Digital vs Physical Books

Anyone else feel torn when it comes to digital books vs physical books?

Awhile back I read a post by Grace on her blog about how she got a Kindle but eventually stopped using it and went back to buying physical books from her local book retailer. It got me thinking back then but I was too busy to post my own thoughts about the issue.

I've often thought about trying to win Kindle/Nook giveaways and I have the Kindle and Aldiko apps on my phone, however I don't really utilize them much.

Around Christmastime I downloaded a handful of free books for my Kindle app that I haven't even looked at since. And on Aldiko, the only reason I haven't removed it is because I'm currently reading a book on there (FTW - a book about a video game gold farmer and what lengths he goes to to make his money) for free that Amazon charges full-price for. But again, I started reading that one awhile ago and I've only read a few chapters of it as I keep forgetting about it.

I can see the versatility of having a digital platform for your books - a smaller tablet or a smartphone are both way more portable and in my case, I can hold my phone and read/do stuff one handed while I'm feeding Jay, but for some reason I just prefer having a physical book.

http://www.webistemadness.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Digital-Books.jpgI like being able to put a book back on the shelf when I'm done with it. Sticking an actual bookmark in it when I'm stopping for a bit, etc. Maybe it's the pack-rat side of me, as I like to collect a series and then display it on the bookshelf in our home.

From the time I was little I enjoyed reading - my parents read to me when I was little, my dad would take me to the library a few Saturdays each month when I was little and I would pick out a few. While other kids were spending their allowance on this or that, I would buy books with mine. I remember in 4th grade a bunch of girls brought all our Baby-Sitters Club books to school with us and displayed them by our assigned seats. We would swap and borrow them - it was fun! And just like movies and CDs, when I enter someone's home, books is another thing I skim their shelves for if I see them - I like to walk in and see what others are reading, watching, listening too while I'm waiting for them to finish up whatever. It fascinates me.

It was a sad day when Waldenbooks closed at our mall. The big one at the big mall in the Chicago suburbs also closed awhile back too. I used to enjoy hanging out at Media Play too - the media giant. I'd browse the movies, the books, the music selections and items and spend hours there.

Borders has always been a favorite of mine - whenever we were visiting that big mall in the suburbs, the giant Borders store was always a stop on the way home for us as at the time we didn't have one in our city (They eventually built one though). For some reason I always found their prices to be better than Barnes and Noble and until B&N moved into a bigger store out at the mall, Borders always had the larger selection it seemed. Even in college, the town I was in had both but the B&N was just soooo small and I could never find what I was looking for, plus the Borders down there gave student discounts on some items. Also, I love the Borders Rewards program - unlike B&N, they have a free version of it where I still get coupons throughout the week (I just got one last week that gave me 50% off the list price of an item - we got the Game of Thrones 4-book set for $18!) and last winter they gave me a total of $25 in Borders Bucks, which is basically free money - I got several books and items for free, just for being a loyal customer! The only thing I think B&N has over Borders is their kids section, at least in my city - B&N seem to have a much more organized kids section than Borders, making it easier for me to find books for Jay, plus they have a free kids book club program too which I get savings on. We're lucky - our Borders is one of the select ones staying open; the one down by my college already closed up!

Granted, I do buy bestseller paperbacks from Walmart as they're several dollars cheaper, but for all other book needs/purchases I try to go to Borders. Yes, I've ordered some stuff off Amazon in the past too, but only because I was already placing an order and/or had a giftcard.

Regardless, some days I find myself wishing I had the book I'm working on in digital format, but then I always come back to thinking "no, I don't need it."

What they need to do is find a way to make it so that if you purchase the physical copy of a book you can also download a free copy of it to your digital device, sort of how most DVDs these day include a digital copy disc so you can put the movie on your computer or smartphone or tablet. I would LOVE it if they somehow figured out how to do that, that way I could have my physical book at home on my nightstand or coffee table but if I was out somewhere and bored, having time to read or say I'm at home feeding Jay, I could read the book on my digital device.

What are your thoughts? 
Do you love the digital age of books or do you prefer having a physical book in your hands?


  1. i bought a nook for practicality purposes - i belonged to a book club and was always very enticed by ALL. THE. BOOKS. at the store so always ended up spending too much money. i figured out how many books it would take me to buy to make the nook "pay for itself" so to speak. i too like the idea and feeling of shelves and pages, etc, and it took me about a week to adjust to reading on the nook but now i LOVE having it. what's even better is that popular books, such as the game of thrones series (i am reading the first book now myself), harry potter, sookie stackhouse, and other bestsellers are all available for free via torrenting.

    i love my nook but i have to say i do wish i'd gotten a kindle, because the amazon book selection is wider and cheaper. i have heard really wonderful things about the nook color though. i love my paper books too, but living in apartments in nyc, you're always restricted on space and they were just piling up everywhere...so i got myself used to the digital.

  2. I used to love going to bookstores and searching for my next read. I never thought i'd like a kindle! I read SO much more now that I have my kindle! I have read 13 books this year and thats way more than normal! I love it!

  3. Aw, nice memories of bookstores. For a time when I was little, we had a bookstore right behind our house, but I'm trying to remember what the company was. Might have been Waldenbooks (it wasn't Borders or B&N). Then they closed, and I also preferred Borders to B&N.

    I don't have a Kindle/Nook or any Kindle-like apps, but I have considered it. In terms of portability, it's just so convenient. Before the Housemate went off to Antarctica, I considered buying him a Kindle, but then decided against it once I found out I couldn't get Harry Potter for it. That was a deal-breaker, haha. The book I'm currently trying to get through is HUGE, and I think one of the reasons I still haven't finished it is that it's basically too big to take to the beach. Though if I had it on a Kindle, I don't know if I'd take it to the beach anyway, as I'd be paranoid about it getting stolen if I went in the water.

    I still like holding traditional books, but maybe I just haven't given digital forms a fair try. Do Kindles have a "Find" option (looking for particular words or phrases)? Because that could be very useful, and might tip the scale in their favor for me.


What's your thoughts?