Are “real” books obsolete?

I read constantly. If I don’t have a book to read, I feel lost. I read as many as a dozen books a week, depending on format and the size of the book.

I keep almost all my current new reading material in an electronic format. Because I read so many books a week, it’s impossible to find places to put that many books if they were paper. I am usually reading at least two books simultaneously: one on Kindle and another in audio.

I buy very few paper books, not because I don’t love them, but because I am out of space in which to store them. Moreover, there are definite advantages to electronic books.

I can take an entire library with me when I travel with my Kindle. For audiobooks, all I need is my laptop … and I would take that with me anyhow.

Our books say a lot about us … maybe too much.

I no longer haul a trunk full of paperbacks on vacation. My Kindle is light and small and fits tidily in my bag. My wrists don’t get tired from holding it and I can read one-handed. My Kindle cover has a built-in reading light that doesn’t keep my husband awake and will turn itself off if I fall asleep while reading.

It keeps my place for me and the bookmark doesn’t fall out.

I grab my Kindle on the way out when I’m off to the doctor. I don’t mind waiting because I’ve got books to read. I don’t have to figure out where to put the “real” books I do purchase because for the first time in 30 years, there is room in the bookcases. We gave away hundreds of books to our local library, the high school, the senior center, and any friends who wanted them. We’ll have to do it again, eventually, but we’re being very cautious about what we buy.

Garry has his own Kindle. So does my son. I wish they’d put my granddaughter’s text books on Kindle so she wouldn’t have to haul 50 pounds of books to school every day. I don’t know why they don’t do it. They could save whole forests, not to mention a lot of young backs from serious damage.

Mixed media … books, movies, music and more.

But I still love books. There is nothing like the smell of a new book when you open it. The paper and the ink, and the soft crack of the binding as it loosens for the first time. The rustle of paper when you turn a page. If I had unlimited room, I’d have a library with every book I love filling the shelves.

And then there is the software and the manuals for all the applications I no longer use, books, a few antiques, and more, mostly obsolete, software. And one music box.

I think I’d choose to read on the Kindle anyway.

There’s room in the world for all kinds of things. Books will never be obsolete; buy them as long as you have room in your bookcases. For everything else, there’s a Kindle.

Categories: Books, Literature, Reviews, Writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Yours is the second post I have read recently about the destiny of books. Theirs is a place of history hopefully to long remain a way of life. Check this out. . .


  2. I like the Kindle but it cannot replace REAL books, newspapers and magazines. I know I said the same thing about computers when they came into the newsroom and I refused to give up my typewriter until they took it away from me in the dead of night. Seriously, Kindles are a nice supplement to real books. And, they’re “nifty” enough to hopefully encourage young people to read and read MORE. Any first edition Kindles??


  3. I love my kindle too, for all the same reasons. I bought my mom a Kindle Fire and put it on my account, so she can also read the books I have.


  4. My wife loves her Kindle, but I think I will always use real books. I like to see where I am, the progress I’m making etc. I also love looking at my collection, and whilst I need more room, a wall full of books always looks good! I honestly cant see myself ever reading on any kind of electronic device.


    • We ran out of room. My husband thought he’d hate his Kindle, but once he got used to it, he started to love it. I like paper and ink as much — maybe more — than most people, but reality bites. Unless you have a really HUGE house, there is a point of no return and we hit it. We still have several thousand books throughout the house, but at least we can breathe again. There’s room in the world for everything. I love my Kindle, but it isn’t right for every book and never will be. I haven’t given up buying books. I just buy very selectively.


  5. Since retirement I rediscovered my love of reading. I have my Kindle that I love for its size, weight and easy to read print. I love the extremely long battery life between charges. I keep it in the bathroom where there might normally be magazines. I also have an original iPad that goes everywhere with me. It too has Kindle for iPad on it so that I can switch devices and keep right on reading. Finally, I have Kindle for Mac on my desktop iMac. It’s on my computer desk and allows me to continue reading the same book when the mood moves me.

    I’ve read over 50 books in the past two years which is a lot for me. I’m slowing down with my photography because of the cost of gas. I can only afford one 8 gallon tank of gas a month for my 40 mpg Smart car. I use my 72 mpg Piaggio scooter a lot but can’t tote a big tripod on it. I’m hoping my new Sony Alpha NEX-5N will allow me to carry a smaller tripod under the scooter’s seat. The lighter weight of the Sony will be fine for the small tripod.

    I tend to read science fiction a lot. Reality is depressing so this form of futuristic fiction lets me escape reality. I’m presently hooked on a huge series of books by S.M. Stirling on post apocalyptic earth. Anyway I’m rambling so I’ll end by saying that My love for reading can be directly tied to Amazon’s huge book selection and the Kindle.


    • You can get the Kindle app for any computer. I have it installed on all my computers, even this one — my mini. Like you, I read a lot of sci fi and even more urban fantasy. I read thrillers, mysteries and straight history. Anything involving time travel and post-apocalyptic fiction too. You’re right. Life is depressing enough. More often than non, escape is what I’m looking for, not more reality.


  6. I recently got an e reader but I still read a few paper books. I prefer paper for reading outdoors and love the feel of reading a paper book. I still pick up 2nd hand books and pass them on when read. I find the cost of e books crazy as they cost a fraction to produce and distribute.


    • There’s room for everything until there isn’t. With 3 serious readers in one house, we couldn’t keep everything. We had thousands of books … no exaggeration. We have bookcases everywhere we can fit one. We had books doubled up on deep shelves, books sideways on top of other books. Books piled on the floor. A lifetime of books. Finally, we had to part with a lot of them. It hurt. Books are more than paper and ink. They are friends and memories. We kept reference books, 1st editions, favorites and rare books. We donated everything else wherever they were wanted. All went to good homes. Some were sufficiently valuable to be auctioned off for charity. If you are a reader, the day of reckoning eventually comes. But you’ve got time. Isn’t it wonderful to have so many choices?


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