Despite the shrinking of the print market in recent years, paper books are actually doing quite well. According to the New York Times, "analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015," but it's pretty clear that isn't happening. Not for now, at least.
Instead, e-book sales are down this year from steady rises since 2008, and the number of print book dealers is up. E-book subscription services are shutting down, and, although Millennials enjoy the convenience of e-books compared to university texts, recent statistics show they prefer print over digital reading. So I'm not ready to stick a fork in e-books just yet; it seems pretty clear to me that these two warring factions can coexist harmoniously.
Although many people switch between print and digital reading materials according to personal preferences, both types have their positives and negatives. No, you can't cram 20 books into your laptop case, but a Kindle will fit without a problem. But have you ever tried to smell a Kindle? You can be reading a scanned copy of Emma, but there's no way it will have that musty, 1815 vintage odor the print-book nerds love.
So, here's to the print readers. No, they aren't better than e-book fans, just different. These are the experiences only they can relate to.
How Amazing New Book Smell Is
New books are just amazing, OK? They have those perfect, smooth edges and covers. You have to gently fold out the pages to keep the spine from breaking. And then there's the smell. Some people like sitting in new cars, I like sniffing books. It's absolutely magical.
And Old Book Smell Is Pretty Great, Too
So, according to science, the musty odor of an old book is, well, the smell of death. Seriously. It's the smell of the paper and glue and ink returning to the earth. And also vanilla.
Trying To Fit Just One More Book Into Your Bag
OK, e-reader fans, you've got a leg up on this one. It really sucks to go on vacation knowing that you're going to finish the book you're reading. You have to take a backup, or maybe even two, but space is limited. I've worn more than a few holes in totes and backpacks because of this problem, and I'm sure you've done the same.
That Rage When Someone Loses Your Place
I have a bad habit of leaving my books open, pages down. You know, the way that you're never, ever supposed to leave them if you want to protect the spines? Yeah, I do that. But I still expect a little respect when someone moves my book. Like, that's fine, you need the ottoman, but, if you're going to pick my book up, PLEASE PUT IT BACK DOWN THE WAY YOU FOUND IT.
How Much Personality Used Books Have
The vast majority of my books were bought used. Who wants to pay $25 for one hardcover when you can get 100 paperbacks at the thrift store for that price? Not me. I love the highlighter marks, the notes in the margins, creased pages, chipped covers, and handwritten "I hope this book helps you as much as it helped me" letters that pock up my secondhand titles. Every used book is different and has its own personality.
Knowing Exactly Where To Flip To Find The Steamy Scenes
So, this is a trick I picked up in high school. When you want to read something tawdry, but just the saucy bits, open your cheap romance novel to the exact center and flip through the 20 or so pages on either side. This is where the bodice-ripping scene will be almost every time. Getting a quick fix like this is more challenging with an e-book, and definitely much less fun.
The Energy When You're Waiting In Line With Fellow Book Nerds
"Oh, you came here for the new Stephen King book, too? ... So what's your favorite? ... Are you looking forward to Cell? ... Yeah, I'm really disappointed with the progression of the IT reboot."
If you aren't social, or at least fandom-social, e-books are the way to go. But if you enjoy conversations like this one, going to print book events might be the best thing you ever do.
How Annoying It Is To Be Called A Luddite For Liking Print Books
No, I don't hate technology. No, I'm not afraid of Big Brother. I just want to turn actual pages in my actual book, OK? OK.
The Shame Of Getting Your First E-Reader, And Actually Loving It
When I bought my Kindle, I convinced myself that I was only getting it to use as a tablet. You know, when I didn't want to pull out my laptop, but wanted to use something with a bigger screen than my phone. Then I discovered digital galleys, and I started carrying my Kindle everywhere. It's a little weird to use in public, especially when I'm in a bookstore or library, and I have to suppress the desire to make excuses for it. The thing is, there are no excuses. I'm reading, and that's something that should pretty much go without judgement.