The Reading List

by Monica Santi


It is my turn to contribute an article to Pivot’s blog. In looking for inspiration, I turned to my 11 year old son’s “Night Write” journal. His most recent writing prompt was E-books vs. Printed Books.

I am not willing to give up paper for a screen. A perfect Sunday for me starts off with reading the paper in bed while drinking a latte made and delivered by my husband. Inserting a tablet in place of the newsprint would alter the experience.

If you stack the print books I have in my reading queue, it would measure in excess of eight feet tall. The beauty of this is that I only purchased a small number of those books. Most of them were passed on to me by friends and family via informal book exchanges. As a result, over the years I have read many wonderful books that I wouldn’t have read otherwise. For my friends who have switched to ereaders (you know who you are), I forgive you. (Yes, I know you can “loan” ebooks. It isn’t the same.)

Spending a few idle moments in a bookstore is a rare treat. I enjoy looking and touching books—admiring the cover artwork, thumbing through the pages, and reading the reviews and synopses. In my humble opinion, it will be a cold, cruel world when a bookstores become extinct.

I am not completely living in the dark ages. I own a Kindle and have read a total of six books on it. I read those six books last year during a two-week vacation. The trip involved multiple flights, and I didn’t have room to pack that many books in the one suitcase my husband and I shared. I was happy using the Kindle for those two weeks, but it didn’t convert me. It has been a year since I took that trip, and I haven’t picked up the Kindle once. When I travel, I still pack a paperback. I get lots of quality reading time during the takeoff and landing of flights. I’ve had seatmates who comment on the advantage of my print book compared to their iPad. It reminds me of the Huey Lewis and the News song, “It’s Hip to be Square.”

I know that day will come when “older” people like me die out and the “young” ones left will have only ever read content on a screen. At this point, print newspapers and books will be rare commodity. I imagine I will make the transition at some point, but I am going to hold out as long as I can.

And what about my son? He sides with the printed book. His strongest argument is that it is ridiculous to spend $200 on a Kindle and then more to buy books to read on it when you can go to the library and checkout a book for free. Bless his heart, he would croak if he knew how much an iPad costs. Thank goodness he doesn’t yet realize that you can check out ebooks from the library.


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