Paper or Screen?

Paper or Screen
I’ve always had a thing for physical books – new or old. The crisp white pages, an unscratched cover, the fresh black ink indicating the promise of a new adventure.
Or my personal favourite – stepping into a library or even opening an old bookcase and inhaling a strong musty fragrance that is the signature sign of yellowed pages, dog-eared corners and a well-loved book. Remember the Sex and the City movie scene where Carrie gets into bed with a book and Big disbelievingly asks her, “Are you the last person in New York still taking out library books?” and Carrie replies, “I love the smell.” She brings the book up to her nose and goes, “Mmmmm” appreciatively and then holds it out to Big to inhale the scent too. He obliges and sarcastically says, “Ohhh – that’s an oldie.” Yeah, I am like Carrie too. I have a thing for old books.

Books have stories to tell – not just within them but also of their ownership and how far have they travelled and who they have met to eventually end up in your hands. A book gathers a piece of each person it passes through the hands of and becomes enriched by different adventures and experiences, thereby becoming a historical masterpiece in itself.

Having said that, I cannot negate the importance of e-book readers. Ever since I started reading e-books about 6 years ago, I’ve been amazed at how easy it is to find hundreds and thousands of books at my disposal. Thanks to so many free and cheap e-book resources, you can download any book at any time. It’s convenient, it’s fast and you can do it in your most comfortable PJs. Plus, you don’t have to worry about physical storage either.

I personally do not own an actual e-book reader but read almost entirely on my smart phone. I enjoy the flexibility, convenience as well as the privacy that e-books allow me. I love that I can travel with my personal library anywhere I want without adding any extra weight to my handbag. I like that I can press delete immediately if the book doesn’t catch my fancy. The fact that I can get a huge variety of e-books that I wouldn’t have been able to find in a bookshop also thrills me.

Granted that the process is highly impersonal. It’s definitely not the same as visiting a bookshop and getting excited and a little bit awed at all the books lining the bookshelves from the bottom of the floor to the top of the ceiling and wishing you had the money to buy and read all of them. Neither can it be compared to lurking in the narrow aisles of a library, settling yourself comfortably on the floor and hoping to finish a book right there and then. Hugging a warm book and feeling its comforting presence as if it were an old friend is incomparable to the cold screen of any e-book reader.

Reading from a screen also doesn’t quite evoke the charismatic power an actual book does to move you to tears or drudge up a pent-up emotion. Nor can you admire the cover and let your tactile sense feel its matte, glossy or embossed texture under the palm of your hand. Or allow your auditory sense to enjoy the rustling sound of turning pages. No more borrowing a book from someone and treating it with such care as if it were a fragile baby. An e-book can quite literally, deprive your senses of life’s simple pleasures.

However, I am going to admit I am more comfortable reading an e-book nowadays than picking up a book because of its sheer convenience. I have developed a faster speed in reading e-books and I also like that I can highlight, make notes and do several other things in an e-book reader. But if given the choice and an abundance of space and financial resources, I would definitely choose physical books for their comforting presence and the fact that they give a home charm and lots of personality.

What is your opinion? Do you prefer actual books or e-books? Please post your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

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33 thoughts on “Paper or Screen?

  1. Magini - books says:

    paper by choice, screen by need
    I like paper books, I simply do, but due to many circumstances I mostly read ebooks. And what’s worse – I read them on my phone. I really don’t like that, but since my kindle broke I kind of have no choice before I’ll gather money for new one.
    At least I don’t need to remember to pack a book with me, I always have my phone 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thistles and Whistles says:

      Yes, both have their pros and cons! If e-book readers hadn’t been invented, I guess there would be a lot of authors not being read all over the world. E-book reading is like eating fast food, it’s super convenient and cheap whereas paper book reading is like eating a home-cooked meal. That’s how I suddenly see it in my mind’s eye. Thanks for sharing! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. anhistorianabouttown says:

    I do still love physical books, but once I moved to Ireland for grad school, I really dove into my kobo. I still buy books now and again, but e-books are more convenient, usually cheaper, and I can carry a thousand at the same time! Once you start moving anywhere, you have to really consider a physical book collection. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nikkispeaks says:

    This so interesting to me, because I work in a library, and most of the younger hires, can’t believe how much books go in and out.They think everyone should have e-books. In fact they can’t believe how many people still come to the library because of the internet. Our librarians who are typically older, have not been so open to e-books and e-readers, even though we offer e-books. Our library have held workshops to teach them to use the devices, but most of them are just not interested.

    I can’t say I don’t have a preference, because I looooooove my kindle. I absolutely love it. I also love having a physical book in my hand. In fact, I still go to book stores, and it really makes me sad to see the decline of book stores. So whenever I see a book store, I go in. I am in the process of giving away some of my books for a book drive we are having, and it is so hard to part with my books, but I have to because of space issues, but even still, I am so picky about what I donate.

    My favorite thing about the e-books is the amount of new authors I have discovered. I’m more open to buying something if its free or discounted at a low price, even if its not something I would typically read, but the blurb pulls me in. Its opened me up to new authors and that is my number one favorite thing about e-readers.

    I still love a book in my hand though, but I do looove my e-reader. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thistles and Whistles says:

      First of all, you have the coolest job ever as a bookworm! Working in a library has got to be one of my dream jobs as I love talking books. 😀

      Secondly, it’s sad to see how much the reading culture has changed over the past decade. When our cozy little neighborhood library closed down seven years ago, that was the toughest time of my life. I wish I could go back to the simpler times but it’s difficult to resist the huge conveniences that e-books provide and, as you mentioned, discovering new authors all the time!

      I also have the same problem with parting books. Of course, when a particularly trashy book ends up in my possession, I don’t have that problem at all. I still love bookshops, libraries and book drives too but it’s becoming harder and harder to read on paper and I don’t buy many books anymore.

      Thanks for sharing! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • nikkispeaks says:

        They’ve attempted to close down a few of our libraries, but thanks to local politicians we’ve been able to keep doors. These libraries are especially important to the inner cities, and I think it would be such a detriment to close them down.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thistles and Whistles says:

        I agree, libraries are a very important part of history and especially the community and it would be a huge shame if they all started to close down. Books play an integral part in keeping us grounded and attached to a simpler time and libraries play a very important role! I am glad some politicians have their agendas straight! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Laduchessederat says:

    I love and read on both. I buy the books for my kindle and i I really love them, I’ll often buy the paperback edition to display it on my bookshelves. I do it quite systematically with creative writing to be sure I have the resources I need wherever I work (I’m a nomadic writer).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pancake Bunnykins says:

    I like reading e-books, but I also like flipping book pages when I read. 😀
    I love looking at my book collection in my old room, they’re like my trophies. ❤
    Although an e-book is easy and handy, reading too much from it really hurts my eyes even if I am wearing glasses.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. MindandLifeMatters says:

    Ah the age old dilemma in my head! I love books…I enjoy reading the most when I have a paper back or hard cover book in my hand! But off late I have been switiching to e-books mainly because of the ease of getting them delivered as soon as I buy (I do a lot of online buying!) and also because of storage problems! I have too many books already and dont seem to have enough space to store anymore…add to that my Son’s collection then its a mess!
    eBooks have their own advantages although I secretly still prefer holding a book in one hand a coffee mug in the other and reading! 😀


  7. flyingonemptythoughts says:

    First of I have a lot of thinsg to say on this topic!
    Well since that’s out of the way lets begin 😜 Agree on the smell of books, I love second hand better than the first hand. Ebooks are okay. But the thing is… it’s so eqsier to carry and read!
    I am on a traib with 300 books or so, I could read any, so many possibilities there! For the past few years I’ve noticed I’ve been reading a lot of ebooks than physical ones. The thing I’ve realised (for me) is that it’s harder to go back reader a physical book when you get into an ebook. I dunno why that is, maybe its a habit or something. But I feel guilty as hell! Especially since I can’t stop buying real books! I am a mess, can you tell?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Haddon Musings says:

    I go back and forth with both mediums. I am a bit of book junky and hoarder. I ended up with so many books in my house that the house was in danger of caving in. I donated all the books to a hospital library. Started Ebook reading and buying. At least with the Ebooks I am not in danger of my house collapsing because of the size of my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Michelle says:

    I collect books like nobody’s business. I love being able to stroll along my row of shelves as I try to decide what to read next and let something catch my eye. But I always have an ebook locked and loaded so I can open it up on my phone if I’m caught waiting somewhere without a book or anything else to do. To that end, I also listen to audio books in the car, so I’m usually reading/listening to multiple books at a time. I may have a problem…lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thistles and Whistles says:

      Hahaha, no, I think it’s great that you’re able to multi-task between different reading mediums. Plus, I think mostly everyone has jumped onto the e-book bandwagon too. It’s really so convenient. One thing that I haven’t been able to adapt to yet is listening to audio books. I guess I am more visual and I need something to focus on other than just my ears. I am glad it works for you though because there are some lovely audio books I would love to listen to. Thanks for sharing! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michelle says:

        I’m definitely more visual as well so sometimes what I find happening is that even though I’m paying attention and know the story, I have no clue what people’s names are lol. It’s a process sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

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