The Dewey Decimal Deathmatch: Books vs. eReader

I’ve said, on more than one or two occasions, that extremism is bad. To be so devoted to any one secular side of a spectrum or argument makes one blind to the opposing perspective makes one blind to the world around them. More often than not, I’ve applied this philosophy to terms of political leanings, or social issues, but there is an exception. Books.

In another life, I was a commentator for professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and part of my duties was assembling statistics on fights. My job was to analyze data, to create hype around the fights to occur, and provide analysis of the fights after they’ve gone down. I’ve seen grown men get hit so hard they don’t know what day of the week it is, or what town they’ve come from. All of that considered I’ve never been more internally conflicted by opposing choices than choosing between a physical copy of a book or an eReader such as an Amazon Kindle or a Nook.

For this week’s blog, I’m going to tap into a former life, and I’m going to break down the tale of the tape, and analyze the war of attrition between the Book and the eReader!

[DISCLAIMER]: This is one author’s opinion and not intended to represent a definitive answer of fact or certainty. Your opinion on the subject is just as valid as mine and this blog is not intended to diminish your preferences or proclivities.

Let’s start as any fight analysis does, the tale of the tape!

1,154 Years OldAge25 Years Old
Approx 5 Oz.WeightApprox 6 Oz.
ChinaCountry of OriginUnited States

Before Gutenberg’s press made the printed word available to the masses, the first printed book was made in China. The Chinese book was made by words being carved in wood, in reverse, inked, and then pressed to the page. This technique is called relief pressing and was done on the first Chinese book in 868 AD. Since that day, MANY legendary Chinese texts had been printed in such a way—including business executive training essential “the Art of War” by Sun Tzu & “Journey to the West,” which inspired the ultra-popular Dragon Ball.

The first eReader, called the Rocketbook, was developed in 1997 by NuvoMedia. Funny enough, both Barnes & Noble and Amazon passed on the Rocketbook—the Amazon Kindle would be invented in 1997 and Barnes & Noble’s Nook would be built in 2009.

So which one wins in a fight? Well, in my opinion, there are a few different categories that need to be considered before a clear winner can be determined.

Transportability – You’re going on a trip and you want to take your reading material, how easy is it to get your read on? Both are similar in size and weight, but what about the variety of reads available? If you have the Eighty-HD’s like I do, then being able to jump between books is a must to keep your interest in reading. In order to do that, you’d need to take multiple books with you, thus defeating the concept of transportability. Winner: eReader.

Readability (Print Size) – I’m not happy about it, but I’m getting older, and the prescriptions for my glasses are getting stronger and stronger. Now, between trips to the optometrist, what do I do if I need bigger print? If I only deal in print books, I have to go out, and buy another copy of the same book I’ve already purchased. If I am holding an eReader, I can change a few settings and bump up the print. Winner: eReader.

Readability (Night time) – Let’s not fool ourselves, there is a very real magic in reading a book with a flashlight and the covers over your head. As an adult, I think I am missing out by not doing it today—in fact, I may do so this evening. While the eReader is backlit, and technically could be read under the blanket, I argue the magic of the blanket and flashlight can’t be matched. Winner: Books.

S*** Hits the Fan (Sustainability) – If you read the news, it is apparent the collapse of society is a matter of “when” and not “if.” So, when all hell does break loose, what is going to be our best opportunity to keep reading? Infrastructure will likely be damaged, meaning no electricity, and the future of humanity’s knowledge is going to rely on the printed word. Winner: Books.

Conversation Ignition – You’re sitting at a coffee shop, you have some time to read, which is going to be the most likely to have someone come over and say hi to start a conversation? Trick question! You’re reading, you don’t want people to bother you! Winner: No one wins, I just want to keep reading my book!

The judge’s decision? We have a draw. If you are wondering “did he plan it that way?” I sure did. Regardless if you’re reading a book, or an eReader, you’re reading! That means everybody wins!

The good news is that all of my books come in Kindle and Paperback formats, so you don’t have to worry about your preference over one or the other—even better, you can buy them in both formats if you’re so inclined.

Thank you for joining me on this trip across the Millerverse—I’ll see you next time!

Songs listened to while writing this blog:

  1. “Super Rad” – The Aquabats!
  2. “Sacrifice Theory” – AFI
  3. “I Hear You Calling” – Gob
  4. “Astro Zombies” – Misfits
  5. “Anti Complicity Anthem” – Ignite

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