During the holiday season, especially with Black Friday having passed with major deals on books and e-books alike, I am reminded how much I really love having the physical copy of a text.
I’m not going to say there is anything inherently wrong with a digital copy of a book; there isn’t. For many classes, having digital editions of books is convenient and usually cheaper. Teachers are able to post links to articles and books in a flash, and students can simply go on their phones or tablets and instantly have huge textbooks at their disposal.
Digital copies also have the find word option, one of the best things about digital books for class.
However, physical copies have some things of their own. Firstly, there is no hang up in opening to a certain page. Some apps I have used are really confusing or slow in allowing me to flip pages or find certain chapters. If the book is online, then wi-fi is always needed. There’s something that’s just quicker about having a physical copy.
Furthermore, it’s so much easier to highlight around in a physical copy. I can grab a pen and write, grab a highlight and highlight, and mark pages with post-it notes as I please. Sure, a lot of apps allow for this, but, again, it is more convenient as a physical copy.
But, enough about academics. Physical copies rock.
It’s really hard and awkward to snuggle up with a Kindle at night, and it is so easy to with a physical novel (though I will admit, it’s unpleasant figuring out how to hold Anna Karenina, no matter how you want to try it. If you haven’t picked it up ever, give it a shot.)
Books are flexible. They have a certain feel to them, and the pages sound of turning is so rewarding. Used books develop a certain character an e-text can’t offer. And the all too important new and old book smells; yes, the smell is important. I know too many English fanatics who would agree with that for better or worse, but it is important to us.
So this holiday season, if you are thinking of buying someone a gift card for Nook or Kindle, or of buying them a Kindle reader, make sure they are ready to leave the literary physical kind behind.
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