So, it’s been a few years, three or four, I think, since I got my first Kindle and started reading primarily ebooks. There were some exceptions — some nonfiction that didn’t come in Kindle format, and RITA books that are still send in print copies, but this past week I read a Lee Child book after seeing the Jack Reacher movie at the theater, and I knew from the get-go that I wanted to read it in print.
At first this choice was largely practical — my husband wants to read them, too, and we read at different rates, so print made more sense. That way we can share the books without worrying about lending limits or how to get it from my Kindle to his, etc. But as I sat down and read, I found myself far more absorbed in the book than I have been in any of my recent Kindle reads — I don’t think it was the book, I think it was the format. Sitting down with the print book was simply more relaxing.
I’m not one of these people who likes the smell of books — I never got that whole thing, frankly. But there is a quality of reading print that I found relaxing for my eyes, my brain, and I think it comes down to a break from spending time in front of any kind of screen. We live our lives jumping from phone to laptop to Kindle to TV to tablet and then back again, and I think it was a mental vacation to read something away from a screen. I couldn’t connect to anything but the book. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before, but it just hit me that way now.
I also liked seeing my progress through the book, seeing the pages pile up behind the bookmark and how many I had to go. I could curl up with the book differently than I could curl up with the Kindle. Weird. I can’t say I understand it, but I now crave more print books. Luckily, RWA will be sending me a batch soon to read for the Ritas. I have books on the Kindle yet to be read, some halfway read, and yet I wish I had them in print. Maybe it’s a phase. The consumer point also still stands – when you buy a print book, you really own it — it’s yours — digital books are still, in essence, rentals. This remains a problem for me in principle. I wouldn’t get rid of my Kindle — it’s still the best for vacations, etc — easy to pack along a lot of books, but I think I will be reading more print books this year.
Anyone else out there still read print? what say you?