• Are Hard Copy Books Dead?



    Justin and I were discussing Christmas the other day. Namely, we were discussing what I want for Christmas.

    “Bookshelves,” I said. “I want my library back.”

    I have a small spare room in my house that I’ve intended to turn into a library since we moved in. The kids seemed very small when we bought the house and I wasn’t comfortable putting them upstairs by themselves. So as a temporary measure we set them up in my library.

    Three years later the kids are still in there and I still have a pile of books without a home.

    This year I’m determined the squatters are evicted.

    Justin rolled his eyes. “Bookshelves are an outdated piece of furniture.”

    I gasped, my heart wounded. “But my books need a home! I need to be able to smell them!”

    He gave me the you’re crazy but it’s safer if I don’t say that out loud look. “I’m going to take your Kindle away.”

    “I like my Kindle. I just like my hard copy books, too. Hard copy books aren’t dead.”

    “Really? Been to a Borders lately?”

    I fumbled for an answer. None came.

    I like both hard copy and eBooks. They’re great for different reasons.

    I have a candle that smells like a bookstore. Someone recognized that book lovers would buy this candle, so I can’t be the only one who loves the smell of books. And there’s the tactile pleasure of holding a book in my hands. I don’t get that with an eBook.

    On the other hand, eBooks are awesome for their portability. I’ve always taken a book with me wherever I go. I love being out somewhere and knowing I have an entire library on my smart phone. It makes me feel magical, like Hermione with her little hand bag.

    Hard copy books make any room feel more like home to me. These are books I want my kids to read someday. I’ve read them repeatedly and will probably read them again. These are books that have changed my way of looking at the world.

    But, back to my bookshelves, eBooks do take up less space. The books I own have been hauled half way across the country through multiple houses. I admit, my inner hoarder feels nauseous at the thought of getting rid of them.

    Hard copy books are awesome for their low tech properties. If I’m reading on my smart phone or my Kindle I find I’m easily distracted. Facebook and Pinterest and all the other glittery bits of internet garbage call to me when I’m so close to an internet connection. I get tired of being connected all the time so sometimes I’ll put the device in Airplane Mode. But even that requires will power and can be turned off at any time. A hard copy book doesn’t offer distractions. It’s a simple way to disconnect from a too connected world.

    I appreciate eBooks. Truly I do. But there’s something special, something inspiring, about hardcopy books that the eBook world hasn’t captured yet.

    Maybe hard copy books are on their way out of fashion, but I’m not ready to let go yet.

    And I’m getting my bookshelves.



    What do you think? Are hard copy books dead? Leave a comment below or send me an email at gettingthewordswrong (at) gmail (dot) com.

4 Responsesso far.

  1. breid1903 says:

    good on you.

    ice cream. raz

  2. Liz says:

    “I need to be able to smell them!” – Yes, book-smell is a thing, a beautiful thing!

    Mega-props for the Harry Potter reference 🙂

  3. Linda says:

    I like both hard copy books and ebooks also. I love the fact that I can have an entire library on one device. I do have book shelves but I can be much choosier about which books make the cut to get space there. I can sit and read for hours — that’s where I sometimes run into a little trouble when I have used up all the battery on my device!!! Don’t have that problem with the hard copies! 🙂

  4. Pat S says:

    I have an older Kindle, as well as the newer Paperwhite version. I have to admit that it is nice to sit in my bedroom in the dark and read the back-lit Paperwhite. But I do love to hold and read a real book. I have purchased a lot of books in the past from E-bay, Half.com, and also from some re-sale shops, purely for the sake of getting more books for the dollar. But I do prefer the hard back books when I buy them, or the brand new paperback books from Sam’s or Costco. I am very anal about my books……don’t like to crease the pages or such…..give the book respect. And I like any detritus within the pages to be mine, not from previous readers. I guess that’s where the E-books have the edge…….no old detritus (use your imagination) occurs with the Kindle or other E-book. But, when I travel or fly, I invariably take a couple of paperbacks in case. Just old school.

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