E-book vs. Print

There are two types of people in the world: those who realize that this world is constantly reinventing itself and are usually capable of recognizing the new directions in which the world is headed, and those who can’t.

There’s this pathological fear that the world is more and more superficial; kids are dumb, the world is too fast and hungry and wants only to be fed information via an usb cable, people aren’t reading, paperbacks aren’t selling, bookstores are closing, and no one seems to read the newspapers anymore. And this is a global fear, it affects people on all continents, and yet…

The novel is not dead. Nor are short stories, or even plays. Why? Simply because there’s still a need, there’s still a demand. But the world is changing, I give you that. And the way people read has changed along the decades in such a subtle way that it requires a lot of attention to notice it. The way stories are told has changed as well; they are much more minimalistic, the style of most writers is terse, stripped naked of all embellishments.

But the novel is not dead, and it will never be. No matter what. And I strenuously believe it, simply because it’s one of our most fundamental of desires: to tell stories, to read them, to hear them, to share them. And there’s magic involved too. Imagine reading a book, imagine the solitude that the act requires, imagine the questions and the answers. And then there’s that certain empathy, the link that an author establishes with his reader. It’s a fascinating process, to be able to see into another person’s mind, to find another human being functioning in a different way than you are, to compare, to absorb ideals and beliefs in such an organic way. The best of books are not read like books. As cheesy as it sounds, they transfigure their medium, they become much more than just words.

And this leads me to my topic. That’s all that matters: words. I really don’t care how people read, whether is on a computer screen or on their cell phones, I care about the fact that people are reading, they are taking pleasure from this act, and the novel isn’t dead nor dying. Indeed, I have to admit that I prefer paper books. I like the touch, the feel, the smell, I like to stay away from a shiny screen for a couple of hours, but in the end, all that matters is the fact that people are reading.

This is how we work. We’re constantly changing, we’re constantly evolving – and evolution is a slow process, sometimes taking place unnoticed. I’m living proof of a new era. I live a few thousand miles away from any of my writer friends, I write in English, and I’m being read mostly in America. And still, I have friends from Palestine, from Kansas, or from Birmingham. This world is fast and hungry, and there are so many writers who are happy to share their stories with other people. There are so many people, from different backgrounds, all interacting with each other, that it would be a shame not to absorb as much of it as possible.

I think these are interesting times we live in. Especially for writers. The level of interaction available in this multi layered, interconnected world is fantastic, and a writer can derive a great deal of inspiration from it all.

And do not worry about the novel. It has survived countless revolutions (even an industrial one,) it has survived wars and plagues, and two world conflagrations that nearly destroyed this Planet. It has survived all sorts of regimes, it has survived oppression and slavery, and it’s still alive and kicking. So do not worry about the novel. It will be around for as long as we’ll be around.


216 thoughts on “E-book vs. Print

  1. I have to say I agree with you that hand-held books will never die. At least I hope so. I mean when I can read a book versus one on the iPad or iPhone it comes down to if I will have to go somewhere and which is easier to carry. But when I'm at home and I want to read a book? There's nothing like having something to snack on next to you, music as background noise and being curled up in your blankets with a real book; especially if it's a new one!

  2. There's been a lot of blogs on this topic, I like your point that it doesn't really matter as long as people are reading. True with music too, who cares if people listen on an iPod, Cd Player, record player, or tape player as long as they are listening.

  3. I agree that it doesn't matter how you read, so long as you do. These days I read most of my books on my iPad through the various apps. It doesn't take away from the experience at all for me. In fact, it has made thing easier because I have a storage shed full of books, along with overflowing shelves in my home. Something had to give and eBooks were my deliverance. Sometimes I get a paperback ARC to review, but other than that I don't read much non-electronic books anymore.

    As for the written word always being around, just think of how many libraries (such as in Alexandria and Baghdad) were burned in ancient history. It might have set the human race back, but it didn't stop progression for long.

    • Great analogy with libraries burning. A lot of history got lost that way. But it's safe to assume that even the electronic format isn't infallible.

      Even though I think I clearly stated my personal preference for the print book in the post, I have to admit that I read mostly on my kindle these days — shipping takes too long and costs too much. If I would have had an opportunity to buy books as they are released, I'd certainly buy paperbacks.

      • Yeah, I want to cry every time I think of what treasures must have been in those libraries before their destruction. If only we had a time machine to grab them right before they went up in flames and bring them to our present time. It wouldn't really be messing with history then, right?

        I do love the convenience of getting my books the very minute they release. Don't even have to get out of bed (since this is usually late at night).

  4. Interesting! I find myself using both print and e-readers, and though I prefer to read in print, I would rather have a novel to read than nothing at all. Nice article.

  5. Great post. It's true- so long as people feel a need for story (and they always will- it's a part of being human) then there will be reading, writing and novels. I think people start putting the cart before the horse by worrying that the decline of paperbacks (the format) threatens the existence of the medium (writing).

    But I'm not sure it's quite right to say it doesn't matter what they read as long as people are reading- surely we ought to be engaging with what we're reading, and reading good stuff as opposed to trashy stuff? It's probably more a matter of good-better-best- it's good to read, but it's better to read well.

  6. There is nothing better than the thrill of finding that special book in a second hand store, sometimes scribbles or bookplates on the inside that give an inkling of history. The slight hiss of dragging a book across a screen to the trash just doesn't seem right.

    Cheers Sue

  7. I adore both. My shelf is overflowing with books I have bought and read. I love laying in bed or on the couch devouring a chapter or two of my newest novel.

    I walk a lot, and listening to music can get sort of boring…enter the audiobook. But they are expensive.

    Thanks to a site I found which has public domain books that can be downloaded for free (librivox.org) I have discovered countless wonderful old books that I never would have had the pleasure to listen to. Plus, if the book's a dud, I've wasted no money and only a little time.

  8. Electronic books have opened up a world of reading to blind people like myself who are unable to read print. Granted there is braille, however only a fraction of print titles ever get transcribed into braille. In adition braille is a very bulky format (my braille edition of the New Oxford Book of English Verse is comprised of 10 volumes and takes up approximately half a shelf on the bookcase in my bedroom). The more expensive version of the Kindle has a text to speech facility which is wonderful as it allows visually impaired people to listen to books on the device. Likewise Apple's Voiceover screen reader enables those with sight difficulties to have books read aloud to them. Having said all that I do love the smell and feel of books and treasure the physical ones which I own. Where I to be fully sighted I'd certainly buy print books as I like being surrounded by books.

  9. Couldn't be more true. I adore the feeling of an actual book, but I love my Nookcolor almost as much. Why? Because I'm a geek who has a passion for words. With my NC, I have an entire world out there just waiting for discovery, some free, some discounted, and some regular price. I am no longer limited by physical space (at least not to the extent with real books). The thought of it now makes me giddy.

  10. This falls under the same mind-set as those who are "gamers" and those who "casually play games" every day. For example: a person who is a fan of World of Warcraft of Call of Duty may spend 2-3 hours every day grinding away to gain better gear and increase their rankings and call themselves a gamer with their gamer friends online. However, there are a certain type of people on Facebook who spend a good amount of time on Cafe World and Farm Town who refuse to be associated with the entitlement since the word "Gamer" usually has negative connotations involving petty theft of undergarments and large intake of italian foods.

    Writing will always be needed in as many forms as there are now – if not more. The transportation system of how people utilize these words is what will change over time.

    Great article!


  11. Interesting point.. makes me feel a bit more optimistic. Although I understand the appeal of electronic readers, I hope I'm already gone if the world decides to get rid of printed books completely!

  12. I'm far more concerned about the effect of 'dumbing down' on writers themselves; after all, like everyone else, they grow up in a media-saturated environment. I see more and more novels that seem to display little depth or insight, as if the nihilism of postmodernism has fully taken root in fiction. It's all very well to say that in the 21st century all meaning is relative but to me the artist's job is just that—to create meaning, to plumb depths most of us never think about, to strike a deep emotional chord in us that exclaims: "Yes!" Minimalist prose, I find, seldom does this.

  13. Give me paper and print anyday!

    But if someone else prefers e-books that's okay. They'd have fewer storage problems than I do.

    And I definitely couldn't carry my whole personal library around with me wherever I go.

  14. I like 'real' books, too, but as you said, there are two types of people. :) Diving into blogging was a real challenge for me, but thankfully, as you mentioned, stories need to be told. (You do that very well, by the way.) Three cheers for reading!

  15. Reblogged this on Sue Wiggins Photography and commented:
    All food for thought, and very apt for me personally at the moment. I feel that I have been spending too much time in front of my computer…and yearn to sit quietly somewhere with an all consuming story and lose myself. I too prefer paper over a screen, in fact with all the modern gadgets now available I can't imagine curling up on my bed with anything else!

  16. I will admit I like both print and e-book. There's something great about curling up with a print book, rolling around to new comfortable positions and being able to read. I don't have an e-reader so all of my e-books are on my computer…not so easy to curl up with ;). However, most of the authors I like to read do not have print copies of their books so I am thankful for both options. I agree with you; the important thing is that people are reading.

  17. I also write in English as a non-native and have my (few) readers in the US but lots of writer friends all over the world.

    I also have a brand new Kindle (well, it's almost one year old, LOL) which is easier to carry around when I travel and easy on the eyes as well. But I still read paper books, and no, they're not going away anytime soon! ;-)

  18. I definitely agree with your article. I admit I'm stuck in the middle: I lament at how everyone's becoming more engrossed with technology but I also believe that books will never be "out of style", though perhaps will be categorised under "old fashioned" depending on the person as time passes. I personally prefer touching a book and smelling the scent of a freshly-cracked novel as opposed to something like an iPad, which feels so impersonal. However, I have to admit that technological devices do make it more convenient.

    • Some people already think that books are old-fashioned. Actually, some might say that reading is old-fashioned. I suppose that what e-books are really doing is make younger people read. I've never thought I'd see a device such as a Kindle or Nook so popular among today's youth. Then again, I never thought vampires could be so popular either.

  19. Thank you for this juicy reminder….'to find another human being functioning in a different way than you are, to compare, to absorb ideals and beliefs in such an organic way.' That really struck me, and reminded me I need to tend to my mountains of unread books. I used to joke that I bought books as though my bookshelf was hungry, because I purchased so many more than I could possibly read. Now the evidence is less obvious as they merely 'stack up' on my kindle…pros and cons of both, but the delicious feeling of unread books remains regardless of source!

    • I do the exact same thing. I make this very long lists of books and then buy them. More and more, and recently I've even been downloading the free Kindle titles that seem to be good. Nothing good will ever come out of this, I'm sure.

      I used to read a lot when I was a kid, about 100+ books a year, now I just collect them — it's nice to have all these wonderful covers on my Kindle. :))

  20. The good thing about e-readers is that because they are electronic gadgets, they have caught the attention of the younger population, and where reading was being replaced by TV and videos, it is now "cool" to read again.

  21. "And this leads me to my topic. That’s all that matters: words. I really don’t care how people read, whether is on a computer screen or on their cell phones, I care about the fact that people are reading, they are taking pleasure from this act, and the novel isn’t dead nor dying. Indeed, I have to admit that I prefer paper books. I like the touch, the feel, the smell, I like to stay away from a shiny screen for a couple of hours, but in the end, all that matters is the fact that people are reading."

    I could not have said it better. I like paper books too, although I did just get myself a fancy new Kindle Touch, mainly because I want access to the Harry Potter books in different languages through the Kindle Lending Library. But it's not the same and never will be. I love the smell of a book and the feel of the paper. I was raised in a house of books. Books, books everywhere. In stacks, ready to fall, on shelves from floor to celing. But you're right, as long as people are READING, it's all that matters. XOXO

  22. the written word has been around since acient days and will still be . for one has their own method now a days of readiing print or electronic what ever works for the person for after all nothing beats a good story no matter how its delievered by print or by electronic means like a kindle or ipad

  23. I have to agree….we will continue to read, no matter the medium! The ereader has advantages, but there is still something nice about holding the paper version in your hands, flipping through the pages, and being lost in the words or images….great post…I enjoyed reading.

  24. E books are great, I'm publishing one myself, but nothing beats paper for reading in the bath or when you've forgotten your charger. :) Nice post.

  25. Indeed, Cristian, fiction will endure, but is it not interesting that creative and enjoyable writing is rare? I submit that this is not simply a case of the demand skimming the cream of the supply, as one might surmise, but rather that good creative writing is a form of genius. A case in point is Ray Bradbury who died Tuesday. His was a style and perspicacity that derived from lonely self-education in libraries and yet was immensely popular and enduring.

    The first popular book of fiction was Robinson Crusoe, a work inspired by a real event. It is still eminently readable today because it is more than mere word mechanics, it speaks to the human condition and its vulnerabilities and is therefore timeless.

    As for paper versus e-books, I agree that the skeleton is secondary to the meat, and if e-media make the product more accessible, great. I enjoy my iPad but feel subtle misgivings about the impermanence of the form. It could all vanish in one electronic pop, I suppose? But then, if that did happen we would be more concerned with catching up with our next meal than with Huckleberry Finn, eh?

    • Thank you for this great post. It makes me understand clearly why I set up a blog in the first place. And yes, you're right. Great writing is rare, but it's not a symptom of this age, it has been so from the beginning. Shakespeare wasn't the most popular play-writer during his life, Stendhal had three people present at his funeral, Fitzgerald died mostly forgotten by critics and readers alike, Gauguin died penniless, Van Gogh sold just one painting during his life, and many more examples.

      Great writing has never been tremendously popular. Literary fiction, as a genre, is mostly composed of writers who aren't that well known. But there's this sense of irony; books that enjoy great commercial success often get discarded by the next generation whereas great books are, like you said, timeless.

      • No offense intended, Cristian, but it can be risky to generalize. Robinson Crusoe was a Western sensation from the beginning. Then consider Charles Dickens, Isaac Asimov, Agatha Christie and Mark Twain, all with immense, steady output and perennially popular.

  26. This blog is so now..

    To be honest though, I don't think the world has changed speed. Because if you read diaries from people 100 years ago or even as close as the 70's while print was the in thing, they will still say the same "the world is a terrible place and everything goes too fast." So there is no change there. The printed word doesn't have a shelf life like the VCR or the DVD player, in years to come old books will still be fetching more money than a VCR machine. Because books have a special quality, a tree had to be felled to make that book and no matter how 'recycled' or 'made from a sustainable forest' it is, the fact of the matter is, you should appreciate it, over a whole pile of pixels and RAM, yes a Kindle cost you $110, but a tree died for you to read and smell the latest Stephanie Meyer offering.

    My rant is over now. Great blog *thumbs up*

    • I think that I am guilty of fearing that people are not reading any more and yet I have just starting writing in the last four years. Your blog was reassuring. Thanks.

  27. I SO agree with you! I love my Kindle. I love NOT having to haul a trunk full of books with me when I go on vacation and not having to find someplace in my overstuffed bookcase to put another book. I still buy some printed books — mostly reference books and first editions by authors I especially love. Otherwise? I am absolutely thrilled to be able to read more and store less! I also listen to a lot of audiobooks … I often listen an an audiobook while I do other more mindless chores on the computer, but at night, tucked into my bed, I turn on my Kindle, pop up the built-into-the-cover reading light, and life is good! Keep writing and I shall keep reading!

  28. A great post about fiction surviving. Stories from fiction have survived through a great deal, and how we consume them has evolved with technology: radio, TV, movies, audiobooks, e-books. I think these various formats can actually enrich stories in different ways. I've enjoyed audiobooks on long road trips, and I've enjoyed movies based on books. And I still cherish sitting down with a book made of paper and being absorbed in its world. Thanks for this post!

  29. There will always be books. There may be different ways to read them, but there will always be a story to read. The world would be a very dull place and people would be empty shells if stories weren't available to spark our imagination.

  30. I love books. Great points and I agree with your view the future of the novel. I do like the future with e-books as well, the kind with links and photos and imbedded video. They bring a dynamic, particularly to non fiction and educational works, that I find very exciting.

  31. I like the feel of books as well. I like to flip the pages and re-read a line if I want. I like to skip to the next chapter if I want. I like stacking them. I like the covers. We need books!
    By the way, thank you so much for visiting my blog :)

  32. This post was fascinating! I agree that both formats – and even audio books- have their attractions. My personal preference is for the experience of a physical book, and the sensory experience of prowling an old bookshop. On the other hand I buy most of my books from Amazon, and use my kindle to work my way through some of the free books, some of the books from the Gutenberg Project and some bought E-books which can be cheaper than their physical counterparts (which means I get more books to my pound).

    I have overflowing bookshelves at home, and look forward to making them – and their soon to be added supplements – overflow even more. I love to collect and read books, but I can't bring myself to get rid of them! My children and grandchildren read, encouraged by their parents and grandparents. Whether the words are written in ink, or electronic characters or sounds story telling has been going on as long as people and will, as you said, continue to go on in one form or another for years to come.

    Thanks for sharing this detailed and thoughtful post.

    And yes, we need books.

  33. Reblogged this on scrawlspace and commented:
    I had been thinking about posting on this subject, I like both. I found this post and it says everything that needs to be said really. Well, I'm sure lots of people will add more to the original, they already have. But you know what I mean…

  34. As long as there is consciousness there will be thoughts that will become words that will be woven into the fabric of a story of some kind. The presentation and ingestion will always be evolving.

  35. Back in old Rome, they were complaining about the younger generation (given the history of Rome, they probably had a point!) … but somehow, the world hangs on in there and civilization does survive. Perhaps it's a bumpy road but hey, what road is smooth? I love technology … I guess I was a geek before they invented the word … and I know more about it than my granddaughter's generation because I watched it grow and participated in its birth and development while young people take it for granted … like electricity. They don't need to understand it. It's just THERE to be used. For what it's worth, most of the people my age … senior citizens … are VERY fond of our computers and Kindles and cell phones and Ipads … no less than any kid. We just don't talk about it so much … and we still actually talk to each other in words, not text code and sometimes, even in person! I'm thrilled that I don't have to keep finding places for all those books! Thanks for a fine posting!

  36. Love this! It's so true- who cares what you're reading on as long as you're reading? I am so inspired by this quote: "they transfigure their medium, they become much more than just words."

  37. Pingback: Nodds & Nends | Absurdly Nerdly

  38. Great post. Ebooks have opened up new authors and even new genres to me. The ability to try books on my kindle for a small amount of money or even for free has opened my eyes to the wealth of written works available that I never would have discovered in a high street book shop.

  39. I totally agree. There is no need for us to worry about the novel or any piece of literary/journalistic writing, for that matter. Since prehistory, mankind had fed on stories–our ability to create and share them is what makes us endure. The medium may have changed, but we definitely don't need to worry because stories will stay as long as there are people who wants to read and listen to them. Thanks a lot for this post!

  40. Good writing is good reading. But no matter what the format, if it's good stuff people will try their best to preserve it, even if they have to resort to passing it down orally, which is how good stories were told in the beginning! :)

  41. This subject has been debated quite a bit on much deeper levels but I quite agree that it's the actual reading which makes the difference. The quality that the reader receives is up to the writer and the publisher. Writing exclusively on a blog eliminates the need for a publisher so it is print publishers who are the most threatened even if they concede to also allow their print publications to be available in e format. I wish all this would raise the bar on the quality which is put forth and I see a bleak future ahead. What the world needs most now are good and conscientious editors.

  42. I'm sure there will always be novels. But for as long as I'm around I'll be promoting good ol' paper books. I worked all my life in printing and publishing and can't let the medium go. I love books and have always had lots of books, as has everyone in my family. At every opportunity I give my grandchildren the most beautiful, appropriate hardbound books I can find. I want them to learn to love them before they disappear. (Fortunately both love reading, so that's half the battle.)

  43. Some great insights. I myself find Kindle and iPad not tactile enough to read from. I need the smell and touch of a book. It also worries me that Kindle is called what it is…is it a comment on what all paperbacks will eventually be?

  44. Wonderful post. I too prefer paper books. They seem to be alive. And it's a pleasure to hold a book and rustle its pages.

  45. Thank you for this post; very true. I have been working with this entire subject for a few years. It is coming more prevalent in education where students would rather have a printed text vs. the E-Book no matter what the difference in cost may be. Like many others, I still have printed texts and books (personal library) from over the years. But then again, I enjoy reading on my technology. We are all very lucky; we have the choice to choose. Please keep writing about the subject!

  46. Great post. I just dont have the time to curl up and read a paper book anymore. So I'm left with all my eBooks which I load onto my laptop which goes with me all the time. So between meetings and working I can snatch a few minutes of reading which would otherwise have been lost to me.

  47. Terrific post! I love paper books, but the pure ease (and instant gratification) of buying an ebook, and carrying multiple books with you without bulk, overrules. I still read "real" books occasionally (someone gives it to me, etc). But even reading during an elliptical or cycling workout is easier on my Kindle – no pages to turn and the book stays flat where I put it!

  48. How apropos! Just yesterday I sat on the streetcar, my baby sleeping against my chest in my carrier and me cracking open my novel to grab a few minutes of reading. I was sitting beside a woman reading on a Kobe reader — fantastic, read away! — but I had a moment of total satisfaction that I had a big heavy brick of a book in my hands, however unwieldy over a baby. Because I love the weight of it, the smell of the paper, the chunk of the spine, the fffffffft of the flip, the possibility of paper cuts. I am definitely a paper girl.

  49. Last August I moved from my friends basement to an apartment in the city. During this time period a hurricane came through the area which lead to the basement I used to live in being flooded, a basement that still contained my books. All of them. It is a memory that causes me pain to this day. However, I had both of my e-readers still with me so part of my library survived. While I have purchased a few new books since then I have gotten great enjoyment borrowing books for my e-reader. The library sends me an e-mail, I go online and download the book. I no longer have to worry about getting to the library when its open to get the book. It is great fun. I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here. I guess that I am moving away from paper books to e-books because I prefer e-books and I hate that people don't consider them 'real' books. It is very hard for me to read a paper book on the subway, with my Kobo I can turn it on and not have to turn pages, when I have to change trains I can carry it, I don't have to worry that I'm going to close it and lose my spot, I can enlarge the font so I don't have to get out my reading glasses, and then lose THEM. It fits in my purse, no matter how big the book I'm reading is, on the Kobo it always fits in my purse.

  50. In this age of computers, ipad, iphones, and e-books, I still would love to settle with a paperback novel at hand. Yes, the solitude required in the said activity is priceless. Nothing beats the smell of the paper as your turn every page and nothing can equal how reading a hand-held paper back book and drinking a cup of coffee or tea makes my day. :)

    Thanks for sharing. <3

  51. I agree that the important thing is that people read. I grew up in a world that only had books, no e-books, and I love books. When I go into a home and don't see books anywhere, I have to admit I wonder a little about the people who live there. :-) My husband got me a Kindle a few years ago and I love it for the number of books I can have on it and especially that I can carry those thousands of books with me anywhere quite easily, invaluable for traveling or so I can have something to read while waiting in a line or for an appointment. As thesingernurse says above, the smell of a book is wonderful…and enhanced by the smell of tea. :-) I do use my Kindle at home, but there I generally read "real" books and I use the library copiously!! Libraries are a treasure!

  52. Very nice article. II, too, prefer a printed book. However, ebooks have their advantages. I like being able to enlarge the print, since my eyes are bad. When you read as much as I do, the price is right, also. There is room for both.

  53. There are so many posts and articles on this topic! Yet, this is one is so positive. I also believe that books -novels, plays, poems, stories will never die because there will always be ppl who will still want to read them whether the paperback or ebook. Moreover, i think ebooks are more of a rage in developed countries. In India, it is still not that widely spread.

  54. I think we'll find that both paper books and ebooks will have their place. I just bought a paper book yesterday on cinematography and I'd never buy a book like this as an ebook. It has be to held, admired and enjoyed for the tactile experience and the enjoyment of looking at the photos. But I just bought several ebooks, one on the history of bikes and another on how to go paperless in your work/home and I like the ease of buying and reading. Some mags and journals I subscribe to, I only have the e-version because they don't take up more space (on my already full shelves) and I have the full collection together on my iPad. Horses for courses.

  55. I love nothing better than a new, crisp book in my hands.I love not only the feel, but the smell. However, a disability has hampered my ability to hold a book for long, Thanks to my kindle and ipod I can continue reading, turning pages with the flip of a finger. If given a choice, I will hold a paper book, but I am grateful for ebooks so I can keep reading!

  56. 'writing stripped naked' – never a truer word was said about modern writers.

    When discussing 'modern writing' I usually point people at 'CSI – Miami' (my friends shrink back – quell horreur! Not ze dreaded sunglasses on and off man?).

    But if you look at the storylines and the way the action moves? There are some amazing writers behind that.

    As well as throwing my laptop against walls (my usual writing technique) I watch lots of old movies. I love them. But CSI – Miami has got 10 of those movies in every episode. Storylines crossing each other, jump-cuts to scenes, previewed dialogue (the person starts speaking before the last scene has finished) and when the story is about to sag? The babes in bikinis and guys in tight t-shirts are thrown on the screen. Awesome.

    As you say 'writing stripped naked' – and there is no going back. There is a place for slow, thoughtful novels (and if anyone out there knows what 'On Chesil Beach' was about? Do let me know) but not in my world. i like writing that's leaner than Humpty Gocart's* jawline.

    Mmm? Maybe i'll hold on my rewrite and keep the book as lean as it is. I just need to get my principal character to look sideways when he takes his sunglasses off. (He won't of course, he's is so, like, bloody minded!)

    *That's Humphrey Bogart for people who don't come from Glasgow.

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  58. When it comes to books I like to hold it and feel the pages turn, I am a guy who fancies the technologies and I do get most of my news on the web, but reading is another experience, one that should only be felt in our hands.

  59. Excellent post. I used to be a paper fan, but once I got my Kindle I went nuts and started reading more and more. I love having my library in my hands. I love the act of clicking as you read, I love being able to adjust the font size, I love gatting so many books for free. I reblogged this tonight. Glad to have found you. Thanks for reading my post about Bella.

  60. I agree that the more things change, the more they stay the same, so yes, people are reading — it's just that today, there are more choices of media in which to do it. I am in the process of writing a book, so your article is timely – thanks!

  61. There will always be a need for art. Not that some people won't go through life oblivious to that fact, because they will. Some people won't get it. But art will find a way to get to the people. The vehicle may change but the impulse will be the same – to communicate a feeling, experience, thought, or just what it means to be human.

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  63. Just a side note…just had a conversation about print vs ebook …on photo books. The images would only be as good as the resolution of the device you have. No ebook for this photographer ..

  64. I just like reading and re-reading all this glorious stuff about the tactile vs. the electronic mediums/print vs. kindle has fired so much controversy it's just burning down the cyberlibraries…certainly, sitting with coffee of Coke Zero and reading this … tonight being the segue to the weekend was a strange time in that I broke the rules and stayed up for quite a while … I was sitting here reading these great posts, and my headphones _suddenly_ clicked into full stereo after being in mono. It was very strange, I thought, how insidious technology is that you can wear "stereo" headphones or listen to a radio signal that suddenly changes due to airwaves or user abuse or economics or lack of same…this question, though, about the two mediums, just imagine what our grandchildren will be doing and discussing in their lives fifty or so years in the future – what will their worries be? I hope their worries won't be war-ry ful. Hopefully, all the good books will get saved somewhere when Raymond Kurzwiell decides he shouldn't die and CPUs are the size of a corpuscle … When I saw that scientist in Kurzwiell's documentary with the chips in his arm I just realized what a grand mess that line of null-thinking is.

  65. I think facebook is changing the way we relate to each other, and a generation is growing up who communicate mostly in short, sharp bursts. That's why I made my blog the way it is. Glad to hear you think the novel isn't dead, but it's just as well to have a Plan B!

  66. Your views inspire confidence. I agree. It is the story being told that matters. As long as that can capture the imagination of readers, the medium should matter less to a writer.

  67. When you have a passion for writing, it doesn't matter if you're writing for books, magazines, e-zines, Kindles, or just writing in your own diary which you will request burned upon your death. The passion for the process is all you need.

  68. I love the idea of having bookshelves with physical books that I've read or plan to read. To me it's the best decoration for a room. But now I'm a full time traveler so my books are stored in different places. Some get lost. I typically carry a physical novel and then swap it or give it away. Drifting and blogging is a priority over having a bookshelf right now :-). Lately, I've found myself reading more articles online than my novel. I feel the desire to balance that ratio out a little.

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  71. I agree, as long as you read everything is fine, no matter if its digital or in paper you still acquire some knowledge and still improve.
    By my side I prefer digital reading.

  72. Love this post. Completely agree with you, the way we read may be changing but there's magic involved nevertheless. Thanks for stopping by and liking my latest post!

  73. I have to agree. I worry about the printed word going by the wayside, but I also enjoy my kindle reader. But to show how much the books will remain, this morning when I went to look at the kindle, it said the battery had to be recharged. You will NEVER see a book ask for that! I enjoyed your article very much. Thank you!

  74. The printed word is more than just the written word. The whole experience of reading – the feel of paper, the graphics on the cover, the difference between matt and gloss lamination, the very smell of a new book or even the browned yellowed brittle pages of old books – that brings it to life for me far more than an e-book ever could.

  75. Great post as usual Cristian. Until recently I would have agreed with you about preferring paper books, and I still do when I'm sitting at home. And a computer screen or iPad would never have changed that – too many distractions and tiring to read. The Kindle changed things; mine (the simple one – I don't want a 'touch screen', clicking the button isn't far from turning the page) goes with me everywhere and since having it I've read at least twice as much. Recently I re-read 'The Grapes of Wrath', the book that probably had the greatest effect on me ever at 16 or 17; this time, over 50 years later, on the Kindle it had just the same effect – want to go to a G20 summit and grab people by the throat! I still read the newspaper (only at the weekend) on paper but, for example, my blind colleague loves the fact that her Kindle will read the newspaper to her – robot voice and all.

  76. I too like the fact that people are reading–to some extent regardless of where and what, but there are solid truths in the old observation, "The medium is the message." Personally, I prefer paper… but that is also a reflection of a long life with it.

    We should perhaps worry more about the death of critical thinking than the death of books made of paper. Critical thinking is not about negativity–it is about embracing technology (or not) based on weighing the balance. Technology will change us to the extent we allow. Attention spans are diminishing. Decision-making is affected by "sound bites" and "mass media" is becoming what FaceBook users post–truth or fallacy. Words certainly have the power to change… and how those words are delivered will be part of the formula.

  77. Hi Cristian, love the way you wrote this. Love the way you write. And I totally agree with you on this one! I'll be following you and learning from you. Hopefully, you from me too :) Thank you.

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  79. I love your comments about storytelling. It is in fact the way by which we were educated prior to the invention of the printing press which quite simple opened the door to the written word for everyone. The printing press really is one of the, if not the most influencial inventions of our time. It changed how we educate ourselves, it changed how we work in this world. It changed pretty much everything. How we tell a story and the media by which it told is always evolving, always changing shape but it will never go out of style.

  80. Interesting post! Personally, I prefer real books that I can feel and smell. Who doesn't love the smell of old books? It might be old-fashioned, but writing is always current. What is considered great writing might not be popular at the moment, but it will eventually be recognized. I never thought everyone would be reading books online, but then again, I never though Stephanie Meyer would be setting the tone for the literary world. I'm convinced that really great and profound writing exists, we just have to find it. And now, we have more places to look–the library or our computers.

  81. I prefer print books and have well over a hundred on my shelves, but I also have an e-reader. For me, the e-reader is there to have books or issues of magazines I can't get in print and for my favourites so I can take it away and have an entire bookshelf with me other than the print books in my bag – a large choice. It also depends on if the book I am reading is one of my print or e-books as to how much of each I use. Whilst there are some books I abhor and cannot fathom reading myself, at least people are reading when they read them in whatever medium. E-readers are easier than computer screens for me – for years at school we had our texts on the computer – really badly done too as they were around the first generation of cd rom textbooks – and its why I resisted for so long in getting an e-reader. But I love my Kindle and love being able to just look up a word in any book on the dictionary – I now have a portable dictionary too!

  82. What a fresh and positive point of view! I, too, embrace change while enjoying and longing for things to stay the same long enough for me to remember my passwords and user names! I am a novelist, a poet, a grandmother, a wife, a mother, a painter and a child of God in a time where that is not the norm! I love my life and I pray for the right path to follow for each day! I look forward to reading more of your posts! Jerri

  83. I absolutely love this post!!! I am one of those people who love paperback books. I love the smell of new books and the sound of old books when you open that. You can't get that with an E-book. In fact I don't think an E-book is a book at all! :)

  84. When ereaders were few and far between I told many of my coworkers (I work in a bookstore) that they would become huge, they didn't believe me.

    I also said that books would always be around but what would happen is that it would be like when books first started being printed. Those that make it to print will be works of art again. Beautiful covers, thick paper, books meant to be collected and cherished.

    I have no fear that novels will disappear. Whether minstrels of old, Hollywood movies or friends at a coffee shop chatting we all need to share they stories we've read or heard.

    Reading may be a solitary act but it is a social experience and when you start talking about the great book you've just read no one asks if you read it in print or on an ereader.

  85. Although it's never been proven, Colonel William Travis, co commander of the volunteer militia defending the Alamo, drew a line in the sand during the final hours of the conflict.

    He said if any man wanted to leave he should step forward and cross the line. None of the volunteers crossed.

    The media Travis used was crude, a saber and the earth. The meaning became immortal.

  86. I'm impressed. Why? If your native language isn't even English, and you can communicate so well in English (much better than I and most Americans), I would love to be able to read something written in your native language.

    • Well, this is probably the funny thing. I was never a brilliant writer in Romanian. Yeah, I won a National Competition once and several other, regional awards, but that was it.

      I'm the product of the Internet. And this media age. I've been exposed to English as a language since I was 4. Movies, TV shows, music, and later on, books. In the past three years or so, I've done all my reading in English. I study American Studies at College here, so all my seminars and classes are in English as well. I write in English, I read in English.

      I suppose I'm bilingual.

  87. What a unique view on this topic. It does seem as though there is a notion that e-readers and the internet will squelch the public's interest in reading novels. I think you are right though – it won't. People will always have an appetite for good storytelling. Case in point – every podcast I listen to advertises Audible enticing people to download – well – audio books to their MP3 player which is this generation's books on tape. So whether people are reading novels or listening to them on their iPods, people will still want novels.

    Great post.

  88. Great words! I'm a publisher, and it's not always easy to convince authors, EICs, or editorial boards to understand and accept what you've stated so clearly here: it's become all about choices and options and control for readers. Nice.

  89. I am a producer of e-books – the point for me is that they are a different medium with different possibilities. They allow me, for example, to add short video, graphic design in full colour and even a certain amount of interactivity. I love print but I also love the e-book, for different reasons.

  90. I am with you with my desire to see people reading.

    I am agnostic about what form their reading is published in. I read my Kindle in my bath – very carefully – but can still get absorbed in a good story. My bath water went cold last night but I just had to finish 'The gift of rain' by Tan Twan Eng.

    A concern I have is that the major bookselling behemoths seem to be undermining the smaller seller. They do this both by cutting prices and by making available e-book versions in formats that are restricted in some commercial way. My concern is that there may come a time when competition substantially has left the field then what will prices do? But more importantly, what filters might then be placed on what is published?

    For example, in my recent blog (Commune with the Experts) I referred to work by Idris Shah. Amazon have a small proportion of his work available, interestingly more in Russian translation than English. Does this mean that the other titles are beyond reach? Not yet perhaps but you would have to go to some specialist suppliers to get hold of them.

  91. I so loved this post–said much better than I ever could. I am kind of a "both" person. I have a Kindle Fire, but I also go to the library for "real" books. The world may be changing, but you have to adapt to it or become fossilized. I can say that because I'm 62 :) It distresses me when people of my generation throw their hands up in the air.about technology. And a library book is no more real than a book on the Kindle. A book is a book, with the same astonishing ideas, regardless of how it's delivered.

  92. I totally agree!

    I have a kindle and read more than ever since having it I love it, but so many people seem to hate e-readers, I think they are a positive thing and are encouraging more people to read.

  93. I was given a Kindle about two weeks ago and it has changed me. Thanks to Gutenberg and Amazon I already have over a hundred free books plus the one that I purchased … in my jacket pocket.

    Anywhere at anytime, instant on-call library; and so easy to read. Ruefully I contemplate my shelves bulging with 'dinosaur' (paper~!) books and have only one fear, that I may break or lose my already indispensable e-reader.

  94. I gotta agree. Reading is reading, no matter how one manages to do so. I have noticed that since I brought an iPad, I have actually been reading more–not less. I have purchased books for my various readers (Kobo, Kindle, etc) and transferred other media to is, so that I can read whenever I get a spare moment.

    I still read traditional, paper books, though not as often.

  95. Great post. I bought a Nook and enjoy reading with it, more than with backlit devices although in a pinch having a book on my iPhone in my pocket is comforting. I find the e-readers are actually easier on my eyes than reading from a printed page cause the type is crisper and can be enlarged. I agree though….JUST READ. I was a voracious reader as a kid. I see more kids playing video games than reading today and that saddens me.

  96. I completely agree with preferring an actual book in my hands than reading from an electronic device. There's something about turning the pages and being able to see my progress vs. the whole when I insert the bookmark that makes it more fulfilling to me.

    You'll get no argument from me that all forms are reading are good, though!

  97. Great post! My preference for reading is still to curl up some place warm, dry and comfortable with a good book (the old-fashioned kind) but when I travel and have tight space and weight restrictions, I can load my Simple Nook up with all the reading I need…I don't typically have power restrictions when travelling but where I have, it's a case of improvise, adapt and overcome. One trip I ended up with only one book for six weeks with no opportunity to trade or otherwise get any more – lost count of the number of times I read the Star Trek novel Vulcan;s Glory over those six weeks! But I survived…

    I do like the accessibility of e-books especially in not having to wait weeks for an order to be delivered from overseas (Amazon, B&N etc) and also the fact that e-publishing is encouraging more and more potential authors to have a crack and authoring and to stress less about the act of getting published – now you CAN just do it yourself. Of course, self-publishing comes with its own risks starting with needing to grasp the concept of proof-reading and ranging to the risk of having your pride and joy ripped off because you didn't know who to protect your literary rights…

    But yes, the time are a-changin' and I'm glad that I'm long for the ride…

  98. I agree. Digital books exist as a matter of convenience. Digital books makes traveling with many texts easier, and it helps those who want/need larger fonts without having to find large-text editions, and it avoids clutter for those with little shelf space to store physical books, but it doesn't actually make the reading experience any better. It's just different. I'll always prefer paper books, but I'll also read digital texts when I need the conveniences mentioned.

  99. Excellent post. I agree. Words are the important thing. Stories did not start on paper. They started with one guy looking at another and saying "You know, there was this one time when…." Or something like that.

    The point is, stories have been around for pretty much as long as we have and will continue to exist in one form or another as long as people communicate. E-books are just another way to share the words.

    I personally prefer the weight and the feel of a paper book in my hands. It allows me to come to the end a book and put it down instead of going on to the next one. The first time I used an e-reader I read seven books in one sitting.

  100. I agree with you and your readers. The more variety of ways that we have to read, the better. I love my Kindle, but I have the books on my phone as well, which is great when I'm waiting and bored. I have more paper books than I can ever read, and I keep buying more. I love to be able to write in them, so I like to buy professional books in print. I also like them to show when I make a presentation. It doesn't make the same impact when you recommend an author, and you hold up your Kindle as it does when you hold up a print version of the author's book. Thanks again for your great blog.

  101. I'm a writer in love with words. And I don't care how folks read them–whether on a billboard or in an e-book.

  102. True, this!

    I cannot even count the number of times I have talked about, read about, written about, and responded to the "e-book versus print" concept. And my stance, always, always always, is that it's not a "versus" idea at all. We need not choose!

    There are times when printed books are the cat's meow, like the scent and feel you mention, and when they are essential, like when having an author sign one or when cherishing a significant or antique volume.

    Other times, the fact that e-readers exist and books are available electronically is just the awesomest thing in the world: when traveling and able to take lots of books along, when your cat or dog is curled up on one arm while you read and you can turn pages with the touch of a button, and when the urge hits you to read something (or you have to read it quickly) and you can have it instantaneously on your device.

    And sometimes you want both — I recently had the privilege of having the one-and-only Stephen King sign a copy of a book for me, and I want to preserve that volume forever! But I also wanted to read it — so out came the e-reader, and I didn't have to sully the pages of the autographed printed book.

    Ah, the choices in life are fabulous.

    (The only point that confused me is that you seem to use the word "novel" to mean "printed book," while novels are a genre that do appear in e-book versions … hmm, just confused.)

  103. Beautifully and well put! Language and words will remain (largely) immutable, only the mechanisms by which they are shared change with technology.

  104. Agreed. When people go on about a post-literate age, I point out that we are writing FAR more than we used to: emails, texts, and yes, blogs. And so also reading more …

  105. Writers are driven to write, and they must read. Readers must be enticed to read, but reading requires as much dedication as does writing.

    The media is changing for the writer as well. I write on-line daily as a blogger, regularly as a columnist (2,500 published columns) and occasionally as an author — but I put my books on-line, free, because I love writing and detest the writing market of book publishing.

    (I have a friend who has worked a decade on his book, and nearly as long with his agent, editor and publisher, and it is still not in print!. I do not have that patience.)

    "Create Space" a self-publishing outfit owned by Amazon.com will make this considerably easier for writers. You can buy writer needs a la carte (Cover design, illustration, editing, etc.) and then print on demand, or go audio or Kindle. I have no experience with the new publishing methods, but it seems very promising.

    Opening up new routes for writers is as important in the changing world as the new media for readers.

  106. Cristian, you made a great point about novels. They are essential for the society. They contain imagination, hope, illusion and descriptions of different lives and worlds. How could society survive without the creative narration presented in those books?

    The format in which they are read, are not as important as the content. Yet it might influence the perception of the reader. As we have seen in your comment's section, many people prefer to hold a book, because of its feelings and smell. However, the electronic format makes it much more portable and easy to store. In the end, the decision is in the reader's hand.

  107. I find the only problem with books is when you go to a book store (if you can fine them) they don't have a deep catalog. If you don't mail away for them, you're not going to get them. With the Ebooks, you can just download them.

    I would rather hold a book in my hand then one of those Ereaders.

  108. Finally someone who isn't so frightened of change that the advent of the ebook is a spiral of doom! That said, like others I certainly have a fondness for the smell and feel of pages, and physical books are still my preference. Sometimes it's just the sight of my old friends on the bookshelf that inspires me to reread my favourites.

    However, ebook has given some authors the ability to publish stories that otherwise might stay at the bottom of an publication pile for years and years. Sherwood Smith, just for an example (and because I love her writing) has several phenomenal stories only availbale in electronic format. Ebooks have also allowed the old classics to become widely available through the Gutenberg project (download these books for free). The number of novels is ever increasing… can't imagine satisfying my desire to own the old as well as the new on my budget ;).


  109. Hi Cristian, I'm interested in your comment about the majority of modern writers producing terse language. As a writer myself I find myself averse to verbosity so, certainly, I would fall into this category but I wondered if you have a longing for modern writers to be more wordy? I personally find that reading more literary works gives me a headache, rather than relaxes but that is just my personal taste.

    • Could it be that most readers today have been 'dumbed down' a wee bit and lack the tools to enjoy the writings of people with greater command of language?

      Or perhaps they're in a hurry and don't have time to think—there's a lot to be said for the 'Executive Summary' (thanks to television the sound-bite rules supreme).

      And verbiage for the sake of displaying words is rarely a good idea. It may boost the self-esteem of the scribe but blows away the perceptive—where would great art be without full expression? Can you imagine Tennyson's "Idylls of the King" written by a modern in modern style for modern folks? Yuk.

      As for Shakespeare: "Words, words, words" … I hated it as a kid but grew to love it as my grip on the language and human nature (both) grew.

      Where would we be without words? But the right words in the right place at the write time.

  110. That comment surprised me too – my perception is that modern writers are producing more wordy products when I compare contemporary new releases with those from maybe forty or fifty years ago where a novel might be 2-300 pages against the more typical 6-700 today. The other thing thta I think contributes to more verbose writing now is the ease with which anyone can self-publish without the perceived overhead or constraints of an editorial/review team that polishes the product before publication. I find a lot of self-published books are wordy and woffly..

    • The gatekeepers are down and the floodgates opened now that anyone can self-publish for free on the web.

      In the past a book was almost as much the House as the Author, these days the author can do it all himself. And it shows, as you said, in lack of polish.

      The good will rise to the top as the market itself sorts out the dross but we are in for a bumpy (and very crowded) ride until then.

  111. I do not own an electronic book option and still love the book in my hand to read. AND being an interior designer, a book cover and collections of topics give me great insight into the "homeowner and their interests" as well as make awesome accessorizing tools! I LOVE BOOKS too, for reading and for inspiration!

  112. I have books….books published before 1890, books released last week. I have books on shelves and books in my kindle. I like reading from a print book, I like reading from the kindle. I love books and love reading. I love being able to take 1000 books around with me in something the size of a slim paperback. I used to have 15 books at a time stacked on my bedside table as my husband said I was doing, what he called, a booksuck. As long as I can read, I am happy. When we lost power for several days, I was able to use the book light on my kindle cover to read at night. Whether we are spare and minimalist, embellished and verbose, mediocre or resplendent in our talents, as long as we are creative, we will be alive in the best sense of the word. As long as we can read and have our own personal movie of the words playing in our heads, we never be braindead. A day without a read is a like a day without oxygen. Keep writing so I (we) can keep reading. I have traveled the world hundreds of times, sat in amazing places and gotten to know amazing people. I read everything I can. I feel the voices need to be heard. If I don't agree, I don't have to read the book again. I can put it down or give it away. I do not let myself be frightened because I am afraid my universe will be disturbed if I read something that is outside my "norm". Open your brains and let the words dance through – electronic or ink, they still dance.

  113. This is a great thoughtful post, I'm glad I read it. I love my kindle, as many have said it's great for travelling and takes up so little space – I have a house full of books too and never enough shelves to store them. What I find is that reading on kindle is great for novels where you start at the beginning and go on to the end, but if I'm reading a book on history or science, where you need to refer to notes or maps and illustrations, then print still wins out. Of course you can do all these things via technology, but it's so much easier still to flip back and forth from one page to another, and the maps on kindle are rubbish. (Maybe the newer versions are better?)

    As you say, it's the words – the information and the art – that matters, wherever you find them, parchment, vellum, paper or digital.

  114. I agree with you: Words. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

    That quote of course comes from my New King James bible (John 1:1) which was an offshoot of Tyndale's original bible translation in 1525. Tyndale's translation took advantage of Johannes Gutenberg's 1440 printing press. Until then, the masses were illiterate, but then the Word and its meaning became ubiquitous, i.e., people became literate.

    Now, 5 hundred years later, literacy is as important as it ever was. The physical book, though, will eventually phase out. I know some young folks who never even owned a physical book. Vinyl records, cassette tapes, telephones, TV, and all other innovations have a life cycle that peak and sooner or later fade out.

    I will keep my beloved printed books with me even if their decline is underway.

  115. I love the e-book revolution. I love that i can fit my entire world on my laptop and a external hard drive that fit in my wallet. I can be connected anywhere anytime, switch what i am reading mid travels with out the bulk, and be able to carry my library on me. Part of the spirit of adventure is being able to go on a whim and not be burdened with tangibles.

  116. I used ot be so adamantly against E-books, that is until someone got me one as a present and it became, almost overnight, one of my favourite things. I still have my shelves of print books. I'll still buy print books (after all, I cant read my Kindle in the bath). But E-books are much more convieniant for times such as travelling or commuting (I'm an avid commuter – more reading time!) and no matter how much I love paper books, I love convenience as well.

  117. E-books are great. They have their place and their benefits, but for me, when reading for enjoyment and relaxation, they can never top the experience of having a great print book……personally, a comfy couch, hot cup of tea and good print book is no match for a comfy couch, hot cup of tea and some electronic device with an E-book………loved the post!………Kim

  118. For me, there are two things that I must hold in my hands (not via kindle, iphone or laptop): the newspaper and my Bible! Even though I research topics and verses via the net, I always go back to the physical Word!

  119. Great article. I have so far not bought a kindle to read on, but would consider one in the future. I have worked in libraries and so have a special affinity for the written rather than electronic word, but I am starting to find blogging stories a great thrill. I still love printed books however, and enjoy perusing out of the way independent bookstores or secondhand shops for interesting books.

  120. I tried to get into the ebook. Everyday I see people on their nooks, readers, ebook, and whatever else besides an actual book. I like holding a book and underlining sentences that I want to reread for later. Its funny because I think holding a book gives some people the impression that you are smart or because you take time to turn off the tv and give your brain a work out. With an ebook or other device most just assume that you are searching the internet.

  121. Your wonderful blog promoted me to ponder on some of its proposed ideas. I think that perhaps we are reading (and writing) more than in the past but the content that we are reading comes into small chunks of phrases, short sentences and paragraphs rather than long one-page paragraphs characteristic of a good long novel. The stream of information pouring online constantly demands our attention and often causes attention disorder to perfectly healthy individuals.

    The medium does matter. Once humans invented writing they began having shorter memories. Poets in oral cultures could memorize thousands of poems and stories, and this ability was lost with the invention of writing. The computer and the Internet fundamentally have changed the very nature of reading and writing. Maybe the fundamentals of these two processes are the same but the details are different.

    I recently read a book called, "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains," by Nicholas Carr, in which he analyzes some of the changes to our reading habits as a result of the introduction of the Internet. Carr also wrote in the Atlantic magazine a provocative article somewhat connected with this topic, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

    Here are few quotations from his book:

    “Our use of the Internet involves many paradoxes, but the one that promises to have the greatest long-term influence over how we think is this one: the Net seizes our attention only to scatter it. We focus intensely on the medium itself, on the flickering screen, but we’re distracted by the medium’s rapid-fire delivery of competing messages and stimuli.” p. 118

    “…Google equates intelligence with data-processing efficiently. If our brains are computers, then intelligence can be reduced to a matter of productivity – of running more bits of data more quickly through the big chip in our skull. Human intelligence becomes indistinguishable from machine intelligence.” p. 172

    "The tight bonds we form with our tools go both ways. Even as our technologies become extensions of ourselves, we become extensions of our technologies." p. 209

    "The price we pay to assume technology's power is alienation. The toll can be particularly high with our intellectual technologies. The tools of the mind amplify and in turn numb the most intimate, the most human, of our natural capacities- those of reason, perception, memory, emotion." p. 211

  122. Reblogged this on A Modern Day Sojourner and commented:
    Today in my "travels" I've stumbled across this blog post from Cristian Mihai. As a writer and hopeful future editor, it's key to know when technology and progress must be accepted. In publishing, it's the e-book. And there are always pros and cons to new technology. For example, an e-book reader comes in handy when traveling and when there's the indecision over which books and how many books to take with you. Or as one of my friends recently pointed out, an e-reader can even help ease the strain of one's back when carrying those large, over-priced academic books. It not only takes the weight down significantly, but in many cases is probably cheaper than buying the actual book.

    That being said, as I a writer I love taking notes in the physical copy. I will always love the feel and weight of an actual book in my hands. Mihai takes note of this. Beautifully. The novel is not dead despite these "subtle changes" as she puts it. Readers, read on! Whether it's on a screen or page, you're reading and that's the important thing.

  123. Reblogged this on The Starving Journalist and commented:
    This post gave me a little more courage to keep writing. But I really wonder if it may be true that soon there will be no more books because everything is going digital. What's next? A world like the late Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451? I should hope not. Take a look at this article and judge for yourself.

  124. I'm not so sure about the quality argument. Isn't it rather like wine? When most people start drinking wine, they buy cheap stuff but many move on until they're appreciating really good wines. Surely the same happens with books? They buy a book that's been heavily promoted even though it's badly written and eventually find better books. Isn't it really a question of getting people to understand that reading can be fun?

  125. As a matter of preference, I always prefer a novel in the hand, pages turning, finding that perfect position where the book and the reader become one. However, a flip and a swipe only separated by a single breath and I most often find myself reading on my iPhone. It allows me to have a book (or actually several books) on my person at all time. What it lacks in that gut-satisfying tactile quality, it makes up for in giving me splendid reading no matter where I am.

    I will say that the digital novel, as you yourself have demonstrated, provides aspiring writers a unprecedented way to get their work read. While I will always dream of seeing my book in the hands of a person one day when I walk down the street, I can forgo that vanity with the knowledge that getting my book into someone's hands is now far easier. Let us hope that it's a book, worthy of that opportunity.

  126. Wonderful post – love your point that as long as one is reading,then that is what truly matters. However, despite the fact that I own a social media company and live online practically 24/7, I actually prefer to read a book I can touch, smell and handle. Nothing else like it!

  127. Thank you for brilliantly pointing out that the medium isn't as important as the act. I mostly like that you captured my feelings precisely about the reader. Does a book grab their heart and imagination? But the greatest insight is that literature is imbedded in us. At various different levels of course. But all humans love a good story!

  128. I’ll immediately seize your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription
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  129. It is true that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Of course, the tactile satisfaction of the book printed word will always have its need and place.

  130. This is a very good piece. In a time where more and more bookstores, the ones still open, are becoming coffee shops or fast food shops, at least where I am, the idea that the novel is dying can seem fearfully real.

    However if you look at things like amazon, the new espresso book machines, Kindles and Nooks everywhere, it’s not that the novel is dying its that the world is doig what it always has: changing.

    To some degree I hope “The Big Six” are ready for that, as they’ve brought us some wonderful books, but on another note, I kind of hope to see them vanish as they’ve become more of an “old boy’s club” than an industry looking for new art to nurture and, when ready, bring to the people who want it. Again, great post, thank you for sharing.

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  132. An excellent and encouraging piece of writing and I heartedly agree with your sentiments particularly, “The way stories are told has changed as well; they are much more minimalistic, the style of most writers is terse, stripped naked of all embellishments.” I must say I definitely fall in to this category of reader/writer/ Thank you and please keep blogging.

  133. Wonderful post. I, too, refuse to give up my physical books for a lit up screen. I have to stare at a computer screen all day, why would I want to spend my precious free time looking at one? My smart phone came with a ‘Nook’ app, and there was a particularly thrilling series I was reading and when I finished the first book, I downloaded the next onto my phone just so I could get started. But I went and bought the book itself the next day. I tend to re-read my books as well. There are some that take me to a place where I can forget the stresses of my reality and live in theirs.

    I largely agree with you in that what the world has become is frightening. My greatest complaint, hoever, is that I cannot find bookshelves that will actually hold real books! This particle board crap that bends and warps under the weight of a few good books is ridiculous. If I were given a spiffy kindle or the like, I’d happily trade if off for a few excellent novels. :)

    Great blog! I look forward to more great writing from you!


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