A Surprising Discovery…

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07

As I’ve posted on Facebook and in other places, I’m eager to read Steve Jobs’ biography. So I’ve been dithering whether to buy the book or buy a download for the Kindle. What I’ve discovered is that as much as I like that Kindle, there are some books that are just too delicious not to have a *real* book in my hands. Something tells me that the book about Steve Jobs is one of those.

This discovery was a “wow” moment for me because I thought I was ambivalent. I thought books in print had been replaced in my mind by Kindle books.

So I started thinking about other books I might like to read or have already read and I asked myself, “Kindle or print book?” I made a short list of the ones  I would just have to read in their print format if I hadn’t already read them. Here’s a small part of my fiction list in no particular order. I prefer a print-on-paper edition of every one of these books.

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
HEART OF THE WEST by Penelope Williamson
THE OUTSIDER by Penelope Williamson
LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Ernest Hemingway
SOPHIE’S CHOICE by William Styron
RIDE THE WIND by Lucia St Clair Robson
DEEP END OF THE OCEAN by Jacquelyn Mitchard
All of Nicholas Evans’ books


Those are just a few. Then there are the non-fiction books I would prefer to have in traditional print form. That list is much longer. There’s just something about a non-fiction book that calls for one you can hold in your hands. Many of my non-fiction titles are research books and I haven’t yet mastered how to find things in the Kindle downloads.

In addition, I get a little panicky at the idea that you don’t really own anything with digital readers except the reader itself. The content is out there in cyberspace somewhere in that nebulous *cloud* and you’re only *using* it. I can’t get past the feeling that it could be yanked at any time.

Cover of "Ride the Wind"

None of this is to take away from the convenience, the ease and the utter out-of-this worldness of reading a book digitally. I do love it. Even my husband loves it. As I’ve said before, he can’t deal with a cell phone, but he can use the Kindle.  The technology is revolutionizing both bookselling and book publishing.

But in thinking about it, I wonder if a lot of readers will turn out to be like me. Some books on the Kindle, some not. Do all of you have digital readers now. And are you devoted fans? Or are there still books out there that you would prefer to read printed on paper?

I just hope the day never comes when the print books will no longer be available.

Anna J


Filed under Books and Reading

12 responses to “A Surprising Discovery…

  1. Linda Cade

    Gone With The Wind is got to be in print! That is just one of those got to hold it in your hands so you can feel its power kind of books!


  2. Carioline Clemmons

    You’re right, some books we want in print to save and savor again and again. If you saw all the filled and overflowing bookshelves at our house, you’d know I have a lot of “keepers” on hand. I do love my Kindle, though, and love that it’s cut down on my book piles..


    • Hi, Carolyn…..I know exactly what you mean. I’ve run out of book shelves. I’ve been on a book-give-away kick for the past year and I’ve given away hundreds. I’m now down to the ones I have to “seriously” consider keeping or giving away. Unfortunately, I’m finding few and fewer I want to part with.
      Anna J


  3. Donna

    I feel the same. There are certain books that MUST be in print. I love my kindle beyond reason (smile) I have 413 books on it and it’ll be 2 years old Christmas. I also have over 800 books on my shelves and cannot tell you the amount I donated to the library when I moved from Arkansas to Michigan. If I have everything an author has ever written in print I’m sticking with it and reference will always have to be in print too. But thank the lord for kindle books because I discovered SO many authors that I would have never found on the shelves. Plus I’ve found a lot of books that were no longer in print. But books in print are stil like old friends and I hope they’re always around. Can you imagine a library without them?


    • Hi, Donna…..OMG, I cannot imagine a library without books. How horrible would that be? But what’s going on now does make you stop and wonder what’s going to happen to libraries in the future. Especially because e-books are cheaper than traditionally printed books–at this point anyway– and libraries never have enough money. ….. But we all agree apparently, there are just some books that need to be printed on paper
      Anna J


  4. Mary Craig

    The older I get, the more I go back to memories, I suppose. One of my fondest memories is the smells and sounds and mysteries of the library. The aroma of all those pages and bindings, some leather, some not. The scrape of chairs on the floor, the soft kind words of librarians helping kids learn to love to read. The smell of glue and construction paper for hanging an apple on a tree every time I read a book. Somewhere is the check-out card for The Black Stallion, and my name is on every line. Finally they told me I had to leave the book in the library for at least 2 days in case someone else wanted to read it. I just don’t think Kindle can ever come close.

    The other day we went to a benefit used book sale. My husband didn’t buy a thing. When I asked why he wasn’t buying books, he said it was because he had moved so many of them so many times. I don’t own a Kindle, although I probably should. I think tomorrow I’ll make a stop at the local library just to say hi.


    • Hi, Mary,
      With changes in how and what we read coming at us so rapidly, it’s hard to visualize how libraries will look in the future. Peggy, who runs a small library in West Texas, posted last week that they had invested in a Kindle and people can rent a book on it for 2 weeks at a time, then it disappears. Since libraries never have enough money or public support, it’s conceivable that fewer and fewer books on paper will inhabit them. ….. A couple of week ago, I went to the library here in my town for the first time in a while. I was surprised to see that two rows of book shelves have been replaced by computers. The last time I was in the library, there were maybe six computers. Now there must be two dozen. I don’t know what happened to the books that were on the missing shelves.
      Anna J


  5. Kerstin

    Hi Anna,
    I think the Kindle vs. Book argument is a bit wobbly. It doesn’t have to be ‘either/or.’ I look at them as tools. Which tool serves my purpose best? Your car may take you everywhere and haul all the groceries, but if you have to haul something really bulky then a truck is the better option.
    So the question really is (aside from sentimental or pocketbook reasons): how am I using this book? If it is a text you reference time and again, such as a cookbook, etc. the Kindle is just not the best medium. If you want to curl up with a good novel, the Kindle is way better than a book – the screen is always “open,” no trying to hold open an often heavy book for hours, you can adjust text size, you have a built in dictionary, you only have one device to hold multipe books when traveling,… I also think the Kindle is great for books that become out-of-date in a short period of time, such as current events, etc.
    That’s just my 2 cents 🙂


  6. Mary Craig

    Having just “discovered” A Novel Idea by Jerry Jenkins, et al, I can’t imagine reading this book in anything other than hard copy. I have already underlined, made notes in the margin, added comments, applied much of the book to what I’m writing now, and I’m only on page 45. A Kindle would NEVER do this book justice.


    • Hi, Mary and Merry Christmas! Thanks for taking time out of this busy time of year to post a comment. Hope you’ll forgive me being late in replying. Time and the things to get done have just overtaken me in the last couple of weeks. You’re so right about books you want to savor and study. Unless you can figure out how to get the most out of the e-readers’ bookmarking features, it would be difficult.


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