Tag Archives: E-book

Paper books not dead

29 Dec

Record sales for the Strand Book Store in New York.

Ebook sales have plateaued.  Rough Type suggests six reasons, including:

“1. We may be discovering that e-books are well suited to some types of books (like genre fiction)  but not well suited to other types (like nonfiction and literary fiction) and are well suited to certain reading situations (plane trips) but less well suited to others (lying on the couch at home). The e-book may turn out to be more a complement to the printed book, as audiobooks have long been, rather than an outright substitute.”

“3. The advantages of printed books have been underrated, while the advantages of e-books have been overrated.”

This conforms to my experience. There are somethings, such as newspapers, that I find are generally easier to read on my Kindle, but for more serious works I find that paper books are better. In addition, it is still much easier to take notes and make annotations in a paper book.


Tales from my library

30 Jun

Don’t get me wrong, I love my e-reader (I use the Kindle Fire). I like the fact that you can carry an enormous library with you that you can access at your convenience and the fact that you can download many books in the public domain for free. I also like the way you can adjust text size, making it possible to read on the treadmill.

But, I remain attached to the physical book. Physical books have features that e-books have not been able to duplicate. They are easier to skim and navigate. E-books still lack an effective means of making marginal notes. Beyond this, each physical book has a history that links you to previous readers.

A couple of years ago, at the Chautauqua Women’s Club flea market, I picked up a copy of Hermann Hesse’s  Siddhartha. I am not sure what possessed me to look at it, after all, I already owned both a physical copy and an e-book version.


When I flipped through it a small Polaroid photo fell out of its pages. It was photo of a man (a previous owner, perhaps) smoking a joint.


To protect his privacy I won’t display his photo on the Internet. But, once I saw it I knew I had to own it. The book had a history.  One that I found irresistible and now book and photo sit on my bookshelf in Chautauqua.

I know that Hesse is one of those authors whose work your supposed to outgrow. But I continue to admire him. I am especially moved by Journey to the East, a book I find profound and deeply affecting.



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