5 Reasons to Choose Traditional Books Over E-Books
I love reading, and as a homeschooling family, there are usually between 12 and 15 books being consumed by our family members at any one time. While I am a huge proponent of technology, and I can appreciate the ease of carrying digital titles on my iPad for quick reading when I’m out and about, if given the choice, I’ll still pick the old-fashioned variety most every time. Here’s why. (See also: How to Never Pay for Another Book)
1. Originals Are Art
The written word is indeed an art form, but books take it even further. By looking through the pages of my 1946 special illustrated edition of "Pinocchio," for example, it’s obvious that lots of love and care went into making the pictures as vital to the story as the words. Even the cloth cover — while dingy — brings a new layer to the tale. With the exception of a few brilliant digital stories such as "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," for example, e-books lack this essential literary element.
2. Traditional Books Are Harder to Alter
Censorship and books don’t mix, in my opinion. As we see more and more titles being cataloged digitally, however, we are forced to trust the power of Google and Amazon to keep our literature in its most honest form. A dusty old book from my parent’s generation can only be changed with a pen or highlighter, and that would be pretty obvious. Digital products, however, get changed all the time. My most recent download of Rudyard Kipling’s "Kim" was riddled with typos that were most certainly not included in the original manuscript, and it caused me to distrust “classic” digital products altogether.
Note: Print books are changed, as well, although not without more effort. A recent trip to Barnes and Nobles had me looking through a school-sanctioned version of "Pinocchio," where the words “Land of Boobies” — used to describe a world of slacking off and never growing wiser — was changed to “Playland.” Censorship still happens on paper, especially in new editions.
3. Tangible Books Can Be Stockpiled for Difficult Times
As an online professional, my biggest fear is that the Internet as we know it could someday collapse. Whether it is through censorship, a lack of electricity, or rapidly changing technology, my job could become obsolete. The same can be said for digital books, which are only valuable in tandem with the gadgets and software needed to decode them. Traditional books, on the other hand, can be smuggled into luggage, carried through generations, and enjoyed without batteries.
4. Original Books Are Beautiful
There have been so many great tutorials on how to use books to decorate a room. Even if you never read the contents, their shape, size, and color can add charm and depth to a wall or bookshelf. Unreadable copies can even be repurposed into something magnificent! (The Tattered Cover has an inspiring Pinterest board with examples.)
5. Traditional Books Can Be Shared
Books are still popular gifts for every occasion, and some of my favorite reads have come via second-hand gestures from friends. Traditional books can be shared, resold, or rented; e-books, however, are usually restricted to one owner or one “device” per purchase. Once you are done reading a digital book, you usually cannot pass it along to bless someone else.
I use e-books and digital products in my daily life, and I won’t say that they don’t have unique advantages. They are quick to obtain, affordable, and can help those get their ideas into the marketplace in a time when traditional publishing is unattainable by most authors. For those who love everything about the written word, however, the book you can hold in your hand will never be replaced completely. I think this is a good thing indeed!
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