The Lure of Hard Copy

Hard copy may be going the way of 8-track tapes. Physical books are being dissed in favor of electronic formats. The cost of publishing hard copy books is increasing even as the sales of e-books climb. E-readers and tablets are competing fast and furiously, from Kindles to Nooks to iPads. In the newest announcement, Target department stores are now offering Kindles for sale.

However, for me, e-readers do not replace physical books so easily. I enjoy the familiar rhythm of turning pages. I delight in re-reading a book and discovering a highlighted passage that spoke to my heart the first time I read it. The joy of holding an old friend is as much a part of my reading experience as the actual words on the page.

It’s not that I am adverse to change. I embrace it…quicker than some, though perhaps not as quickly as others. Strides in technology enable me to surf the internet and gain access to vast libraries of resources regardless of the time and without leaving my desk. Bible study is more convenient, too. I have several versions of the Bible on my computer and I do admit it’s helpful to type in a single word and watch a dozen verses spring up on the screen.

Still, nothing compares with the ability to flip through well-worn pages to find exactly the right verse as I look to the precise spot on the page where I know it will be. And even though an e-reader can hold hundreds of titles, when I want to read a novel, curling up with just one favorite book is more than enough for me.

Am I romanticizing a tool whose time is waning? Maybe.
Will I eventually enjoy the benefits of using an e-reader? Probably.

Until then, I will treasure the contents of my physical bookshelves even as I continue to adjust to a virtual world.

What do you think? If you own an e-reader, do you prefer it to physical books?