Old School Blues

After making the switch from paper books to an ereader I’m still not totally sold on the electronic version.  Despite the convenience of an ereader, some things are still easier and better in paper.


I like to read footnotes and this is often really difficult on my ereader.  On my ereader the footnote is indicated with a small * or symbol embedded in the text.  If I tap the symbol with my finger it’s supposed to take me to the appropriate footnote.  The problem is the ereader often confuses my tapping the footnote symbol with either the tap used to turn pages or the tap used to bring up menu options.  *sigh*  It’s maddening.  I often give up on reading footnotes because it’s too time consuming and annoying to “flip pages” in the ereader to reach them.

On an ereader the tap location sometimes indicates the action.  For example, tapping on the right side of the screen means “next page”.  Whereas tapping on the left means “previous page”.  This is a non-issue in a paper book where the reader is free to flip pages in any direction at any time.



Reading maps is easier and better in print, especially if it’s a two-page spread.  The image is never big enough on the ereader.  I also refer to the maps periodically while reading.  Similar to the footnotes, this is fast and easy in paper, but time consuming with an ereader.



With print I am often able to locate the passage I’m thinking of by remembering where it was physically located on a page, or maybe even as part of a particular section.  I find it difficult to use these strategies when searching on an ereader.

In the ereader, however, I search for keywords which has proven to be faster than flipping through pages.



Almost no contest here.  The ereader is easier to carry and read in crowded places, such as my morning subway commute.  It’s wonderful to take multiple books with me on vacation, unless I plan on reading near the ocean.  Salt + waves = potential ereader disaster


Ultimately I prefer the ereader, but I maintain a healthy respect and appreciation for paper books.  I would be sad if all the paper books disappeared in favor of their digital replicas.  Every once in a while I go “old school” and relish the experience of reading print.

3 comments for “Old School Blues

  1. jamew2965
    15 December 2015 at 09:13


    I so agree with you. I love my footnotes. My eyes get tired faster when i’m reading on a screen. I can read much longer with printed form. I just have to mention the better the quality of your ereader the richer you experience will be on the ereader. When i went to school i took Tech classes. One of those heavy books was bad enough but 5 or 6 and you had an Army training session. What I like about apple iPads is that they have partnered with authors and publishers to make their text books ereader friendly. But what I love most is how the illustration when tapped comes alive and now you have a moving illustration rather then a picture. You can see how things work. More and more text book publishers are joining in this. What makes this awesome is that I would rater carry the tablet or ereader of my choice and have all my text books in there, rather then carry heavy books. Of course there are other issues to deal with with this option, but i do feel it’s a pretty cool option.

    you are the best


  2. Anonymous
    15 December 2015 at 14:18

    Interesting comparison. Thanks.

  3. Alan Darby
    18 January 2016 at 07:17

    For Me, Nothing beats the feel and smell even of a paper book! Most of mine being second hand editions. I love the notes or drawings left behind or even the messages inscribed after someone has received it as a gift. Seeing the folds and creases, can see where the last readers stopped and started. and to know I’m continuing reading and cherishing a book that was previously loved is a nice feeling. I also love feeling with my fingers how far into the book I am and feeling a sense of accomplishment which I don’t really feel on an Ereader.

    I have access to E-reading but I tried once and really didn’t care for the experience. I agree that it is handy for long holidays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.