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Whether ’tis nobler to read a book from the printed page
or download it to an e-reader.

Electronic reading device or traitor to books everywhere?

Please forgive my bad Shakespeare pun, but I couldn’t resist.  The “e” I’m referring to is not the drug that once ingested makes you really “get” techno music and suck on a plastic pacifier.  Instead, I’m talking about the e-reader.  Nook, Kindle, Kobo, pick your poison, they are everywhere.  I will be the first to admit that I was completely against them.  Now, I suffer from anxiety if I leave mine at home. No joke, yesterday morning I woke up from a dream that caused me to panic. In this dream, I was on my way to work however, my commute was more treacherous than normal, buses were going crazy routes (I don’t even take the bus to work, I take the subway), I was going uptown instead of down, through parks and along the East River.  And amongst this crazy commute I realize I’d left my Nook in my bed.  This was the worst part of the dream.

When the first e-reader was released, I hated the idea that this was the future of books.  When I was younger, I used to go with a list of books I’d researched online, read the backs, and then, after careful consideration, purchase a stack of books. I still did this until about 6 months ago when I cracked.  I went to the dark side. I bought a Nook.

I would consider myself quite the bookworm.  It’s safe to say that at my parent’s house, I’ve left behind probably close to 300 books.  They’re stuffed everywhere, from under-the-bed storage bins, to multiple bookshelves, to hidden away in drawers (or not so hidden away in piles on the floor much to my mother’s dismay). All of these books hold a special place in my heart (no really, otherwise I would have let my mom toss the lot of them out when I moved out…) but the fact of the matter is that for as much as I love a paper book, I can’t deny how wonderful an e-reader truly is.  And now, a few reasons to defend myself to those who despise the idea of turning electronic.  A few major book-worm dilemmas made easier by my e-reader.

1. I just finished Hunger Games but didn’t buy Catching Fire. I need it now but the bookstore is closed. PANIC!
Well first things first if you bought Hunger Games without buying the other two right then that’s just silly.  And with my handy dandy Nook, oh wait, lemme just buy one right now. And in three… two… one… I’m right back in Panem.

2. I just couldn’t wait til the paperback book came out and now I’m going to have back problems from carrying this heavy hardback around.
The Nook weighs 7.83 ounces.  Yes I looked it up.  I have a case on mine so maybe add a pound.  Maybe.

3. If my boss sees me reading 50 Shades of Grey in the office I’m going to be so embarrassed.
You can keep your dirty little secrets to yourself.

4. I have an apartment in New York City.
It’s hard enough finding ways to store my shoes creatively in my apartment, let alone what I would have to do to store all of the books I continue to purchase electronically.  I could probably fill my tiny bedroom entirely with the books I already own that currently reside back in New Jersey.

5. All of my paychecks go to buying books.
Well that and clothes, but that’s another issue.  And while yes, I did have to purchase the Nook itself, the money I’ve saved buying e-books has probably already covered that expense. And if it hasn’t yet, it will soon I’m sure.

6. I actually DID forget my book at home!
Now this dilemma can only be solved by people who own smartphones with aps that can sync to their e-reader.  And assuming you didn’t leave said smartphone with your e-reader.  If I ever forget my Nook or I’m going somewhere that I can’t fit my Nook in my purse, I can simply pull out my iPhone. Obviously not the ideal reading solution, however it gets the job done.

“F*** them is what I say. I hate those e-books. They cannot be the future. They may well be. I will be dead. I won’t give a sh**.” – Maurice Sendack. Guess we know his opinion.

And I’m sure the list goes on and on.  Yes there are arguments that can counter some of my above points.  A lot of people argue going to the library as a way to cut the cost of purchasing books entirely, however I like to re-read books every once in a while and I like to own them so if I want to go back and do this at the drop of a hat, I can.  There are also a few books that authors have printed in a certain style that lose their meaning when they can be altered in electronic form to make the print bigger.  Additionally, while I do use the highlight/take notes option available on the Nook, there is something to be said for actually writing in the margins and using a highlighter.  It’s just more personal that way.

This brings me to the number one reason why I think books still have a place in today’s society, and this is the sentimental factor.  There’s just something about a worn-in book.  Or the smell of an old hand-me-down one.  Or seeing them line the shelves of a library.  Each book can have a special meaning and this can be lost sometimes when they are all read on the same device. Discovering something that I’ve written in the margin re-reading a book years after I read it the first time isn’t quite the same as looking at the index of highlights and notes I’ve made in the electronic version.

So there you have it.  Let me know what you think! Am I a traitor to books everywhere? Do you own an e-reader and love it? Or will you never stop buying physical books? Whichever your fancy, I think as long as you’re reading something it can’t be all bad!