CrackBerry Poll: Are you an E-book addict or still loyal to paper?

By Kevin Michaluk on 6 Jun 2011 03:29 pm EDT
How do you read these days?

This past Friday a colleague lent me a book to read. And when I say book, I mean an actual book. Hardcover. 252 pages. The title looked interesting and the content was relevant to me, so Saturday morning I picked it up and started reading in bed whlie Miss CrackBerry slept in.

There was nothing odd about this scenario, or at least I didn't think there was, until at 23 pages into the book it dawned on me... apparently I now hate reading physical books. Though I had attained this book for free, I put it down, grabbed my PlayBook, fired up the Kobo app, bought the book for $20.69 (could have bought it on the Kindle for $9.88 so Amazon had better get that Kindle app for the PlayBook out asap!), downloaded it, then continued to read happily for the next two hours.

For the past few years I've mainly done my reading on E-Book devices. I was a relatively early adopter of the Kindle, own an iPad and iPad 2 which when I do use them it's mainly for reading, and since getting the PlayBook have done a lot of reading on that. And when I don't have any of these bigger-screened devices around I'll read on my phone. But as much as I've been an adopter of E-Book readers, it wasn't until this weekend that I really reflected on why I prefer reading on a digital device.

I'm sure there are many more reasons than this, but here are mine:

  • I can read in silence (no sound of pages flipping)
  • I can read whatever books I want and the people around me don't know what I'm reading (I have pretty eclectic and occassionally weird taste in books so don't need people I don't know seeing what I'm reading)
  • I can have my entire library with me wherever I go (I tend to like to re-read a lot of my favorite passages)
  • I don't need to go to a bookstore to buy books (just need an internet connection)
  • I like that I can change up the font size (make it big so I can read on a treadmill)
  • I can look up the definitions of words I don't know on the fly

Put it all together and I find it almost a painful experience to read through a real book... unless of course, you know, my battery is dead or I'm trying to read outside. But most things being equal, I'm definitely a digital guy.

Which brings us to the question of this week's CrackBerry Poll.... are you an E-Book addict like me, or still loyal to paper?? Vote on the poll above and sound off in the comments!

Reader comments

CrackBerry Poll: Are you an E-book addict or still loyal to paper?


Thank you. Was thinking the exact same thing. I love books (can't use the library because they make you give the books back). Since I was a kid I would read books in a way that left them in pristine condition and then put them in my bookcase. Now I get to have the book and still download and read the e-book.

E-books will not survive our civilization to be discovered hundreds of years later, let alone thousands. They barely make it from one device to another without jumping through some form of hoop.

I'm really hoping for a Kindle app on PlayBook. I check the app store daily for it. I need it! LOL

While I've never used an e-reader, it's one of the main reasons I plan on buying a playbook. I have no problem reading things on my laptop for hours

I like reading actual books, but the advantages of e-books are hard to deny, mainly to be able to buy a book instantly wherever you are, to store your whole library in a sleek sexy device like the playbook, and the inabilitty to lend a book to a friend (seriously dont lend books) makes e-book reading highly convenient.

I agree. I love the tactility of books. But E-books are simply better for my back. I struggled for a long time before I bought my nook.

Correction: "...a colleague LOANed me a book to read..."

That said, I love print books but read mostly ebooks on my Torch for many of the reasons listed: easily portable, have lots of selection at hand, can read in the dark easily (quite useful when helping small children to sleep or when spouse driving at night).

I love my (pre-Playbook) Kindle except for when the door closes on the plane and the "all electronics must now be off" time comes. Better bring something else to read for the long taxis and runway holds.

"I can read whatever books I want and the people around me don't know what I'm reading"

I can sympathize with that reason. I'm always reading on my Kindle wherever I go, and don't like to be bothered when I'm reading. Unfortunately, sometimes I think I'd rather they saw what I was reading instead of bugging me for what seems like forever with questions like... "What's that you're reading on? Is that one of them newfangled ebook readers? What're you reading? Is it good? Where do you get one of them there devices?"

Personally, I prefer e-ink devices. They're so nice for long periods of reading. I can (and have) read on back-lit devices, but it's more of a concerted effort.

I'm always traveling for work and space is at a premium. I just don't have room in my work bag for a thick book that I may finish halfway through the trip. Having books on my Kindle or iPad (and a full library accessible OTA) gives me the chance to actually enjoy leisure reading again.

Kevin, I 'm definitely an eBook convert. I have the same type of problems reading physical books now, adjusting them back and forth depending on which side of the book I'm reading (I hate cracking the spine), the weight of some books can be troublesome, margins too close to the spine, fonts sometimes too small.

I save every book I've ever read. I simply ran out of room. I have close to 200 unread books; wish I could afford to buy digital versions of all of them (and donate my unread physical books to the local library) so I can clear the floor of my office, which has it's own row of books, in addition to the several shelves and boxes in my garage.

I switched to a Kindle when space became an issue. Now I just prefer all the eBook conveniences. However, I don't like reading for extended periods on a LCD screen that refreshes. I stare at a screen all day. It's not enjoyable for me to read for pleasure on a computer screen. Big "gamble" for me was the eInk screen. Deciding to buy a Kindle to see if it really was like reading paper. Since then I've converted two in-laws, my wife and my one son.

I do miss color book covers, though. And I had to get used to reading by % instead of page numbers, though you can check your page number now, not that it correlates to the screen. Oh, and for computer books, I prefer hard copies to digital. Anything with photos/screen-captures, charts,etc. is not good enough on eInk. I'd probably prefer a tablet for those. But I do want to be able to read my Kindle books in short blocks of time on the PlayBook. Same for Netflix streaming - would be so much better than streaming to my iPod touch.

I fully agree. I am an eBook convert, but it must be an e-ink screen. Staring into a flashlight cannot be done for long periods. Love the convenience of the apps though!

While I do prefer ebooks there is one aspect of ebooks that I don't like. You can't give away/lend/sell an ebook. If there was a way to transfer ownership of an ebook, that would be ideal. It kind of ruins the whole used textbook market.

I have been an avid reader from childhood, own 500 or more "real" paper books and thought I would never move from that format. However, I read my first ebook on a Palm V and was hooked. I bought many books from Peanut Press, which I think was a division of Palm. Later it became eReader, which was later bought by FictionWise, and then FictionWise was bought by Barnes & Noble. Throughout this time I have purchased several hundred ebooks. I have bought a few ebooks from Kobo, but I really want a Nook app for PlayBook so I have access to the library of ebooks I've already purchased!

I've been reading ebooks on my iphone for a while now and much prefer them to paper books. As you always have them with you, if you have to take an unexpected trip somewhere, or have a long wait they're good to go.

This is actually the reason I went for the playbook over every other tab (and the sexy UI of course)... iphone is a little small for reading, ipad and 10" android tabs are WAY too big, but the playbook is the perfect size.

Just having this discussion the other day. I prefer both options. I still like paper and I love Mobipocket on my 9650. Considering buying a Kindle but I won't need it if I buy a PB but that's months away.

Just got a Kindle as a birthday present - finished a free book as a sample - so far I like it for at least half the reasons you menitoned. (tho not sure I'd buy an e-book if I had a physical copy already in my hands)

I have always loved books. I guess I get that from my Dad; he loves to read and having a minor in English sealed my love affair with books. I find that reading books makes the reader more in tune with the material than from reading from a computer screen. For example, I do a prodigious amount of legal research and while I love what West Law has to offer, I only briefly read what is on the screen and if it is what I need, I print it out and read what I have printed. Reading from a book causes the reader to catch the nuances that the writer meant for the reader to catch, which is usually lost on a computer screen. Furthermore, book stores are great and very little is as cool as having a home library.

Of course if you had just purchased the Kindle version, you would have had access on your Kindle, both iPads, your Blackberry and computers with Kindle app. Not to mention that you could have paid half as much to have option to read on bigger screen than Playbook (granted there is Kobo app for iPad as well). You must really love that Playbook!

The e-readers are nice, but the books cost more than a physical copy.
When they get more cost effective, then i will use it more.

At the current rate all that will happen is all the illegal sharing will hurt them like it has done the music cd.

That's right since about 1997 to be exact. I've got into reading stories published from Memoware and other sites for Palm. The military started to publish regulations on online as well around this time frame. And me being military, having ePublication that I can just search for what I'm looking for makes life a little easier.

I used my Palm up until 2007 when I purchased my first smartphone (Windows Mobile)--that's what made me switched to BlackBerry, all of which I used for keeping some policies and documents with me at all times.

Finally, I got a Nook just last year, and now I read ebooks that I had purchased or checked out from my library, policies and regulations, and magazines. However, I still keep the edit-able documents on my Blackberry.

So, I am waiting for the Palm like/eBook reader that I can use a stylus to annotate, make notes, circle, check, or even doodle/draw on anything I buy or create. Because that is when I will chuck my notebook and pen.

It's funny, I can read news, Facebook, Twitter, all kinds of online information on my computer for hours on end, but if I'm going to read a book, then I have to read a BOOK. I can't make myself read a book off of a screen, I've tried and just can't get comfortable with it.