Why I Still Love Printed Books

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I'm like most Americans, according to the New York Times: I read more printed books than ebooks.

I have two different tablets with lots of ebooks and take one or the other on trips, especially book tours where I'm gone for a week or two.

But despite the ability to download an impulse purchase at 3 AM, I keep adding to my library of thousands of printed books in history, fiction, biography, politics for these reasons:

One is production quality. I've found books with illustrations or maps can be a little wonky in ebook form. And though typos show up all the time in printed books, I rarely find problems like whole pages incorrectly printed in italics.

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I also tend to forget that I actually have a specific ebook, whereas my new printed books are clearly visible in various TBR piles in my study.

Another is health-related. Because I have maintenance insomnia, I've been advised to avoid computer and tablet screens for at least an hour before bed.

Physical books take me back to the joy of being a kid with my first library card in a magnificent Gilded Age Manhattan library.

They also remind me of great times spent in book stores of all kinds in cities I've traveled to here and abroad.

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Then there's the fact that as an author, I don't just underline or star passages in my books, I make lengthy comments for myself which I sometimes reference at the front of the book, and I can't do that in the same way with an ebook.

But the key element is immersion. I can lose myself more readily in a well-written book when it's spread open in front of me, as opposed to when it's on either one of my tablets and I'm scrolling rather than turning physical pages. I love the smell and weight and feel of a book. And when I'm reading a fascinating hardcover, those two pages side-by-side still feel like double doors opening to a new world.

Lev Raphael is the author of The Edith Wharton Murders and 24 other books in genres from memoir to mystery which you can find on Amazon.