Why I Still Love Printed Books


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.


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.


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.