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E-Books or Paper Books – A Literary Dilemma

By Jennifer Snyder

To e-read or not to e-read, that is the question.  My answer?  A little of both is ideal.  Strike a comfortable balance between the full-physical experience – touch and smell – of holding a printed and bound piece of literature, and the speed and convenience of an e-book.  This is a debate as old as the Kindle with articles and blogs peppering the Internet, and I am not discounting the words of Huffington Post, New York Times, or even Psychology Today.  I do, however, have my own reason for writing this article: to help you make a decision.  Clutter is delayed decision-making so we are going to make one.

E-books are deceptively convenient especially when traveling.  It is possible to carry an entire library with you on an airplane with the physical burden of a child's picture book.  They are small and perhaps not even necessary with smart phone and computer apps.

Text-to-Speech is quite possibly my favorite e-book feature.  I discovered this when I was sick with the flu.  I was too sick to read or even watch television so my book read to me.  I was able to lie down with my eyes closed with this gentle robot voice reading to me.  I also find this helpful in the car when I am particularly engrossed in a novel.

Bookmarking and highlighting do not ruin the book itself.  They are, however, difficult to revisit and forget being able to compare and contrast text because you can only see one at a time.  They are backlit, which means you can read in the dark but they have to be charged and a cable needs to be kept up with.

Print Books
Print books are so much more than just paper and glue.  They represent a significant piece of our history as humans.  After all, how many copies of the Bible have been in print up until now?  Physical books can have coffee stains, handwritten inscriptions, dog-eared pages, and cracking spines, but each imperfection increases its value and our emotional connection to it.

There is guilt associated with reading paper – generously gifted to us by environmentalists and marketers around the world.  We are killing trees, destroying the earth with each dog-eared page.  Truth is, electronics are equally damaging, if not more so.

I am not here to sway you one way or another.  You are a reader and therefore smart enough to make your own decision.  Here is my personal solution:  read fiction on the e-reader and non-fiction on paper.

I love to mark in my books and make notes about information I am learning.  I do not do this in fiction.  I seldom re-read fiction which means there is no reason for the books to be consuming valuable space on my bookshelf.  If I have an amazing book that I love, I buy it in paper.  Books by my favorite fiction authors are pre-purchased and I get them at midnight the day they are released.

By having a system in place I get the best of both worlds: all the convenience of an e-book with all of the romance of a paper one.

Have a Neat day!

Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Exerts


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Categories:  Education|Organizing Tips

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