle and it's sorted.
      3. Well no. Because you've access to your library on other devices until you can replace it.
      4. Nor are Kindles.
      5. As Joy says, so are a lot of ebooks. And going to the library has opportunity cost. You can also find plenty of free classic works online.
      6. Largely the same with Kindles. Yes horror stories of books being removed but they're few and far between.
      7. Doesn't follow from anything.
      8. So are Kindles, especially the front lit ones.

      Audiobooks I totally agree with you on. They're fantastic! Though I obviously use Audible. ;)

  37. Deason Hunt
    December 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Respectfully, in an each-to-his-own way, I disagree.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:09 am

      I can't fault you that. My editor disagrees too. He was like "I can't fault the writing but I disagree with everything"!

  38. Hector
    December 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Do you know what sucks even more than books? This post does, simply sucks like I can't tell you..
    the My-Starbucks-moment-of-inspiration arguments here are hilarious.. Hoping you to comfortably reading this in your Kindle.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Well obviously not, I'm reading it on my laptop. It'd just be silly to respond to comments on a Kindle!

  39. A P
    December 22, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Actually agree with all of your points, and would probably add another three.

    1) Vanity. I think people still enjoy being able to show off what they're reading, whether its on their bookshelf or when they're on the train. This is the same for music too. In defence of this, I suppose it can be a good conversation starter.

    2) Delivery. I love Amazon Prime, but being able to download a book on Kindle (or any e-reader) instantly is great when you get a sudden urge to start a new book.

    3) Accessibility. I'll confess I have a pretty sizeable wishlist, and comparing the total price on paperback/hardback to kindle is significant. Mine worked out about 30% cheaper on kindle, really adds up if you read books regularly.

    My main point against kindle would be retention. I've seen a lot of articles referencing studies that show retention is a lot lower on e-readers. Possibly more important for non-fiction books?

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

      All good points! On the retention stuff, all of what I've seen has been comparing books to computer screens rather than e-readers. There's also the issue that most adults are more used to reading books than screens. In ten years time when we have a generation raised learning off iPads, I suspect there'll be no effect.

  40. Doctor Scientist
    December 22, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Got a Kindle paperwhite for Christmas last year and it's hard not to absolutely love it. In the last year I've read about 15 books for enjoyment and another 10 that were tied to my work. The last book I read was Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. The thing that absolutely sold me on the kindle was the ability to look up words on wikipedia on the fly. The story Snow Crash talks a lot about Mesopotamia and Sumarian gods a lot and it was really nice to be able to tap the name or a god and get a wikipedia article explaining a bit more back story on each god. Before if there was an unfamiliar word or reference to some historical event I'd have to put my book down dig out my laptop and then wait for it to boot up before I could go down rabbit hole of random knowledge. The backlighting is also really great since I can now read in bed with the light turned low and not bother my girl friend if I want to read for an hour before I go to bed. My mom's favorite thing about the kindle is that she can turn the font size way up so she can easily read the text.

    The only thing going for good 'ole paperbacks these days is that they still beat out ebooks on the power consumption end of things. Although as little power as the e-ink displays use at this point I feel like even that's becoming a non issue since most people have access to electricity at least once a month that the kindle needs to be plugged in.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:03 am

      I'd totally forgotten about the Wikipedia look up. And yeah, the light on a Paperwhite is amazing. Dialled gently down you can read it without disturbing anyone else.

      I charge my Kindle at most every two weeks. When it says it's low, I plug it in for an afternoon and don't worry about it again! The battery life is so good that it really makes so little difference.

  41. Kenneth DeVries
    December 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    We operate an online bookselling business out of our home and have - literally, not figuratively - over ten thousand books in here. We have books in every room except the bathrooms and breakfast nook. I do 98% of my non-news reading on my Nook. If I see something about an obscure author who seems interesting I can poke around online and usually find something, download it, and be reading it in five minutes. If I want to read a lurid victorian melodrama or early 20th century science fantasy to wipe my mind clean I can find them online by the dozens and not be saddled with a block of wood I have to keep for the rest of my life. Books are great, in whatever form you like them best. I hope people keep buying them from us.

    • Harry
      December 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

      I totally agree with almost everything you've said. Almost. The bathroom is the perfect place for books! I'd recommend something like QI's Book of General Ignorance.

    • Elvin
      January 12, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Question: if for one month the state you live don't have power, how would read from your kindle?

      • Maryon Jeane
        May 7, 2017 at 5:38 pm

        You can get solar chargers and battery-operated chargers. I carry around with me a couple of lipstick-sized chargers just in case, but actually I've only ever used them for my tablet and my mobile phone.

    • Harry
      January 17, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Well firstly there'd be far bigger problems. And secondly the Kindle battery lasts that long.