Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Death of the Paperbacks

It seems the extinction of paper publishing has already begun. Some of you may already own a tablet, or Kindle, or iPad, or Slate, or Xoom, or Nook, or some other Star Trek-esk reading device that the ancients used to call…a book. 

I’m all for progress, but the monkish, luddite, tactile, Neanderthal inside me wants to bang on the desk and shout “No take-um my book, Ug!” Okay, maybe not that extreme, but any book-lover out there knows what I’m talking about. So what’s the sensible thing to do? Should we burn the libraries and convert to electronic pads or should we buy up paperbacks and horde them away in preparation for the intellectual apocalypse to come? 

The truth probably lies somewhere between these slightly divergent alternatives.  So, my fellow wise book-learned writers/readers, what have you decided to do? I myself am debating whether to hold back or join the progressive wave, but perhaps there’s a third way in between. What would you do? 


  1. I actually did break down a few months ago and bought a Nook. There are a lot of things I love about it. I love that I can carry a ton of books around with me all in one little tablet. I love the instant book access it gives me. I love that I can also check my email and get online with it, as well as read books. I can download movies, music (or listen to Pandora), and most importantly manuscripts, which is very handy.

    But when it comes right down to it, I still prefer my regular old paper books. So, I generally buy stand alone books on the Nook, since the series I love reading are generally ones I collect (so I HAVE to have them all in paper copies) :) And if there is a book I'm just dying to have and can't wait till I can get to the store, I'll get it on the Nook first.

    As fun and convenient as the e-reader is, the real thing is always going to have first place in my heart :)

  2. Moving made me an e-reader convert. I still read paper books more, but I buy far fewer than I used to.

    I'd even be excited if my library started offering e-books to check out.

    I like having options.

  3. Michelle - Thanks for insight on Nooks, those strike me as the most interesting of the current epad options. But I like how you delineate what you keep in paperback or hardcover or electronically.

    Hektor - Options are def good. But I do kind of dread the days when libraries will be no more...I have such fond memories of such places:)

  4. One can always pledge to read the spoken word:

  5. I still go to the library once a week, so I have pretty vivid memories :).I'm with you on that point.

  6. I just bought a paperback yesterday. No electronic book device yet, but experience tells me not to say it won't happen. I recall my darkroom days, my days beneath the black cloth of large format photography. I knew I'd never use a digital camera. Oops.

  7. Stacy - interesting idea on It sounds neat, but I think ebooks will still continue to rise in popularity.

    Denise - You raise an interesting point. Just as in the world of photography digital cannot replace everything, so to perhaps will it be with books.