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Paper books: my low-tech treat

I love reading on my Nook or iPad. I’m a techie, gadget girl at heart, but beyond the cool factor of carrying an entire library of books on one slim device, I love the convenience.

Finished reading a book while on vacation? No problem, just open another. Or download a new one—as if I’ll ever get through my massive to-be-read pile. Instant gratification. No waiting. No worries about losing my place when my sticky flag loses its grip, or holding down pages with my fingers while on the cross-trainer, and the rest of the world doesn’t have to know what I’m reading while I sit at the doctor’s office.

I can even read through my own WIP without lugging around my laptop!

And I can’t ignore the environmental impact of an e-reader. Once manufactured, an iPad has a very small carbon footprint, using less than 12 kilowatt-hours per year. Plus, no trucks, planes, or boats are needed to ship my books, and no massive distribution center is required to box them up.

Yet every once in a while, I crave the paper.

It’s not just the smell of the pages.

It’s not just the feel of the paper under my fingers, or the sound it makes when I turn the page.

It’s not even the heft of the book in my hands.

After working most of the day in front of a screen—sometimes more than one—I need a break. The iPad can’t give me that. Even the Nook with its e-ink, paper-like look can’t give me that. Sure, once I’m engrossed in the story, I’ll probably forget, but there are times when I can’t face another screen.

Those are the times when I want a good old analog, paper-in-my-hands book. It’s my low-tech treat.

Luckily, I still have quite a stash.

Photo credit: OLD BOOK © Peter Dolinsky |

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  1. Reply

    I love my kindle, and just got a refurbished tablet for my birthday so I can read in the dark. But when my son read one of my last posts, I got caught buying hard copies of books he knew I owned on kindle or audio. I like to keep really good books to loan out to friends and family. They will never end up in a landfill in my lifetime. Of course, I have so many books they may just overtake my house. Every room should be a library. 🙂

    • Reply

      I’d love to live in a library of a house, but my husband might not be so happy about it. 😉 Plus, moving every few years makes me want to live light. Another thing to love about e-readers. But I do have a few shelves of keeper books that call to me every once in a while. The ones I don’t keep either go to the library, friends, or the used book store.

  2. Reply

    You hit the nail right on the head for me. Sometimes I just can’t stand looking at a computer screen anymore. I’ll even write scenes for my wip longhand sometimes just get a break from staring at the screens. I’m sure I’ll venture into the world of Nook or Kindle someday…but not just yet….

    • Reply

      Maura: I don’t usually write longhand, but I do like to brainstorm on paper or a whiteboard. There’s something about the big motion of it that changes how I think. 🙂

  3. Reply

    I too love my Nook and Ipod for reading books on the go. I travel a great deal for work and being able to bring dozens of books with me is a real godsend. The majority of the time in the past few years, if I buy a book, it is an ebook. Yet, lately I’ve been returning more and more to using paper. Paper notebooks to write drafts in, paper calendars to keep track of my day. The act of writing on paper has turned out to be a real pleasure to me and spurs my creativity. Perhaps it is because I grew up in a paper world, before computers had taken complete hold of our lives, or perhaps what has gone around has come around again? I own hundreds of paper books, back from the days when that was the only way to purchase a novel. Many of them are not available as ebooks. It is like many old friends have disappeared from my life. It might be time to go back and read through the stacks and enjoy the feel of a book in my hand again.

  4. Reply

    Wendy: Good point about growing up reading and writing mostly on paper. Both nostalgia, and the way our brains are wired are probably tied to a love for it. But I do love my gadgets. 😉

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