Print Books are just Superior

Through a combination of daily Bookbub emails and the android kindle app, I’ve started reading some books in ebook form. I haven’t read many yet, because even shorter ones can take me months to finish. I read several books at once and, generally, I’m more likely to reach for physical copies than the kindle app. It doesn’t inspire me to open it.

It might be partially because of my device. Maybe when I inevitably get a true ereader (or a tablet, more likely), with a screen that displays something more like a real book’s full page, it will improve the e-reading experience. That said, I still think I will forever prefer turning a page to swiping a screen.

Ebooks might be more practical at times, certainly. In the sense of the paper it saves, more environmentally friendly. On a long trip, you could bring a large collection of books without taking up much space in your luggage. And the content is the same–but the reading experience simply is not.

I feel like print books welcome me into the story. They draw me in and ask me to stay a little longer. Having something to hold on to allows me to believe that in some way or another, the story is more real. The tactile connection is important. Ebooks are cold, distant. They don’t care about me reading them.

Perhaps it is the very fact that physical books take up space–owning them is more of a commitment. Maybe it’s a generational thing. When I was a child, computers were much less a part of daily life and e-books were not yet a product. I grew up on print. I can’t help wondering if this convenient but impersonal form of books is going to create a generation (or many) that do not understand the importance and magic of reading. That makes me sad.

I don’t really care that much what kind of paper print books are made of. If they find a better, more environmentally-conscious material for physical volumes, that would be fantastic, and I would fully endorse making books in the greenest possible way. I also believe that good books cannot be a waste of paper.

However the process changes in the future, I ask everyone–publishers, consumers, printers, etc.–to consider the wonder of print books.

Five Things Friday: October 4, 2013

Damn, time is passing fast. Before you know it, I’m going to be 40 and I’ll wonder what the hell happened. (For reference, I’m in my 20s now.)

I’ve decided that this week I’m going to make a writing wish list. Whatever you think that means, I will tell you what I mean by that–

I am going to write a list of things I want to facilitate/encourage writing. Because I like stuff, and I like daydreaming, and I like complaining about what I don’t have. (:P) I’ll attempt to go in order from the most plausible in reality to the least.

1) This mug. I have wanted it for a while, actually, and I will get it. Perhaps for myself for Christmas or my next birthday or something. Assuming the entire country hasn’t collapsed by then because of Republicans.

I just really feel like I need this mug. I think it will help me.

2) A printing station. I’m imagining a setup with a color printer, although I’d mostly be using black ink, that would also have a scanner just in case, and a stack of crisp, clean paper underneath, easily accessible. It’s much easier to type stories to begin with than to copy them into word files from your handwritten originals, so I usually just type everything now. However, as I’ve learned from my current job, editing in word with track changes is ok but I often wish I could just have a stack of paper with the words in hard copy in front of me, and the ability to actually write on the document with an actual pen. Ah, to be working in publishing ten, or even five years ago…

But back to my own writing. I do think that printing out stories and reading them on actual paper might do something for me, in terms of seeing how the story works as a whole. I don’t have a printer right now, nor do I have easy access to a free one, and I don’t want to pay 5-10 bucks at fedex every time I need to print some of my work.

I still believe in print books. If we clap, will they stay alive–like fairies?

3) A writer’s retreat. I am picturing 5 days to a week, just being off in a little apartment/bed and breakfast place somewhere, stocked with plenty of coffee and simple food that doesn’t actually take much time to prepare, so I can just focus on writing. Maybe I could complete a few short stories or “outline” (my process never creates a real outline) a whole novel. Ooh, this is so exciting to think about!

Unfortunately, plans like this require vacation time and money. I have no money (all goes to bills and expenses) and I need the rest of this year’s vacation time for Christmas. Side note, I still think employers should allot more vacation time per year than just two weeks, although I’d be fine with them limiting how much time you can take off consecutively.

4) A complete rewiring of my brain. I am about to use the word “wire” a lot, and I know there aren’t wires in brains, but it’s like a metaphor or something. Shut up.

I feel a lot of the time like the wire that is supposed to connect the part of my brain that has ideas to the part that executes them is not connected, or was eaten through by mice (brain mice) or somehow got blocked. I just need that wire to work again and I can start getting stuff done.

5) Absolute power over time and space. This would allow me to write when the ideas and creativity and words are actively flowing, when the mood has struck, rather than forcing me to try to call them up again when I finally do have time (this is one of the reasons I use google docs–not that my notes have helped that much so far). I would really like to be able to drop everything and write when that mood does strike, without ignoring my daily obligations and therefore fucking up my life. Inspiration still happens to me, bafflingly enough, but pretty much never when writing is possible.

Oh, I know what a terrible excuse that is. It doesn’t make it less true…

On the plus side, this post has really made me feel like writing. Maybe I’ll actually get something done this weekend?

All of my fingers and toes are crossed.