We asked our Friends Journal readers on Facebook to weigh in on one of the biggest questions of our digital age: whether electronic devices are preferable to good old-fashioned paper books. Here’s what they had to say. Do you prefer to read old-fashioned paper books or eBooks? Patricia M. Paper book, especially when a gift or used—cheaper than an eBook and a wonderful way to unplug. Mark G. A book in print. I get so much more when I am able to touch, hold and absorb what is in print. I guess that shows my age and my bias! Nicole G. Paper book for school, eBook for fun! Joyce K. Both have benefits. The paper books are more pleasant but less portable. Michael H. It’s a mixed bag for me. I love the physical presence and “thinginess” of paper books, but Kindle is easier on the eyes. Patty Q. Paper. For one thing, it won’t crash on you. For another, it’s the sensory experience of opening the book and holding the paper, turning the pages, writing in the margins. It doesn’t feel as impersonal, even though a book is usually mass produced. It might be because I associate the eBook technology with cyberspace—vast, impersonal, sometimes perilous. Caroline G. Paper. I’m a “multi” reader. I have at least three books going at once, one in my car to read during kids’ sports, one in my locker for breaks at work, one at home, etc. I can’t remember to bring a Kindle everywhere. Lisa G. eBooks for cookbooks. I can stand the reader up while I work and not worry about permanent splatter. All others, paper all the way. Rashaad J. I prefer a paper book. I love holding an actual book. Debora A. I like reading ebooks for fun and paper books for reference. For reference, I find it easier to locate what I’m looking for, wherever it is in the book. The eBooks save bookshelf space, and I can turn pages even when the cat’s paw is resting on it. Jennette Y. It’s funny—I like paper books better (the smell, the feel, the ability to flip back and forth, etc.). But, for the last few years, it’s been eBooks all the way. Just so cool, especially since I get most of them free or almost free. And I just love knowing how many hours of reading I have stored in there, wherever I go. Maggie H. Both certainly have benefits. I like paper best, though. When I get my hands on a paper book, the tactile experience is so contributory to the whole reading experience. Paper feels like deciduous leaves in October. Not certain which is better for environmental reasons. Keith B. Paper. Always paper. Nancy R. For pleasure reading—eBooks, especially for travel and reading at night. I can pack multiple books in one small package. Since I get mine all from the library, they cost me nothing (directly), and I can check out more even while I’m on the road. Because I can read at night without a light (which bothers my spouse), I am reading more books (as bedtime reading) than I have in the three decades I’ve had to worry about light bothering my spouse. If I need to go back and forth over the material, do research, or think the book is one I’d like to buy and then pass on—paper. All of those are not well developed yet for eBooks. Daniel R. Love my Kindle—it’s easy on the eyes, saves paper and space, is compatible with petting cats, and you can make notes and highlights. I agree that books have their place, especially for textbooks, books w/ a lot of maps, etc. I would not recommend a back-lit reader. Kindle covers w/ built in lights are available, and some of them almost give that book in hand feel. Richard P. Paper book for three reasons: 1. Avoids the “blue screen” which disturbs sleep. 2. Enhances the ability to concentrate instead of damaging that ability because of the distractions of the internet screen. Maybe a Kindle is different because it’s not on the internet. 3. Avoids the proliferation of more gadgets and the power/energy/fossil fuel consumption they represent. 4. The tactile experience of a real book! Christine S. Paper. The eBooks hurt my eyes after a while, and the screen is too bright if I read in bed…still lights up the whole room. I still prefer the library above all. I never buy books. Krysanne K. I like paper because when I need to look back, it’s easier to flutter the pages and see what I want. Or at least I think so! I don’t find what I’m looking for any more often. Joyce H. eBook is when I want to get something to read quickly or am traveling and don’t want to carry along heavy books. Paper books are more pleasing to the eye and the senses—when I have time, I prefer a paper book. Ruth D. Paper. There’s something about the ability to curl up with it and a cup of something warm and a cat on your lap that just doesn’t feel the same with a tablet! Kay Z. I have Fibromyalgia & I prefer eBooks because it weighs the same no matter how thick the book I’m reading. So much easier on sore shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands! Gail L. Ebooks are free most of the time. Plus, the cat can sit in my lap while I have my eBook and I can still read. Muriel S. it’s easier to switch views/pages with paper than on screen. Wendy K. Paper! I spend way too much time reading stuff on a screen. I’m just programmed to do deeper, better reading from a printed book (or magazine). Janet S. I appreciate the ease of eBooks when I travel or want something light to carry with me somewhere. Otherwise, I love the feel and even the smell of paper books. I find it difficult to read poetry, non-fiction, essays, and such on eBooks since I underline and notate those books frequently. So, I tend to read fiction primarily on eBooks. Diane M. Both, depending on when and where. Perhaps I should say that I prefer reading paper books and carrying eBooks. I think it would be great if a lot of old FJ issues and Quaker pamphlets were up on Kindle. Sequoia E. I love the tactility of paper. Staṡa M. Paper, paper, paper. For so many reasons, including that they’re easier to find my place in and to find my way around in general. Plus, they’re books. Nenad K. I started typing “paper, definitely,” but then I realized I actually read quite a lot of eBooks and journals. I still prefer paper, though. eBooks may be practical, but I still don’t think of them as “books” to begin with. Milton E. A paper book. I can keep it and use it for future reference. Ida T. Paper. The smell and texture. Kathy S. Paper! Luddite at heart. Box text below: If you haven’t already, “like” us on Facebook! You’ll stay up to date about current topics in the Quaker community, engage with other Friends Journal readers, hear about the latest book club news, share ideas and have some fun. What’s not to like?
Reader Poll: Paper Books or eBooks?
November 1, 2012