Monday, June 28, 2010

Why eReaders Won't Replace Print Books

At first glance, an eReader has the appearance of a technological device that’ll some day replace all print forms of books. However, that may not be the case.

There will always be people who prefer the smell and feel of a print book, and who love entering book stores where they’re surrounded floor to ceiling with these precious gems. If eReaders replaced print books, there’d no longer be a need for book stores in the physical sense.

Some say eReaders are great because you can take them with you wherever you go. Funny. I’m able to do the same with print books. In fact, I do it all the time. And the print books actually weight less at 5.6 oz. (368 pages) or 7.8 oz. (512 pages). The eReaders are 7.76 oz. for Sony’s Reader Pocket Edition (its smallest eReader) and 10.2 oz. for Amazon’s Kindle for example. To debate the weight issue is a waste of time since there isn’t a big difference either way. Still, I wanted to point out that print books are lighter.

I’ve heard people say how wonderful it is to travel with an eReader because they can bring hundreds of books with them wherever they go. Okay, but when do you ever NEED that many books? When I travel—now, this may just be me—I bring two or three books and I never have a chance to finish reading them. Why would I need more books when traveling?

Another thing to consider is the amount of time spent on the computer. I stare at a computer screen for hours at a time. The last thing I want to do when I kick back and relax is read my book on a screen. My eyes are already fatigued enough and the print version is a nice break.

What about those of us who bring novels to the beach? I certainly don’t have to worry about sand scratching my print book. Nor do I realistically have to concern myself with the possibility of theft. I like to read a little, take a dip in the water, and return to my book. With an eReader, I’d be afraid to leave it unattended. That’s not my idea of a great time at the beach.

I’m not saying eReaders aren’t great things or that they don’t have a place in this world. I just don’t believe they’ll completely replace print books. At least, I hope they don’t. I’m one of those people who loves the feel and smell of print books.

What do you think?


  1. Oh I am definitely a print book person. I have several books I'm reading on the computer now and that can be tiresome facing the computer all day. I enjoy a print book so much more.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. I have one of the large Kindles and enjoy it! I also enjoy browsing book stores and reading hard copies. It's the best of both worlds!

  3. I don't think print books will ever go away, but I have to say I ♥ my Kindle. And for the record, it is absolutely not like reading a computer screen, which was one of my biggest fears. The e-ink technology really is easy on the eyes and I forget I'm even reading something electronic. (I lift a finger to flip the page all the time, lol.)

    Just to give you an idea of how my book buying ratio is now that I have an ereader. In 2010, according to Amazon, I've bought 13 print books, 18 e-books. So I'm almost half and half. If I know I'm going to want to keep a book (favorite author or series or for reference) I get it in print. Otherwise, I get the ebook if available.

  4. Print books all the way. It would be a disaster to be without them....eReaders are cool, but its just not the same.

  5. I'll admit to being a converted e-reader. Once I got my iPad, I was hooked. Oddly, my wife has a nook and didn't really like it. But the iPad has both iBooks and a Kindle app. I've read a heck of a lot more since. I think it's just the convenience of being able to browse on line, pick a book you want and start reading a few seconds later. I still like books. I still like being able to flip back and earmark a page. And I will always go to bookstores.

  6. I prefer print books, but I can see things swinging toward more digital content. That said, I still think the one reason why print SHOULD survive is that those who are poor (and this category includes children and teenagers) can't afford e-readers.

  7. A story is a me it doesn't matter if it's on paper or digital.

    Reading on an ereader is not AT ALL like looking at a computer screen...completely different. Next time you're in Target, take a look at the Sony Reader on display....I think they even have the Kindle now too.

    And the weight matters when you compare it to a hardcover. Numerous times I've laid in bed with a cumbersome hard cover...not very relaxing.

    Wanna know why I love my Sony Reader...I can take it to the gym and I can set it on the little shelf on the elliptical and I don't need to worry about the page staying open. I just press a button and the page turns for me. And I can adjust the text size. I tried reading a magazine once...couldn't do it...I bounced around too much and my eyes could not focus on the small print.

    I agree about the travel thing...and no one needs to have hundreds of books with them at all times. I only have about 15 on my Reader right now...but that's only because Harlequin was giving a bunch away for free so I downloaded them all! And I delete books when I'm done. But, for travel purposes, the reader is much thinner than a 400 page book....and that fits much nicer in my purse.

    And I do believe print will die...eventually....but not in our lifetime. The younger generation is all about gadgets. Do you know any teenager who even owns a cd anymore??? I don't.

    And I think our brick and mortar bookstores will definitely be gone in the next decade or two. They just can't compete with online discounts and free shipping.

    Ereaders will get cheaper, just like MP3 players have. Yes, Ipods are still the best, but for those who can't afford them, all the other brands work too. And they're way cheaper.