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This vs That: Kindle vs Paper Books

While books have been around for ages, when Kindle and other digital readers came out a few years ago, many predicted the demise of the old-fashioned paper, bound editions. Well, that hasn’t happened… So I’ve tried both, and this is my *personal* opinion on how they stack up against each other. For ease of reference, when I say Kindle I am referring to any device where you download books and read digitally.

This: Kindle

I got one as a Christmas gift when my son was five months old. Loved it primarily for this reason: while rocking him to sleep or when he lay on me, with a Kindle you don’t have to somehow prop the book up so the pages stay open, or even have to turn a page.

But I have to say, the novelty wore off after a year or two. Firstly, with our weak rand against the dollar, buying bestsellers or quality books started becoming expensive on the Kindle.

Other disadvantages:

You have to remember to charge your device;

Your ‘library’ is only available to you, and I am a sucker for lending out books I think someone would enjoy;

Your ‘library’ is a space-saver, for sure, but I love seeing my books and seeing where I physically am in a plot via a quick look at the pages; and

This was the clincher: once my kids started noticing books, I wanted them to physically SEE ME READING.

Because I read a lot, I wanted them to see this as something they would want to one day do, that it was a natural and “cool” thing to always have a book or two lying around. With the constant worry about ‘screen time’, it hardly felt fair that I would have a ‘screen’ in front of me, even if it was a ‘book’ – I knew they wouldn’t be able to differentiate between me having my nose glued to a ‘Kindle’ versus glued to my smartphone.

Not every child will enjoy reading, but because I love it so much, and have learnt via osmosis so many random things through reading, I’d love to see my kids enjoy a good book.

So when my Kindle died a natural death I didn’t replace it.

That: Books

I started visiting the library again, and once we had a bookshelf made for our lounge, I also started ‘treating’ myself to regular visits to Bargain Books. Walking off with brand new books feels massively indulgent, but at least once they are in my possession they will remain tangible and always look so lovely shelved together.

My bedside table is overloaded with books in various stages of being read – I often read a few at a time depending on my mood.

And I reckon the smell of a brand new book being opened ranks up there with freshly mown grass or of popcorn before a movie.

However, does it have to be ‘this’ or ‘that’?

I downloaded the Kindle App on my phone to read samples of books I think I might like to read. The samples are free, then when I next have disposable income at least I know I will most likely enjoy the book I buy to read further.

And once when I was on holiday I finished the book I had bought, so downloaded a whole novel on my smartphone and read it on that tiny screen. I also like the audiobook option on Kindle for road trips.

So I reckon it’s neither Kindle over paper books nor vice versa; there’s a place for both. – Taralyn Mclean, Jan 2020

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