eBooks or Paper?

trieste-cover-e1421695495480To Kindle or Not to Kindle?

I bought an original Kindle years ago. I used it faithfully until it gave out, and then I got an iPad and a small Kindle to keep in my purse for those odd moments. Aside from the paper or hardback books I buy for research to freely mark them up and skim through the pages, I didn’t think I would ever read fiction in paper again.

That was before Trieste. About four months ago I was captivated by the reviews I read and downloaded the sample onto my iPad even before I realized that it was an upcoming book club selection. I fell asleep reading the first few pages. Weeks later I returned to it, and had to begin reading from page one. I couldn’t get engaged.

I tried to read this sample four times, each time returning to page one until I finally gave up. I was bothered that I couldn’t get into the book. Was it too difficult? Boring? I’m an avid reader, and this was a well-reviewed book and about an important subject. What was the deal?

Ashamed, I went to the book club meeting the other day having not read the selection. Most people didn’t have lavish praise. Others hadn’t finished, but Paula, our leader, was convincing. She was enthralled as were a few others. I listened to the discussion, determined to download the full text and slog through it.

Then I picked up my neighbor’s paper copy and held it with surprising tenderness. Judy looked at me and asked, “Would you like to borrow it?”

I did. I brought it to bed that night and read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open, enthralled as Paula had been. What made the difference? There seem to be two things. Maybe other readers have some thoughts about this.

I liked the tactile quality, so long absent from my reading. The long and carefully crafted sentences spanned the broad double page layout, allowing me to perceive and relish them as a whole. The quality of the writing shone through on the paper, as it hadn’t on the digital copy.

My husband shuns eBooks, and others tell me that they enjoy the paper copy more. There is more talk in the book business about a resurgence of paper books over eBooks. For the first time I see why. Some books deserve the paper they’re printed on.

My book, Beyond the Silk Mills, sells eBooks over paper three to one, but I think there might be a day when this evens out. What do you think?



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