What do you miss about printed books?

I came across an article the other day that made the bold statement that eReaders make reading people harder.

The title caught me eye because I couldn’t fathom at that moment what they meant by “reading people harder”.

The sub-title of the article explained it all:

“If you need another reason to worry about the death of print, think of the access to strangers’ souls we’ll lose when e-readers take over”

And it hit me that the writer was, oh, so right.

eReader features I love

Yes, an eReader allows me to walk around with my entire library without taking up the space of a paperback. It allows me to browse “like” or “similar” titles and read in under a minute depending on where I am and what kind of eReader I have. And it allows me to switch between books without having to either lug a dozen along with me everywhere I go, or make the walk to the bookshelf (or library stack) when I need to look something up.

eReaders are fast moving towards replacing print media in other areas too – the nook™ already works with most library services, and Amazon.com announced earlier this year the intention to offer library lending via the Kindle (though I haven’t heard anything more about that feature since the press release – how it works, where it works and when it is to start working – to be specific).

What I’ll miss about printed books

As a dedicated reader, I have always had a thing for brand new books – the smell, the feel … it was a whole experience for me. It started when I picked up the book the first time, stuffing my nose in the middle and taking a deep breath, to sitting in a corner, balancing the book on my knees and paging through as I read carefully so as not to scar the pages in anyway … periodically taking deep breaths so I can get the smell of the book in my nostrils again.

I took great pleasure in replacing my favourite paperback versions with hardcover versions when I could afford to and then showing them off on a bookshelf in my home.

And the idea of a home with a room filled ceiling to floor with books on all four walls has been a dream of mine from the day my mother pointed me to our bookshelf at home and ordered me to occupy myself.

I had never even considering the additional enjoyment of being able to ‘read’ people based on what book they were reading until now. However, I realize that I used to enjoy ‘reading’ people this way too. It’s how I traditionally would get suggestions for reading material too. I’d see someone I knew (or didn’t) reading a particular book and ask them what it was about the book they liked and get pointers and/or suggestions for myself. It was a community feeling – the kind of feeling you get now when you join such websites as Free-eBooks.net or GoodReads.com; your ‘friends’ suggest and review books and based on that you are able to pick your next read or reads.

But – just like holding and sniffing a brand new book – it just isn’t the same for me.

Personally – I hope that printed books stick around for a while – just so that I can occasionally enjoy some of those experiences that endeared me in the first place.

What about you? What will you miss about printed books? What won’t you miss?

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