E-books are books

E-books are books


I keep thinking we’ve gotten past the literati rejecting e-books as “not real books”.

I haven’t had someone sneer at me in years for reading on an e-reader.

In my experience, it’s simple: the more you love books, the more you love e-books.

However, it happened again.

In what I thought was otherwise an insightful

Thought Catalog article by Kim Quindlen: “11 Things To Know Before You Date A Bookworm”

the third thing is (in part):

“…Discussing e-Readers is not a thing we’re interesting in doing. Please don’t tell us about how they’re so much more practical and convenient…”

Look, if you are an actual bookworm (technically a booklouse of the order Psocoptera), I get it. E-books don’t have the binding paste on which you feed, so you are justified in not liking them much.

If you a human (Homo sapiens) and it is the actual words on which you feed, an e-book is just as nourishing as a p-book (paperbook). 😉

As an inveterate reader, I can’t imagine not wanting to discuss anything which had to do with reading.

I will, though, Kim, respect your desire for ignorance. I’m sure there must be things of which I’d prefer to remain ignorant, although nothing comes to mind…and hasn’t yet in my life. 😉

If you did want to discuss it (and you are free to do so by commenting on this post or in another blog…I assume I’d see the link), I’d hypothetically mention some things to you:

  • There’s no reason you can’t enjoy both. Don’t you want access to books in every possible way you can? Certainly, you might love that nostalgic feeling of holding the book that was given to you by a grandparent when you were a child…and had been their ancestor’s before that. That doesn’t stop you from wanting access to the thousands upon thousands of books which are only available as e-books
  • E-books mean much of the world’s great literature…for free. I suppose you can be a booklover and refuse to read Dostoevsky or Dickens or Doyle unless they come in a particular physical medium and you have to pay something for them…
  • I will make no presumptions about the age of someone writing a dating tips post. Let me just point out that people “of a certain age” are statistically more likely to have print challenges. E-books have given many people the ability to read again who had found it increasingly difficult. The increasable text size, without paying extra for Large Print books (when those are even available) can be important. If you are not having any issues with your eyes or your ability to physically hold a book and turn pages, I’m genuinely happy for you. For others, e-books are the adaptive technology for literature…and since you may end up needing them at some point, I’d suggest an open mind…which reading typically tends to give to readers
  • I also understand the sensual nature of p-books…that’s why people spend hours on a lazy summer afternoon, flipping the pages of a blank book, right? 😉 However, I think my Significant Other had the best line. Years ago, someone dismissively said to my SO (upon observing my SO reading on a Kindle), “I like the feel of a book in my hand.” My SO replied, “I like the feel of a hundred in mine.” 🙂

That’s enough for now, since we aren’t discussing it, per your request. 😉 Let us simply join metaphorical hands in our shared love of reading!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have several books I’m reading…I’d like to get back to one of them.

Oh, and if you actually are a literal bookworm…enjoy your lunch!


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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


13 Responses to “E-books are books”

  1. Jennifer Martin Says:

    I thought we were over all that, also! If it weren’t for e-books, I would be in big trouble. Due to auto-immune rheumatoid disease in my hands and arms, and eye problems, I couldn’t read. I had rather be dead!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jennifer!

      I understand. I can’t see any true booklover (as opposed to object fetishist or elitist) opposing anything that makes books more accessible to more people.

      I’m glad you can still connect in that special way that reading allows.

  2. Zebas Says:

    I’m so speechless about these comments that I haven’t known what to write! I’m even laughing about the fact that I’m the biggest bookworm I know, and I married the exact opposite. Anything he might know about a book, he learned from a movie, and that’s fine by me. As long as I’m given my space to read a lot, all is good!

    P.S. We are really having fun with the Echo. My technologically challenged husband is really enjoying the verbal commands for the music. We ask it lots of questions. It has trouble recognizing names that might be spelled weird, I think when I said Gerard Depardieu, it heard Dipper Do. Its doesn’t respond well to “what’s” as the beginning of your query, so we are trying to remember to replace it with “define.” If you ask it to “Beam me up” it responds with a cute answer like “aye captain,”, but it didn’t recognize “Captain Kirk.” Maybe if I had designated wikipedia first, it would have.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      While our Venn diagram overlap of what we read might not be that big, my Significant Other is also a big reader. 🙂

      I keep checking: I still can’t buy an Echo from Amazon. There may be another round of invitations this week, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they deliberately hold them back from me and others who write about these topics.

      I’m not even convinced they’ll open the sales up generally before the holidays. They could do something interesting, like a very short sale of them…maybe through WOOT.

      Gee, my name is a bit weird…I wonder if the Echo would recognize Bufo Calvin? It’s pronounced “BOO-foh”, although that might not help it. 😉

      • Zebras Says:


        I think the Venn diagram of me and my husband’s reading material consists of Alan Alda’s biography, no exaggeration, one book!

        The Echo is already changing my lifestyle! I pretty much do one thing before work in the morning…get ready for work. So, to be able to pop my head out of the bedroom and ask it to start reading the flash news briefing, and then say stop when I’m out the door is effortless! Great tool for Jeopardy watching, too. Though it couldn’t define Anagram. We had to actuallly ask it to Wikipedia the word.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Zebras!

        Our reading overlap would be a bit bigger than that! 🙂 I was introduced to Stephanie Plum through my Significant Other and we both have read those. I read a lot more non-fiction, but we both read A Long Way Gone, for example.

        Part of it is that I’m quite flexible in my reading, and I like to be able to talk to my SO about things we have read. So, I fairly often read something just because my SO has read it. I think there is a parallel with our social styles: I love meeting new people at a party or a meeting, my SO has fewer but deeper relationships.

  3. eileen e Says:

    When my husband first broached the possibility of getting me a Kindle, I was hesitant because I love the sensory experience of a book, holding it, turning the pages, even the smell. However, we travel and he gets tired of lugging my books and I was a quick convert.
    I realized how much of one about a week ago when I picked up a trade paperback. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I’d read a p-book. I’ve had wrist surgery and will again in a couple of weeks, now have arthritis in my hands as well. It’s uncomfortable reading that book. Back to my Kindle once I’m done! It really is a blessing!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, eileen!

      I used to generally travel with an extra suitcase just for books…not very convenient.

      Sorry to hear about your hand issues! My Significant Other has had wrist surgery on both wrists (not at once). That’s part of why I think it’s good to get used to the idea of e-books before something makes it harder for you to read p-books (paperbooks). Once you start, you see all the benefits, but I was initially reluctant as well.

      As a geek, though, I strongly believe in contingency planning. 🙂 I wrote this on another blog of mine:

      Yikkee-YaG (YKYAG: You Know You’re a Geek…) #1

      “You know you’re a geek…if, even though you logically know they will never happen, you have detailed contingency plans for what to do in the event of the zombie apocalypse, an attack by Godzilla, or you develop superpowers.”

  4. AndiLynn Says:

    I just had a “get caught up” date with a friend I haven’t seen in months. Out of the blue she blurted how much she dislikes reading physical books now because of reading into and out from the spines, how you have to hold them just so, etc. She said she much prefers her eReader and tablet devices, especially with the built in front lights for today’s eReaders and the standard brightness of tablets–no book lights to hook at weird angles or night stand lights that disturb a bedmate who wants to go to sleep while you want to read. I have the exact same responses myself, so got a nice chuckle.

    My husband, who is the antithesis of a bookworm, loves that books are no longer lying all over the house and there are walls covered with bookshelves.

    I now have over 5,000 eBooks over half of which I bought for free and hundreds for $.99 or $1.99. I can’t imagine having that many physical books on premise 🙂

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, AndiLynn!

      Oh, I think I have about 10,000 p-books (paperbooks) on shelves in our home, so I don’t need to imagine it. 😉 However, we have had friends who have said they would never help us move again, because of all the books.

      With e-books, one of them could just put a Kindle in a pocket. 🙂

      There are a lot of weird things we accepted with p-books, including those War of the Worlds looking booklamps.

      Here’s a humor piece I wrote about that, more than five years ago:

      If e-books were first…

  5. AndiLynn Says:

    Sorry, make that that there are NOT walls covered with bookshelves, but rather family photos instead 🙂

  6. Mark Isero Says:

    Thanks for this post! I loan Kindles to students to promote reading, and many of their teachers say that p-books are the only real way to convey that reading matters — particularly with students who are “coming back to reading” or who don’t identify (yet) as readers. I’m interested in your thoughts!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mark!

      As a trainer, I deal a lot with modifying human behavior. There is no question that, especially in children (although it also affects adults), modeling is important. Children seeing adults reading, or even having a lot of p-books (paperbooks) in a home, are (as I understand it) statistically more likely to become readers.

      However, that’s a case of confusing process with product.

      Right now, the process of showing children that reading matters is to show them p-books. When a parent reads on a tablet or EBR (E-Book Reader), a child in the same room could be hypothetically unaware that that is what is happening…the adult could be playing Candy Crush or doing Facebook.

      The product we want is for them to be interested in books.

      That may require more that the parent or legal guardian engage the child…saying, “I’m going to do some reading,” or even better, “Hop up here and read with with me.” An adult and a child could both read the same book at the same time on two devices, and discuss the book…that would be great with an eight-year old or so. I read all the Animorphs books (in paper) because my kid was reading them.

      Being stuck on the process (and that’s very common) shows…a lack of examination of the real goals.

      Let’s pretend we are in, oh, the 1870s.

      LG1 (Legal Guardian 1): “Dear, why do we have to have horses on the property? Can not they be stabled in town?”
      LG2: “It’s important that our child see the horses on a daily basis.”
      LG1: “Why? Surely, the youngster is well aware that we own horses.”
      LG2: “Yes, but if they don’t see the horses and see us riding them, they won’t be encouraged to ride horses. If they don’t ride horses, how will they get to know the countryfolk and gentry around us? They simply can not get exposure to different points of view without riding horses, which would make them very close-minded. How shall they ever be prepared for the world as envisioned by M. Verne without that sort of experience?”
      LG1: “I see. The horses shall stay.”

      It isn’t exposure to p-books that is important: it is exposure to people reading.

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