Last week an article by Michael Hyatt caught my attention. It was about why he was abandoning ebooks for now and returning to paper books. I thought it was a very interesting article because it addressed the shortcomings of the ebook reading experience. To me it is clear there are shortcomings and certain aspects will never be dealt with, like the fact ebooks will always be tied to screens and whatever you do, they will always lack the tactile experience of paper books. I understand the list and I think that some of the shortcomings of the digital reading experience could be addressed, or rather, should be addressed by software makers. We can make the reading experience of ebooks a lot better if we want to. I feel that reading software developers have become a bit lazy by their initial succes. Now that there is a backlash against ebooks it is time to get creative again and build better reading software. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. I’m still sorting out my thoughts on this one.
When I was reading the list of Michael Hyatt I was wondering if his list is complete? Are these really all the reasons there are? Could I come up with more reasons? I found out it was not very difficult to think of something, but it is not a very nice subject to discuss. I think there is perhaps also a certain element of pretentiousness to going back to paper books. I guess we all know the feeling of being aware that you are reading a certain book in a public space, or seeing someone reading a book that you’ve always wanted to read, but never had the guts to spend the time on. Look at me I’m reading Ulysses by James Joyce! Nobody will ask you what you read when you’re reading Kant on your Kindle. No chance to gloat. No chance to impress somebody else. I know, it’s kind of mean of me to make this point, but on the other hand it might indeed be one of the reasons for some people to move back to paper, even though they will never admit it. Paper books are chic. Reading paper is a statement. Look at me, I’m a hipster and I only read paper books! My point is that there are probably also 8 reasons to move back to paper that people won’t admit. When I have that list I’ll let you know.