Home > Contemplations > Much As I LOVE Tech: There’s Nothing Like Reading A Physical Book

Much As I LOVE Tech: There’s Nothing Like Reading A Physical Book


bookshelf full of books

I love to read books. I have been reading ‘adult books’ (not that kind, you perverts!) since my mom gave me “The Client” by John Grisham when I was 10. As I mentioned in a previous article, I love Harry Turtledove books so you can see them represented in the picture above. I recently picked up the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson which everyone says is fantastic and the new Stephen King book “11/22/63″ which is an alternate history book about what might have happened if JFK hadn’t been killed in Dallas that fateful day in 1963 as suggested by my man  aka @FunkyBarrister on Twitter.

Steve Jobs biography & Stephen King 11-22-63

I am also in the midst of reading “Poke The Box” by Seth Godin which is so far really, really good too. But it has been a long while since I have been reading more than one book at once. Heck, it has been a long time since I have actually read one physical book. Used to be I went from one book to the next and then to the next (and usually was reading more than one at once). As the years have progressed I have found myself staring at screens more often than not and rarely sitting down and reading an actual book. When I went to the Kobo Office Party I opined how much I liked the idea of the Kobo and having all your books with you at all times but at the same time I don’t know that anything can ever, in my mind, replace a physical book. There is just something about the ink and physically turning those pages that a reader just cannot replace.

As I typed the above I am aware that I sort of sound like people who maintain that listening to a record the music sounds ‘warmer’ and ‘more alive.’ Or you can say I sound like people like my younger brother who used to tell me he didn’t want to download music because he liked to physically go to a store and buy the CD. Therefore, even if I could print all the album art on a high quality printer, bind it properly, and put it into a CD jewel case and print the album art onto the CD he STILL would rather go to the store to physically buy the CD. (I haven’t checked with him if he still holds this opinion, he opined this years and years ago.) But music is still audio and these aren’t intangible things I am talking about when you read a physical book. Sure for keeping things light and easy the Kobo is an excellent choice especially if you are going on a trip. But as Tammy Hurst-Erskine aka @the_girl_ca said to me on Twitter (linked here and here).

@TheDanLevy ah so…the smell, the texture, the tangibility of the word on a page you can run your fingers over…irreplaceable. The soul is between the bound cover.

Agreed Tammy! Although I think saying ‘the soul’ is straying a little too far into the ‘music sounds warmer on a record’ territory I agree that the tangibility of the word on a page and feeling the print and smelling that new book (or old book!) smell is something else that must be experienced to be understood. Getting really into the book and not noticing time pass as you sit there curled up turning page after page is just so fantastic I can’t begin to describe it.

There is also something awesome about revisiting your bookshelf every now and again and pulling down a book you haven’t read in a while and re-reading it. Maybe this is a generational thing and kids born in the past 10 years are going to get the same experience in 15 years when they look at their library on a screen but I guess only time will tell. I also realize I need to give that book about The Mafia in the picture below back to my friend Mohammad as I have had it lying around for way too long. (Oops!) Also, you can see some of Orson Scott Card books whose characters I have mentioned in this post here and here. (If you haven’t read “Ender’s Game” I highly recommend you get on that post-haste!) Finally, looking at this picture reminds me I haven’t reread the story of Charlie Trumper in “As The Crow Flies” in a while so when I finish the three books I mentioned above, I am coming for you Jeffrey Archer! (That’s also the 2nd copy of that book I have owned because I destroyed one of them reading it so darn much.)

Note: I think this is one of the most un-ecofriendly posts I have ever written because I am advocating cutting down more trees to print more books.

books on a bookshelf

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  1. December 12, 2011 at 12:05 am | #1

    Wonderful post today…blogging about things we love to talk about. Bravo! Steve Jobs so deserves all the praise~~~

  1. December 18, 2011 at 12:00 am | #1
  2. January 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm | #2
  3. April 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm | #3

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