Reviews

‘I opened this book with high expectations. They have been admirably fulfilled.  Here we have a stand alone thriller about two lonely people who pursue a relationship of monthly weekends together in remote spots.  Suddenly one of these two fails to get to the rendezvous-vous and the other realises how very limited her knowledge of her  companion is . . . Gradually the reader pieces together some of the facts as an atmosphere of rising tension envelops everything. The intelligent way Jay, Lisa and others plan their actions is enjoyable and the suspense of the tale is palpable.’

- MYSTERY PEOPLE

Ebooks or print? All or nothing?

Posted on Mar 16, 2016 in Agatha Christie, e-readers, Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Something that has surprised me a little bit recently: a couple of old friends who’ve told me that they have gone over entirely to ebooks. One is my dear friend, Pauline, whom I’ve known since we  were eleven. Books and magazines were and are an important part of our friendship (Pauline is my most loyal reader). As a teenager she had a splendid collection of Superman comics and we used to read Agatha Christie and work out the solution on paper. Dear, dead days . . . She has still got her books from childhood. I don’t think she’ll mind my saying that technology is not her thing, but she has run out of room for books, so now she reads ebooks pretty much exclusively. The other person is my old university friend, Gary. He is technologically savvy, so it’s not such a surprise to learn that he reads everything on his iPad. His wife, though, reads only print books. And I have to say that is my preference, too.

I wonder how many others have thrown in their lot with one or the other. I’ve had an e-reader for three years now, and after a honeymoon period, I have settled on print as my default position. I do use the e-reader when travelling or on holiday and it is also useful if I can’t sleep or wake up early and don’t want to disturb my husband. It is real luxury not to have to get up and go somewhere else to read. So I wouldn’t be without it. But as a general rule, I would rather have a book in my hand. Any book in which you might want to move back and forwards, which I tend to do, is much better read in print. I also have a regrettable tendency to get a certain way into a book and then leave it, coming back to it days or even weeks later, and it’s much easier to skim a print book to remind yourself of what’s happened so far. A print book, even a humble paperback, can be an attractive object. A print book can remind you of the friend or lover who gave it to you – or the time in your life when you bought it or first read it. You can’t write a sentimental inscription or a declaration of undying love in an ebook. I like a book to take up space in the world (though I realise that it is also an argument in favour of e-books that they don’t take up space). I like to see a book on the shelf waiting for me to read it – or reread it. And if I’m not going to read it again, I like to give it to a friend or take it to a charity shop and set it free to find another reader.

So there it is. Print for me. How about you?

16 Comments

  1. Peggy
    March 16, 2016

    Print. For all the same reasons you love print books. I have dozens of ebooks (lots were free) on our iPads and I only read them if I am desperate. And, they are good in bed or on an over night flight. I hate it when folks are reading books on an ereader. You can’t see what they’re reading!

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 16, 2016

      Yes! I used to love seeing what people were reading on the train or the tube. Mind you, I do still see a lot of people reading actual books on public transport.

      Reply
  2. Carol in Maryland
    March 16, 2016

    Yes, print is my favorite too. I do love my Paperwhite e-book for travel and when I’m on the treadmill. It fits perfectly into that little space in the front meant for books and magazines – but the small size of the space makes it difficult to turn pages without bending or otherwise damaging then.

    Also – speaking of reading when traveling , I recent read a newspaper article about a young woman going into labor on a train. She was alone and, walking down the aisle of the train looking for help, found everyone was focusing on their e-reader. Uncomfortable about interrupting them, she asked the first woman who was reading a book to help her. The reader swung into action,notified the train personnel who contacted a doctor, and stayed by the young mother while she delivered a healthy baby girl – still on the train.

    Says something about what these gadgets can do to human connections.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 16, 2016

      What a great story! I wonder what the woman was reading . . .
      So often, too, people are absorbed in their mobile phones, texting away or talking as they walk down the street.

      Reply
      • Carol in Maryland
        March 16, 2016

        I forgot to mention that the young mother showed her gratitude by giving the helper’s name to the baby as a middle name. A very nice gesture of thanks.

        Reply
  3. tracybham
    March 16, 2016

    Definitely print books for me. It may be my eyes. You would think e-books would be better for eye problems, but they aren’t for me. (I plan to try the new Amazon Voyage to see if that helps because I have lots of e-books and some books I cannot get any other way.) Reading an e-book for me is usually a negative experience and I feel that reaction affects my enjoyment of the book itself. I have too many print books but I still love to go to book sales and I buy way too many books, both new ones and old paperbacks.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 16, 2016

      Hope you find something that suits you. I find the Paperwhite is fine. I’m in the same position as regards print books. My moratorium hasn’t made much of a dent, but I am being a bit more more discriminating now. Still can’t resist a book sale.

      Reply
      • tracybham
        March 16, 2016

        Oh I meant to update you on my status with my moratorium… not buying books in January – March this year. I have not bought any books at all so far, so should have no problems getting to the end of March. I do have a few I want to buy starting in April, but I am committed to keeping it down. My problem is a book sale in September where I always buy no less than 100 books so I will never really cut into the backlog numerically. But that is fine, it is for charity, and I can pass them along when done.

        Reply
        • Christine Poulson
          March 17, 2016

          Excellent! I wondered how you were getting on. 100 books at once . . . Wow! Sounds blissful.

          Reply
  4. Sue Hepworth
    March 17, 2016

    I prefer print books, for much the same reasons as you, but I am now having trouble with a lot of books printed in what I consider to be tiny text. This makes reading them hard work, rather than a pleasure. I want to read all of Kent Haruf’s books – having just discovered him – but the UK editions are all in tiny print so I think I’ll be reading them on my iPad so I can enlarge the text.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 17, 2016

      This is so annoying – also when they use grey print instead of black, presumably thinking it is more stylish.

      Reply
  5. Martin Edwards
    March 17, 2016

    Print will always be first preference for me.

    Reply
  6. Moira, Clothes in Books
    March 17, 2016

    I’m going to speak up for Kindle. I was an early adopter, have had one for years, and I love love love my kindle for fiction. I can carry any number of books around in the space of one small paperback, and it has revolutionized holidays and train travel for me. I have stopped overfilling my house with books, and started getting rid of some. I love highlighting passages and making notes, and love the fact that I can cut and paste paragraphs for my blog entries. And being able to search for words.

    I don’t like it nearly so much for non-fiction, particularly anything illustrated or with graphs or charts, so continue to buy those as books…

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 18, 2016

      Fancy, hadn’t pegged you as such a devoted Kindle reader. I do like it for travelling, but haven’t got to grips with high-lighting or cutting and pasting. I don’t think my long love affair with print will ever, ever end.

      Reply

Leave a Reply