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Reading as a kid, and even as I studied my way through college and then graduate school, I never really noticed the incredible variety of fonts that books sport--until I discovered just how few fonts that ebooks offer.
Whether I'm reading a novel or memoir or how-to book, the sameness of the font scrubs away one of the unique and defining features of print books. Part of the unconscious ritual I go through when I first open a new or used book is to see if there's a mention of the font used in the book.
Very often it's an exotic-sounding name, and sometimes, the font was invented or modified just for that book.
Ebooks promote sameness with their incredibly limited font selection. This is hugely ironic given the ease with which so many other computer applications use different fonts. I have to admit I have a particular aversion to writing in my print books, and prefer to keep them in as pristine a condition as possible. But on occasion, I do like to underline passages that I want to refer back to again.
Other readers, however, are more wanton with their treatment of books and jot lots of detailed notes in the margins, underline large chunks of text, and otherwise do what they please with it. With ebooks, the most I can do is very neatly highlight passages using one of four different colors. Since I've switched to reading ebooks at home my kids and my wife assume I'm surfing the internet and checking my LinkedIn notifications on my latest articles and updates.
While that is partially true, I often have to show them that I'm in fact reading a book, a more noble and productive activity of course. When I read print books it's immediately transparent what I am doing, and I like to think it sets a good example for my kids. Besides the crisp, delicate, yet firm feel of the pages of a book, I also like to take a gentle whiff of the thing.
The memories and associations that are triggered by such an act are random and sudden, and that's why I like the sensation. Sort of like getting a quick physical high from the scent of the book, before I've plunged in and gotten my intellectual high from the ideas and images within.
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While I have a hard time ascribing specific descriptive adjectives to the smells that emanate from my hard and softcover books, a couple of very diligent researchers have recently figured out a way to systematically categorize and describe how books smell.
In graduate school, one of our libraries displayed an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible in a glass-enclosed case. Many decades later, on my first trip to Israel with my family, I came within inches of the Dead Sea scrolls: Visible, tangible evidence that a print manuscript could survive the wear and tear of millennia.
In theory, at least, digital content should be device independent, operating system independent, and otherwise immortal in every way. Buying ebooks instantly chops off the 50 percent surcharge that Amazon slaps on my credit card to cover the cost of shipping physical books thousands of miles from the US to Taiwan, where I live.
But as much as I've come to enjoy the convenience of ebooks, and while I will continue to buy them, digital books just don't deliver the same sort of visual and tactile satisfaction I get from reading physical books.
I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way, either, especially if you look at the shift in sales of ebooks versus print books. It will be interesting to see if this represents a one-time phenomenon, or if it's the beginning of a trend.
Regardless of how this plays out, this shift in sales led me to reflect on what makes print books so much more special than ebooks. Here are a few reasons that come to mind. Print books promote sharing.
Print books on shelves in book stores or home libraries or office book shelves invite potential readers to browse and then to borrow and read and potentially to buy. Ebooks are selfishly hoarded by the owner on his or her reading device.
Want to share your favorite ebook with a friend or family member? Not going to happen. Physical books make more meaningful gifts.
Read Online - East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust
Some of the most meaningful gifts I've ever received were books. These were gifts I still remember today. Reading as a kid, and even as I studied my way through college and then graduate school, I never really noticed the incredible variety of fonts that books sport--until I discovered just how few fonts that ebooks offer.
Whether I'm reading a novel or memoir or how-to book, the sameness of the font scrubs away one of the unique and defining features of print books. Part of the unconscious ritual I go through when I first open a new or used book is to see if there's a mention of the font used in the book. Very often it's an exotic-sounding name, and sometimes, the font was invented or modified just for that book.
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Ebooks promote sameness with their incredibly limited font selection. This is hugely ironic given the ease with which so many other computer applications use different fonts. I have to admit I have a particular aversion to writing in my print books, and prefer to keep them in as pristine a condition as possible.May be he has news or much better new books.
Terry Reply May 6, at 8: How To. A publishing company that never exists anymore created a book series named "Kompass".
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An entire room only with books. Physical books make more meaningful gifts.
Nathan Reply May 3, at 4: Read print replica textbooks on Android tablets.
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