The hipster contingent got one thing right; paperback books are a status symbol worth clinging onto. They separate the passionate reader from the faddish, superficial kind.

Essential life accessories

Like the people who can’t bear the idea of being separated from an electronic device for longer than the half hour it takes them to commute.

And how about those snooty “Kindle edition” books that are getting so popular. Whose great idea was that?

Books were never made to be elitist, they’re not written for “some” but not “others”. That kind of thinking goes completely against the spirit of learning. 

Next time you go to buy an exclusive electronic edition of a book, save yourself the effort and make a sign to stick on your head that says: “I. Believe. I. Am. Superior.”

Book readers are more about the “we” than the “me”. Once they’re done reading the book they can literally pass it around and share it with others. While the Kindle reader can only send an email and a link to the cheapest online version of the book.  Pffft, call that a friendly gesture? 

Book readers, however, are committed sensualists. They’re not afraid to lug something hard and heavy around in the bag everyday because any inconvenience is completely outweighed by the sheer joy that book brings to their life.

They’re also far more philosophical. Sure, book readers struggle reading at night without the aid of a fancy back light, but they don’t bang on about it all the time.  They acknowledge the struggle and just move on with the book.

But Kindle readers don’t stand by their reading material. You could be holding that smooth looking device and tell everyone you’re halfway through The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert, but in reality just flicking through the latest digital copy of Readers Digest.

Book readers are also more aesthetically minded. You can’t enhance a room with a Kindle the way you can with a bookcase. Plus, book readers really take their time and consider the cover all aspects of a book.

Everything from the cover design, to the font, spine and sometimes even the smell of a book is considered before determining its worthiness. 

Kindle readers, they just click and go.

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    • An Author says:

      06:17am | 21/01/13

      I love books. My bookcases here at home are bulging at the seams with ‘paper’ books, and I have more stacked on bedside tables and stored away in boxes for lack of shelf space. I also possess a Kindle and use it, although being a traditionalist my first choice is the ‘paper’ book.

      Saying that, I am an independent author and I have novels self-published as eBooks, and one day hope to have them available as paperbacks as well.

      Although I love the smell, feel and presence of ‘paper’ books, I am thankful that devices like the Kindle exist - for Amazon, and Kindle have allowed so many independent authors opportunity to publish stories that the industry ‘gatekeepers’ have rejected. Whether those stories are worth reading - well only the reader can make that call; and for most eBooks, the free book or minimal price is scarce barrier if you wish to experiment with an unknown author writing stories that aren’t mainstream enough to tempt traditional publishers.

      In the past it used to be traditional publishers who determined what books should go on the market. The reader was always confined to what traditional publishers thought was worthwhile - or in other words, what would make them money. Oft times however, making money does not equate to a good book - as those who have read books that have been hyped-beyond-all-expectation would attest.

      So instead of disparaging the device, look upon it as the mechanism that has brought so many new books and new authors to readers. Yes, there is much chaff amongst the wheat, but at least now it is the reader choosing what they want to read, and not just the gatekeepers of the publishing industry.

    • Roxanne Ford says:

      07:57am | 21/01/13

      I also self publish.  Mine are on demand printing, or as download e-books.  I don’t care how people buy them, as long as they buy them!  For myself though, I don’t have an electronic reader and have no desire to get one.  I love the feel etc of a printed book.  Mind you, I bought my 81 year old mum a kindle.  she simple can’t hold up a printed book due to arthritis, so it works for her.

    • John says:

      09:33am | 21/01/13

      I agree, I have used my brother in laws Kindle but am not a fan at all. I love the texture feel and “sharability” of books. And I have 5 bookshelves in my man cave full of books, often bought from the fantastic and unmissable Lifeline Bookfairs.

    • subotic Torquemada 71 says:

      11:04am | 21/01/13

      I also self publish.

      Which is nowhere near as good as self flagellation…

    • Pedro says:

      12:54pm | 21/01/13

      I don’t pay for books. The affluent area in which I live has many residents who discard books in the rear lanes. I pick up hundreds a year which I sort through - I read some and give the ones in which I have no interest to charity.
      My brother gave me a memory stick with 1200 novels on it. but do I really want an e-reader? I barely use my ipod - I prefer the vinyl which I also find discarded. I found 4 x cartons of 78s last year. Amazing stuff.
      Now if people only discarded vintage furniture and SLR film cameras my life would be complete.
      Back on topic - I estimate I would be one of about 10% of commuters on the train who reads a paper book. The rest are mindlessly looking at farcebook on their phones, playing angry birds on the ipad, going deaf to excessively loud crap pop on their phones/ipods, or reading an e-book. Does me feel old but somehow a little elitist - evn if my book was free has a coffee stain and some dog-eared corners. My latest is a colelction of Elmore Leonard short crime stories. Great read.
      BTW - I see no hipsters reading paper books.

    • Rosie says:

      06:48am | 21/01/13

      I am a reader of books, actual books.  However, due to a sudden and ver dramatic change in living space (3 bedrooms to a caravan) my ability to hold onto them has shrunk - hence, I have a Kindle.  I still have several old faithfuls, including a 1933 edition which is falling apart, and I use my library card a lot.

      I prefer the paper books, they seem more ‘real’ than the electronic version

    • TimB says:

      07:45am | 21/01/13

      Both forms have their merits IMO. I’ve got a bookshelf with about 200 novels in it, and it’s nice to be able to access it at will without having to worry about batteries or whatever. Also, it does make it easy to share stuff . And reading in the tub doesn’t carry the risk of shorting out a rather expensive electronic device smile
      But having an entire collection you can carry with you wherever you go is also great. The cost and convenience factor make the digital path a no-brainer. I’ve already encountered this with my 3DS, I have something like 3 dozen classic Nintendo games I can play anywhere without having to juggle a pile of cartridges, and I love it. So I’m sure the Galaxy 2 tablet I got for Christmas is going to fill a similar niche for me.

    • Aghast says:

      10:01am | 21/01/13

      Culling your way through a bulging bookcase…Passing a book to friend…a box of books to St Vinnies…are all certainly different experiences to hitting on the DELETE button…This is all going to take sometime to get used too.It may well be a generational thing.Words are words after all but I wonder if this revolution will change literature and appreciation it.

    • expat says:

      07:02am | 21/01/13

      Electronic all the way!

      Text is text whether it is on paper or on a screen, the content is exactly the same..

    • Hoppity says:

      08:27am | 21/01/13

      No. Reading is also a tactile experience.  That is where a lot of the enjoyment comes from.  I love flicking through a book to find the last page that I was at before I set it down. Unlike a Kindle where it automatically brings you to the last page you read.

    • lisadp says:

      11:53am | 21/01/13

      When it’s only published in the UK because Aussie publishers haven’t gotten around to publishing it, an e-book is the obvious way to go! That or order the paper copy from the UK!

    • TimB says:

      07:25am | 21/01/13

      I have to disagree entirely.

      Having a hard copy version of a book doesn’t somehow make you better than someone who went the digital route. That’s ridiculous. This entire article is one big excercise in pure snobbery, more concerned with appearances than the actual act of enjoying a good book- In whatever form.

      Nowhere is this expressed more clearly than this:

      ‘But Kindle readers don’t stand by their reading material. You could be holding that smooth looking device and tell everyone you’re halfway through The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert, but in reality just flicking through the latest digital copy of Readers Digest. ‘

      Is this why you read? Is this why you ‘share’ your books? In order to show everyone how sophisticated you are with your literature choices? If so you’re reading for the entirely wrong reasons.

    • Aghast says:

      10:09am | 21/01/13

      Is this why you read
      Good question TimB…A better question although a personal one to you…Why be so critically judgemental…Why cant you just let it slide by…Why cant you just let it be instead of vomiting up all your negative SAD self onto the page

    • maybe says:

      11:27am | 21/01/13

      My boss saw me reading 1984 on the plane and said he was impressed.  Can hardly imagine it would be the same if I were reading Twighlight or something…

      So sometimes sharing what you’re reading is nice.

    • TimB says:

      11:56am | 21/01/13

      I’m allowed to express my opinion, just the same the OP did when she passed judgement on users of E-readers, and just as you did on me when you responded to my post.

      After all, you couldn’t just let my comment ‘slide by’ could you? Perhaps your ‘negative sad self’ was just urinating all over the reply box?

      Get off your high horse.

    • Aghast says:

      12:58pm | 21/01/13

      No high horse TimB but honestly curious
      Yes you have every right to express yourself.Yet your negative comments are in noway constructive..they could offend….so just what is the point…Perhaps seeing your name on the screen prompts a lift in your self esteem…a bit of ego buzz dispite the hurtful nature of comments….or perhaps enforcing your right to have a say wether constructive or not pleases you.Damps down those insecurities.
      I am prompted by curiousity…sorry if your offended….

    • Boba Fetta says:

      01:16pm | 21/01/13

      careful Aghast
      Tread very carefully !!!
      TimB has a replica sword and light sabre and he’s not afraid to use them.
      He can tell who you are and where you live by your punctuation and grammatical style.
      He takes great delight in outing people he either disagrees with or fantasizes about as evidenced by most excellent work in identifying the real people behind such screen names as Acotrel and fairsfair.

      tread carefully.

    • Blind Freddy says:

      02:47pm | 21/01/13

      All you “Badgers” leave TimmyB alone.

    • TimB says:

      05:13pm | 21/01/13

      Badger, telling lies as usual.

      I don’t have alightsabre, Replica or otherwise. I never outed Fairs. Google outed Acotrel, because he was stupid enough to link his screenname profile to his real name.

      And I can tell who you are by simply by the repetitive and stupid things you post. Grammar has never been a paticularly big tell for me.

      @ Aghast this is an opinion site. It’s not about ‘being constructive’ it’s about putting forward a point of view, preferably backed up by something.

    • ByStealth says:

      05:53pm | 21/01/13

      Aghast, Lucy threw the first stone. Look at this little snippet:
      ‘Next time you go to buy an exclusive electronic edition of a book, save yourself the effort and make a sign to stick on your head that says: “I. Believe. I. Am. Superior.” ‘

      TimB is spot on.

    • Andrew Hinkinson says:

      07:27am | 21/01/13

      Do you also forsake and disparage the mobile phone because it has brought with it the outrageous loss of that long, curly-wurly, squiggly-wiggly wire? No to mobiles! Yes to landlines! Anything other than a landline is shallow…

      Except it’s not. I love books. Always have, always will. Print or electronic. I’m an author, and Amazon et al have brought about a publishing revolution. I publish in all formats, from print to Kindle to Nook to Kobo et al. It is a pain that the companies won’t standardise - with the exception of Apple with the iPad, for which beautiful interactive books can be created - but hey, the books on my shelves are all one size or one font either.

      There’s room for the old and the new. Lighten up a little and stop being such a Luddite snob!

    • ApplePie says:

      09:15am | 21/01/13

      “.It is a pain that the companies won’t standardise - with the exception of Apple with the iPad”

      and then you go on to criticise others as luddite snobs?

      If it’s not Apple, its not standardised?
      Very amusing.

    • Ben C says:

      10:58am | 21/01/13

      @ Andrew Hinkinson

      “It is a pain that the companies won’t standardise - with the exception of Apple with the iPad”

      Thanks for the laugh, luddite. You need to learn more about technology standards.

      Apple is not standard - it is as proprietary as Kindle, Kobo etc. You can not run an app purchased from the iTunes store on anything other than an Apple iProduct, nor can you use those interactive books you refer to on anything other than an Apple iProduct.

      Contrast this with the PDF format - you can view these documents on any system - Windows, Apple iOS/MacOS, Linux, Kindle, Kobo etc. You may need to install sotware to be able to read these documents, if running Windows or MacOS or Linux, but the sotware is readily available for free.

      Standards are all about compatibility. Apple is not compatible with anything other than Apple.

    • JimBob says:

      12:58pm | 21/01/13

      Bec C - I’m not an Apple tragic, but you are wrong. Apple use the ePub format which was created from independent researchers to formalise ebooks for the world. Apple decided to use this format for iPads. Basically, it is emphatically not proprietary based. Bought ebooks contain DRM, but so does any ebook, regardless of format. Even pdf’s can have DRM. Pdf’s is an extremely old format and it is not superior. ePubs are far, far better. BTW, I’m a computer programmer, so I know what I’m talking about.

    • marley says:

      02:31pm | 21/01/13

      @Ben C - I’m not a techie (now there’s a surprise!) but I do know the ePub is a very common e-book format and far superior to PDF when it comes to e-readers.  My non-Kindle, non Apple e-reader can download the ePub book, I can then enlarge the fonts to suit my less than perfect vision and the book properly reformats itself.  With PDF, no such luck:  I pretty much have to read it in whatever font it was printed in, or adjust every single page as I go. 

      Most of the major e-book chains offer their books in a variety of formats, with the only one that’s exclusive being Amazon’s format.  And most e-readers can download a variety of text formats.  I stick with ePub, which is pretty much ubiquitous outside Amazon:  I buy ePub books from Kobo and elsewhere, and download free ones from Project Gutenberg to my non- Kobo reader regularly.  The only PDFs I have on the reader are a couple of manuals, and they’re a royal pain, I assure you.

    • Ben C says:

      04:17pm | 21/01/13

      @ JimBob

      Thanks for the correction, didn’t realise Apple used ePub for the iPad.

      @ marley

      I only used PDF as my example because of its age, people would know what it is. But yes, ePub is a better format, and it seems as widely compatible as PDF.

    • marley says:

      07:42am | 21/01/13

      I love books - real books - and have bookcases stuffed with them.  But I also love my e-reader (disclaimer: it’s not a kindle).  I can take it on trips, especially long haul flights, and have 20 books along with the manual for my new camera and a few other useful items, all in the size of a single small paperback.  I can download classic literature and science tomes for free, and not feel guilty about erasing them after I’ve read them, because I can always get them back.  I can put notations and highlights all over books that interest me, a thing I would never do with a real book. 

      Of course, nothing beats the feel and look of a real book, but e-readers (and, I suppose, tablets, which are fast replacing them) have their place. I wouldn’t give mine up.

    • Slothy says:

      09:52am | 21/01/13

      Oh, putting notations and highlights all over my books is one of my favourite parts of my kindle. I love highlighting great passages in my novels, and leaving notes arguing with my non-fiction titles. I love being able to access a list of my favourite passages from any internet enabled device - great if you want to share a particularly good piece of writing with someone to convince them to try a book.

    • NSS says:

      11:21am | 21/01/13

      Agree completely again today, marley. We’re exactly the same in our family. We love the convenience of our e-readers and also the tactile experience of a book. Both have their place in our home, although new paperback novels are fast becoming a rarity here. Coffee- table size volumes and pictorial books will always be in our collection, as well as our favourite history, sci-fi, and medical editions of yesteryear and today.

    • Futurist says:

      07:44am | 21/01/13

      Please do keep on telling me how the method of delivery radically changes the content. You’ll need to handwrite it though, because even reading this drivel through a screen detracts from your original message.

    • Terry2 says:

      07:53am | 21/01/13

      My wall mounted bookcase collapsed under the accumulated weight of my book collection; it took sections of the plasterboard wall with it.
      I bundled up all but a few treasured tomes and donated them to a bookseller. Some months later, my wife noted that some of the books I had been buying were the ones I had previously given away.
      I bought a kindle; a wonderful compromise but I’m a little perplexed that some ebooks cost the same, or more, than the hardcopy from Amazon. What’s all that about ?

    • Gregg says:

      08:27am | 21/01/13

      ” What’s all that about ? “
      I reckon it was an indication you need a good home handyman’s guide Terry.
      If you can find your way to a local Bunnings without a directory, you’ll even find they have one there, DIY lessons and all the materials and hardware you’ll need to ensure any wall hung cabinets are hung well and strongly just like a good man.
      It’s all about studs and studs are good at supporting all manner of attractions.

    • Aghast says:

      10:16am | 21/01/13

      Terry2 and Gregg
      Thanks for laugh…I am fair dinkum rolling round the floor…Exactly the same thing happened to me…Disaster and is all good advice Gregg

    • St. Michael says:

      11:46am | 21/01/13

      “I’m a little perplexed that some ebooks cost the same, or more, than the hardcopy from Amazon. What’s all that about ?”

      In short: because Amazon has a business model that is unsustainable in the long term.  Not for nothing is it said that Amazon will sell you a dollar for ninety cents just to get the sale.  Amazon is a contradiction in terms: it’s a middleman in a medium that kills middlemen—the Internet.  And you might understand where the “cheap” price comes from when you hear about how Amazon treats its suppliers—Google up Jeff Bezos and Toys R Us in relation to Amazon and see how enlightened they are.

    • Slothy says:

      12:36pm | 21/01/13

      “I’m a little perplexed that some ebooks cost the same, or more, than the hardcopy from Amazon. What’s all that about ?”

      Basically it reflects that when you break down the costs of producing a book - editing, formatting, proof reading, cover design, legal, marketing etc., the actual printing of a book ends up being quite a small part of the total production costs.

    • Terry2 says:

      12:50pm | 21/01/13

      Thanks Gregg, I told my wife we need a stud-finder.

      She said tell me about it !

    • John says:

      08:07am | 21/01/13

      Why do comments close “at 8pm AEST” when we are on Daylight Time? Does that mean we can comment until 7 April, the day when daylight savings ends?

    • Gregg says:

      08:33am | 21/01/13

      I reckon you might need to do an authorship John for the research will not only find you likely discovering that 8pm AEST occurs on most days that I know of up and until when daylight saving time finishes, 7th April this year is it? even if not in Queensland.

      The reason has previously been advised by Punchers and is that it seems to be those darker hours of the planet when the zombies and like come out and post all manner of strange thoughts.
      And then unfortunately we have their bretheren who just do not depart when the sun rises.

      There could be a book in the making!

    • JC says:

      08:11am | 21/01/13

      Being a kindle reader doesn’t make you elitist. I’ve had a kindle for over 2 years & can carry my library with me wherever I go. SInce getting the kindle I have read more authors & more widely across genres. I got the kindle for 2 reasons - major surgery meant a long stay in hospital & the kindle was portable & light; secondly my physical library was bursting at the seams despite culling books I no longer wanted to read. I take my kindle places I would normally take a novel - appointments where I know I’ll have to wait, Medicare, work, travel (interstate/overseas/around town). I’ve struck up converstations with complete strangers about my kindle. In short, my life is richer because I have a kindle.

    • Sam says:

      08:21am | 21/01/13

      Since getting my wife an e-reader I no longer have to pay for extra baggage when flying on holidays.

    • stephen says:

      06:21pm | 21/01/13

      Why ?
      Do you leave her behind then ?

    • Gregg says:

      08:23am | 21/01/13

      Spot on Lucy but lets not proclaim the status too broadly otherwise we’ll have all those status seekers clogging the place up with paperbacks.

      And for handing on why not give a free plug to

      I have only come across a crossing book once so far but have found some in some unusual places, like a fountain in the main street of Gstaad in Switzerland, well on the edge of it at least and though it was a little wet, I was able to dry it out and though I forget the titles it was one of those double bangers, quite a hefty piece and both a reasonable read.

      And then there are always those book sales like one on right at the moment run by Lifeline, in Brisbane I think and millions on offer and then how good is it to browse the school fetes for some great buys.
      Right now our local library is getting rid of old books for 50C a piece and some good ones there too.

      Now as for banging on
      ” They’re also far more philosophical. Sure, book readers struggle reading at night without the aid of a fancy back light, but they don’t bang on about it all the time.  They acknowledge the struggle and just move on with the book. “

      I am sure a twist of that could appear in your maiden Mills and Boon romantic.

    • Greg North says:

      04:16pm | 21/01/13

      I think what Lucy is getting at Futurist is that it can be difficult to read a real book at night without good lighting and particularly when in bed, with a wall or bedhead usually just behind you, ideally a light from behind is desired, a bedhead light or side table lamp whereas the kindles and Ipads etc. are lit up via the screen.

    • Terry2 says:

      05:09pm | 21/01/13

      The backlit Kindle Paperwhite is not yet available in Australia, I got mine delivered to a US based friend who sent it on. It’s a great improvement.

    • ByStealth says:

      05:55pm | 21/01/13

      I’ve just spent the afternoon reading my new Paperwhite. Friends brought it from the US. Bwahhahaha.

      You can get one by finding a US re-shipper. Details can be found on the whirlpool forums.

    • subotic says:

      08:47am | 21/01/13

      All my paper-based “books” have glossy pictures.

      And sticky pages….

    • Ben C says:

      11:09am | 21/01/13

      subotic, the DIYer who can’t handle his PVA glue.

      Do any of your projects resemble the photos in those DIY magazines? raspberry

    • subotic is blind says:

      03:36pm | 21/01/13

      Mrs subotic resembles a number of bi-racial African American/ Latinas in some of my DIY magazines.

      And I do do it myself.

      A lot…

    • Philosopher says:

      09:00am | 21/01/13

      I love hauling a huge hardback around, levering it onto a cafe table and relaxing for an hour. I keep hoping that an attractive young female arts graduate will be sufficiently intrigued by my behaviour that she will wonder over to ask that perennial question: ‘is that coffee soy or cow’s milk?’

    • Audra Blue says:

      02:23pm | 21/01/13

      I though you were married?

    • Philosopher says:

      03:40pm | 21/01/13

      ahem… yes, well a chat about books/coffee is hardly adultery now, is it?

    • Redeker Plan says:

      09:09am | 21/01/13

      Sorry Lucy but you’re full of it. There is nothing inherently superior or inferior about either eBooks or tree-books. Text is text, and reading is reading.  Back in 1440 when Gutenberg invented the printing press, there was probably some frantic production of illuminated manuscripts and Papal decrees decrying the move to mass printing. Surely, they wailed, this would lead to more peasants being able to read, and the quality of literature would decline forevermore? 

      I devour books at a great rate of knots. I can go through 3 novels in a weekend if I’m not particularly busy with other stuff, and need at least 10 books to take away on any holiday of a week or more.  Who has the room in their luggage for that?  My reading tastes are not well catered for by public libraries, so buying books is my only choice, but between my collection of print and my partner’s equally enormous collection, we have filled with books a 3 bedroom house that only has 2 people living in it.  We simply don’t have any more room. So we moved to eBooks for novels, and save space for books that have more illustrative content, such as natural history, cookbooks or graphic novels.

      Also, clearly you need to educate yourself about digital right management. If you think (as do many eBook decriers) that you can’t pass copies of eBooks to your friends, you’re simply wrong. A simple Google search will show anyone, step by step, how to download certain eLibrary software, plus other add-ons, that not only strip DRM allowing you to share the books you’ve bought, but also enable conversion of Kindle books to ePub, so you can buy cheaper Kindle ebooks and read them on any non-Kindle device.  I buy books, read them, then email the ePub file to my Mum, Dad or friends who may like it, the same as I would do with any paper copy I purchased.

      A little-discussed benefit of eReaders that a few older people (including my Dad, whose eReader was a gift from me) have mentioned is the ability to enlarge the text for those whose eyesight is not as good as it used to be. Now, instead of being limited to the pedestrian range of Large Print available at their libraries, they can download a book of their choice and enlarge the text to whatever size is comfortable.  Beats holding a magnifier over a paperback, does it not?  I have recommended the move to eReaders on this basis alone to several older people who are comfortable with computing. Without fail, every one of them has thanked me for the encouragement later on - their reading choices have been opened up enormously.  There is a similar benefit for people with arthritis or limited mobility. An eBook version of, for example, A Dance with Dragons, is a hell of a lot lighter than the hardback. I discovered myself that I couldn’t read the hardback for more than an hour before my wrists started to hurt, so I gave it up and bought the eBook instead.

      I think it pretty ironic that you fling accusations of snobbery at people with eReaders. An alternate view would be that people who insist on flashing around the cover of whatever tome they think makes them look deep and intellectually-superior are in fact more shallow than we eReader fans - who don’t give a shit what people think about what we read.  But that would mean I’m judging people by what they read. And I don’t. As a librarian, what I care about is that people read - for learning, for pleasure, the reason is not important, the content is not important - as long as they’re reading.

    • Merryl Chantrell says:

      09:10am | 21/01/13

      I love real books. Always have and always will. I love the smell of real books and the fell of real books. I love the whole real book experience.

    • Merryl Chantrell says:

      10:15am | 21/01/13

      Oops that was meant to be feel of books not fell LOL

    • Ally says:

      10:05am | 21/01/13

      I love books and an entire room in my house is full of them. But I’ve also got a Kindle. Not only is it incredibly convenient in terms of portability, it also means that I can buy books whenever I want. I can be reading the last few pages of a novel in bed at 11pm on a Sunday and then immediately buy the next book in a matter of seconds. I can also link my phone and pc to my Kindle account so I’ve got constant access to my collection.

      Ebooks are also usually more affordable, meaning you can buy more, and it’s a good way of trying authors that you wouldn’t normally consider. As others have mentioned, the ability to increase the font size is also beneficial to people with sight issues.

      I think you’ve got it wrong - people who use ebooks aren’t the snobs. It’s the people that proclaim that only reading a paper and ink book is proper reading. Any sort of reading should be encouraged, whether it’s on an electronic device or whether you need the extra kick of the feel and smell of a book to get your jollies.

    • Penguin says:

      10:17am | 21/01/13

      The true value of books lies in their words, not the vessel those words come it.

    • Philosopher says:

      11:10am | 21/01/13

      I recommend you to view up a copy of Blake’s Illuminated books of poetry. Now those were books, with heft and artistry, that lent infinite depth to the words.

    • NSS says:

      11:46am | 21/01/13

      Words are the the important thing in novels, agreed .However, what about pictorial books of subjects like photography and art?  Besides, books don’t always only contain words and those with illustrations aren’t only for children, as Philosopher says. (Blake. siiigh). Often the resolution and size of e-readers and tablets does them no justice, not forgetting the marvellous feel and smell of a quality paper book. It’s like holding a little world all of your own.

    • Philosopher says:

      12:53pm | 21/01/13

      ‘ike holding a little world all of your own.’ I like that, NSS.

      A good book in a Kindle
      Puts all heaven in a rage…

    • ByStealth says:

      05:57pm | 21/01/13

      Not quite correct Penguin. I suggest you and everyone here read ‘The Shallows’ by Nicholas Carr. The medium is the message.

    • Paul says:

      10:51am | 21/01/13

      I travel extensively for work.  I find that my e-reader, with its capacity for 10,000 books is much lighter and easier to carry than sufficient paperbacks to keep me amused for the duration of my trip.  Its also pretty good replacement for all those heavy technical manuals I used to have to carry.

      Its not my fault that the copyright holder, not always the same entity as the author, won’t allow me to share my book when I have finished reading it.

    • Redeker Plan says:

      11:17am | 21/01/13

      Hi Paul,

      If you wish to share eBooks that you’ve bought and paid for I would encourage you (and everyone else) to check out free Calibre eBook library software, then use the add-ons that can be found by Googling “apprentice alf” to remove the DRM. Doing this enables you to both share your eBooks (you can simply email the files to interested friends) and convert them to other formats (Kindle mobi files to ePub, for example).

      Please note Punchers, that I am NOT advocating “stealing” or uploading eBooks to the internet for anyone to access, or on-selling eBooks. I am advocating that if you have bought an electronic file, that you have the moral right to share it privately with family and friends, the same as you would have that right if you buy a paperback version of a book, or a DVD, or a CD. 

      I have been using this software set-up for about a year now, and as a result have been buying MORE eBooks then when I tried to obey the rules and only purchase authorised ePubs from approved Australian sellers. By sharing books I’ve turned friends and family on to some authors which as a result has generated more sales. Better for authors, if not my budget smile

    • S. Michael says:

      11:51am | 21/01/13

      “I am advocating that if you have bought an electronic file, that you have the moral right to share it privately with family and friends, the same as you would have that right if you buy a paperback version of a book, or a DVD, or a CD.”

      Um, I don’t think that even amounts to a moral right.  It’s certainly not a legal right.  The Copyright Act allows very limited reproduction for the purpose of archival copies, but in every other instance what you’re doing is stealing by the letter of the law—and also its by its spirit.

      Borrowing or loaning books to family and friends is one thing, mainly because there’s only the one copy and presumably you’re going to get that copy back at some point.

      An electronic duplicate of a file is never coming back to you and once there’s one copy, there’s theoretically unlimited copies.

    • Smurf Silva says:

      10:58am | 21/01/13

      I have a Kindle which I love due to it’s practicality. I am a major re-reader and my lifestyle demands a LOT of travel, ergo, prior to my kindle I was finding that in order just to have my condensed library of “favourites” with me was consuming more than half my packing allowance. The kindle allows me to take my library with me while still affordinng me the luxury of underwear.

      Do I still by books? Hell Yes. They get sent back to my storage locker waiting for my retirement days when I can finally have that library with the wheelie ladder in it!

    • Philosopher says:

      11:05am | 21/01/13

      ‘Dog Loves Books’ - anyone read it? Highly recommended.

    • Slothy says:

      11:09am | 21/01/13

      I’m just going to assume that this article is tongue-in-cheek, because the idea of someone claiming that e-readers - home of free, cheap, easily accessible books of all genres - are elitist because they don’tshow the rest of the world what you’re reading is hilarious to me.

      I notice that all the people refusing to give up their paperbacks seem to be rhapsodising about all sorts of things - smell, texture, ability to show off - that aren’t actually anything to do with the most important part of a book - the words. I love my collection of paperbacks. My copy of Lord of the Rings is held together by tape and contact and has been dropped in the bath multiple times and I love it. I will always have print books, if only for bath reading. But since I got my kindle, I have taken more chances on books, read books faster, with more consistency, and more comfortably. I’ve also improved my quality of life - BF late picking me up? No problems, I’ve got a kindle! Doctor running two appointments late? That’s cool, I’ll just be here with my kindle. Finished my book halfway through a long flight? No probs, just fire up the next one! All without overloading my purse (more than it already is).

    • marley says:

      02:34pm | 21/01/13

      Of course the article is tongue in cheek.  A lot of people seem to have missed that.  But it got the conversation going!  And I absolutely agree on the “quality of life” argument.

    • Lauren says:

      11:20am | 21/01/13

      People who read e books aren’t the snobs Its the haughty   “I ONLY read paper books!  E books are so inferior…”  crowd that are the snobs.  You find a lot of Really GREAT independent authors out there who are a far cry better that the “Twilight”  or ‘50 shades’  junk big publishers think you want to read.  You can buy the books in some cases as cheap as 99cents. And if I love a book and its only 99 cents I can gift them their own copy and they wont HAVE to return it next time I want to read it. 

      That and I make my living providing ebook formatting for the hard working and unappreciated by the “I only read paper books!” crowd, independent authors. 

      Seriously the paper snobs don’t know what they’re missing and their cultural development is cut off at the knees by overpaid execs in business suits only interesting in squeezing as much cash out of you as possible for every word
      I’m just waiting for them to release the Kindle Paperwhite.

    • JimBob says:

      12:49pm | 21/01/13

      Those people who go on an on about paper books - “I love the feel of paper”, “I love the way a book smells”, “I love the weight of the book”, etc. Here is the thing you have a fetish - yes, a fetish. Substitute book for practically any other object (try rubber for instance) and you will get the idea…

    • Audra Blue says:

      02:14pm | 21/01/13

      I adore books.  I can’t read enough, there’s never enough hours in the day.  I prefer hardcovers because of the way they feel in my hands and they tend to last longer than paperbacks., especially once I cover them in plastic.

      I also love Kindle.  If I’m hanging out to read the latest from my favourite author, it’s so easy just to download the book for my viewing pleasure while I wait for the hardcover to come in the mail (I don’t like paying Australia’s exorbitant book prices).

      Paperbacks were good in my younger years when I would read something and pass it on.  But now books are like my babies and I can’t bear to part with them - hence the hardcovers.  And hardcovers look best in neat rows on bookshelves.  But, I will more than happily read a paperback if it’s the only version in the library or if a friend loans me their copy.

      There should be no snobbishness about books.  They should be enjoyed in all their forms by everyone in the world

    • Philosopher says:

      02:32pm | 21/01/13

      as a bit of a book collector myself, hardbacks tend to keep their value, and some editions become more valuable over time, whereas paperbacks have no real resale value. Whenever I go into my little library, it’s like the world finally makes sense and everything is present and correct smile I’m sure Dr Johnson made some apposite comment on this, but there you have it.

    • Audra Blue says:

      03:48pm | 21/01/13

      I have a book mark with a quotation by Cicero:  “A room without books is as a body without a soul”.

      Amen to that dude.

    • Benevolent Rapscallion says:

      02:26pm | 21/01/13

      Over the years I’ve shared dozens of books - many of which never found their way back to me. Now I only pass them on when I’m getting rid of them. I have 4 bookshelves overflowing with real books. There just isn’t any more space available for them so I’m grateful for the Kindle. Since most of my books are purchased overseas, I’ve saved a considerable amount of money by buying the electronic version. I can sit outdoors and read whilst eating lunch, without needing to hold a book open or stop pages from turning in the breeze. The size and weight of the Kindle is a bonus too, as I travel a lot with my job.

    • Colin says:

      03:28pm | 21/01/13

      Wow, I had no idea that so many people who contribute to The Punch are also able to read and - apparently - not just the comic strips on their favourite tabloid either; but real, honest-to-goodness books with actual authors and everything..! I am standing amidst a field of giants.

      But, I must admit, my very favourite commentators are the ones from the self-publishers; not once did they even hint at the irony of their own actions….Bless their little cotton socks.

    • Lauren says:

      04:59pm | 21/01/13

      Wow Colin…  Authors aren’t allowed to have opinions on whether they prefer paper or e books?  Ironic is how the whole article is claiming that ebooks readers are snobbish and elitist all the while being snobbish that paper and ink book readers are the only ‘real’ readers out there.

    • marley says:

      06:01pm | 21/01/13

      @Colin - actually, I think self publishing on the internet is a great thing. It’s cheap, democratic, and the feedback tells the writer pretty quickly whether he’s got a career in writing or ought to be learning to hammer nails or, even worse, assess tax.  I know that, as a reader, I’d rather have the opportunity to check out an author on Smashword or Baen than have to rely on my local “bookstore” which has semi-literate bestsellers like Fifty Shades right up front.

    • SKA says:

      04:02pm | 21/01/13

      Not really stressed about hard copy, paper back or Kindle, for me, it’s all about the story I’m reading. I have a Kindle which has been a godsend because now I don’t run out of books anymore! (Or run out of space to store books)
      As to book loyalty… well I can remember going for a high school interview and being asked what the latest book I’d read was. Knowing that this was an important interview (at the time anyway…) and that I was taking a break and reading something fairly trashy, I told them about the book previous to it instead which happened to be an Isabel Allende book which sounded a lot better and had a far more interesting plot line for me to discuss with them. This was back in the days when Kindle didn’t exist. So wasn’t especially book loyal back then either.

      I think anything that gets people reading is great! (and to be honest, I like that I can read something trashy one day, something of literary quality the next without having people judge me either way.

    • Dann da mann says:

      04:26pm | 21/01/13

      Give me a real book instead of an ebook! There is something about a hardback or softback that seems to make the story much more inviting,personal and imagetive..

    • Bob says:

      06:16pm | 21/01/13


      A few weeks back I bought a version of Moby Dick published in Dublin in 1902 at my local secondhand book store.  Beautiful read leather cover, imprinted introductory pages, a dank musky smell and some kind of gold paint adhered to the top of the pages. 

      Every second page was stuck together along the top where the paint had dried long ago and after about 10 pages I realised that I was tearing the paint apart for the first time ever!  This book was printed in Dublin in 1902 and first read in Perth in 2012/13. 

      Take that Kindle!


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