Real Book or eBook?

On a business trip a few years ago one of my co-workers told me he was looking forward to heading back to the hotel to read his book.

“You mean a real book, with paper,” I asked. I was joking, but also a little surprised. Usually he was into new technology.

“I know. What’s that?” he said. Then he followed with, “I’ll probably never give up reading real books. I just like them better.”

I see the debate about eBook vs. real book online all the time. There are those who never want to touch an eReader and assert that reading paper bound books is the only real reading to be done.

Books

If you notice on my reading list, I note what format I read the book on. I don’t know if it’s important or not, but I thought it might be an interesting thing to keep track of.

I do most of my reading on my Kindle Keyboard 3G. I love having a 3G Kindle because I can have a book anytime I think of it – especially handy when you have to travel for business a lot.

The first business trip I took, I hauled the hard cover edition of Stephen King’s massive Under the Dome with me along with a paperback of Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. I finished the Bradbury, I have yet to finish Under the Dome (though I do have the Kindle version now, and it’s on my list).

Kindle

So, the act of hauling that book around – housed in a large zip-lock freezer bag to preserve the jacket – through airport security and up the stairs to my hotel room, soured me on reading it. I don’t really know why, I was enjoying it. But it got set aside and I moved on to other things. I’ll return to it soon.

Then I received a Kindle for my birthday. Suddenly I could have any book I wanted, whenever I wanted it. Reading became so much easier. In addition, I can sync it to the app on my phone and never be without my book – this is perfect when you are waiting for a movie to start at the theater – and your significant other is buying popcorn – or waiting endlessly at the doctor’s office.

Phone

Once in a while I will listen to an audio book. This not my preferred way, but it’s a good way to get through a book when you are driving or walking. A couple of times I have had my audio book linked to my Kindle, so I could read when I wanted and listen when I couldn’t read. I find it a little harder to be completely absorbed when I listen to an audio book. At some point I realize my mind has wandered and I will have to rewind a bit.

I get through so many more books with Kindle, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love owning real books. I love browsing at the book store and picking something out. I still do that from time to time.

Growing up, there was always a special thrill when my mom would take me to the book store, or the library, and I would get to pick out whatever I wanted. I could hold it in my hands, thumb through it or show it to my friends. I would hate for that experience to be lost on a new generation.

There is something to be said abut not needing any technology to read something. In the event of total power and internet failure. There will always be books.

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