A Book in the Hand is Worth 3,500 in the Kindle

IT'S ALIVE!!! Necronomicon from Army of Darkness

Why Printed Books Will Never Die-
A Rebuttal to The Death of the Book

Some things are immortal. The Highlander, HeLa cells, Beethoven, my love for Jessica Biel.

And Books.

There are some who will say that the good old fashioned paper and ink book is a dinosaur, doomed to be cast away into our time capsules along with snap bracelets and pogs. However, they are wrong.

I will be the first to admit, this summer as I traveled the roads of the great American Northeast, I carried with me a trusty Kindle, and I loved having it. When I felt the urge to expand my mental world, I would just reach over, turn on the little electrical wonder, and I could choose from murder mysteries, classics, even some crazy sci-fi. In a situation involving limited space and minimal luggage, a Kindle is a wonderful thing,

But then two things happened. One, my Kindle got stepped on. Two, I returned to my home.

First, let’s look at what happens when you step on a Kindle:

Suddenly, your world of books at your 8 ounce fingertips is lost in a pixelated blob of blackness. I could not read my books, and I had to wait for Amazon to send me a new one (which they did free of charge. Thank you awesome Amazonians!). Luckily for me, I was not foolish enough to abandon my hard copy books, and I had a back up, real book waiting in the wings.

Let’s look at what happens when you step on a real book:

Ouch. But you know what you can do while you wait for the doctor to sew up your wound? Read your book.

Second, when I came home, I walked in to my library, and there I found my old friends waiting for me. It reminded me why I love real books, and why, even though I am an avid and widely read reader, and someone ***zach*** stated that “no power reader who has tried Kindle has ever gone back”, I have continued to purchase and read real, paper filled books.

So here are the reasons real books are not on the outs:

  • I can see all of my titles on the shelf, no clicking to the next page required.
  • No matter how many times e-reader fans tell you highlighting and note taking on the Kindle or Nook is just as easy, they are wrong. I have done it. And I hate it.
  • I can ACTUALLY lend my books to friends. And let’s face it, if a book is sitting on your desk, you are way more likely to eventually read it then when it is hidden away with 3,500 other titles in your Kindle.
  • When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, and all the power goes out, I will be sitting in my high tower overlooking an open field so I can watch for approaching zombies, reading my paper book by the light of the sun. Zach will be a zombie, and zombies can’t read, because their Kindle’s battery died. That and their brains are only working on muscle response…..
  • No matter what people say, the covers of books help us decide what we might want to read.
  • Nothing will ever replace the joy of walking through the library/bookstore and exploring new titles and possibilities. In the e-world, no matter what you think, the information filtered to you is controlled by what algorithms and the website think you will like. At Half Price Books, the shelves are filled with new turns, new passions, and and new possibilities.
  • Watch the Book of Eli. Denzel says real books are the future. “Nuff said.

I am not saying that e-books don’t have their place, or even that they will not be predominate in the reading world on the coming years. But the real book, whose pages you can flip, smell, fold over, and mark, will also have a place. At least as long as I am still reading.

About john

After an unfortunate run in with a narwhal forced early retirement from his life as a pirate on the Seven Seas, John turned his attention to his second love, Mountain Watching. He is currently fighting to prove that Mount Huascaran has moved 3 feet to the left in the past year, and that one night he saw it crying. When he is not watching mountains, John can be found practicing for the National Caber Toss competition, having staring contests with jaguars, or helping little old ladies cross busy streets.

Currently Reading:
"River of Doubt" by Candace Miller
"The Buried Giant" by Kazuo Ishiguro
"Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel
"S." by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams
"Hamilton" by Ron Chernow
"Storm Front" by Jim Butcher
"Lisrael" by Garth Nix


  1. Ok fine, I didn’t think about the breakability factor. But I still think nostalgia is your main argument and that’s not a good enough reason for me.

  2. Wrong! Not nostalgia. Use and joy. You keep your cold electronics my friend. My books and I will be just fine!

    My brother had a way more intelligent and well thought out argument, but it did not mention Jessica Biel, so I ignored it….

  3. a few other points of rebuttal i thought of (i’m on john’s side, i know you all are terribly surprised):

    -borders closed in part because of the kindle, but also because of the expansion of online *book* selling. it just couldn’t compete with amazon who doesn’t really have to pay any retailing costs and can just warehouse the books and ship them out. i loved borders, they had great classics and good employees usually. but when i went into one of their closing stores for a final sale and as i checked amazon on my phone i saw all these books hugely discounted were just about the same price as amazon. no store can survive that way.

    -cds went obsolete in the same way that many other technological mediums have. some people liked their cd towers and enjoyed album covers (which they still include digitally, though it’s not quite the same), but those were never really part of the listening experience. it was something on the side. the physical book is part of the actual reading experience, and the aesthetic value of the book can always be tied to it then. also, while a song or cd is relatively quickly gone through, it takes longer to read a book, therefore there is less of a need to have to carry around multiple books in most situations. and most people often don’t jump around between thousands of books like they do songs. generally, you read a book and you keep reading that book until you’re done.

    ebooks have their place and definitely have advantages in certain situations–i want one, but that doesn’t mean that books are dead. if/when i get a kindle, i will use it in lots of situations i’m sure, but that doesn’t mean i’m done with books. technological advances usually bring convenience and ease, but that doesn’t always mean it’s a good thing. i can see the future, and an entire population of college students with puny arms and shoulders does not bode well for the future!

  4. Jennifer Creagar says:

    I do not understand the one-or-the-other thinking. Why can’t I have both? As anyone who has seen my house knows, I love my books. I also love, love, love my Kindle. The fact that I can carry 50 or so books, not to mention articles, clippings,
    games and notes of my own around in my purse with me every single day just plain makes me happy. But so do my vintage Nancy Drew books that John found in Maine this summer, (and I am in the process of re-reading) and the worn, dog-eared paper copies of beloved novels. I have a full, leather-bound set of Encyclopedias published in the 1980s that are a treasure. I still keep a list of books I love so much that I am always on the lookout for the hardbound, maybe even first edition, version for my shelf. (Sorry John, Jane Austen figures prominently on this list). I confess to some pride when someone stands in my living room, looking at the floor to ceiling bookshelves and asks, “Have you read all of these?” and I can answer, “Almost.” In fact, one of the reason I love my Kindle is that it will allow me to make more room on my shelves for those special books.

    When it comes to this particular book war, I think I choose to be Switzerland. Books, cheese, and chocolate. Works for me.

  5. Is space so dear, or convenience so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of electronic slavery and chains of technology? I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me printed words or give me death!

  6. I feel like its less about what you actually prefer and more about yielding to the beating drums of change.

    But, of course, I say all of this in the extreme as I do, on occasion, slum it with some real books.

    Also, John, Nancy Drew, huh? Cute.

  7. A real man, when his Momma asks him to find her a set of books, does so without fear of losing man points. If Momma wants Nancy Drew, Momma gets Nancy Drew.

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