What’s this musing about: Why I like physical books better than ebooks.
Sometimes I think I like making my life more difficult for no reason. This has always been true, especially when considering technology. Case in point: it took me years to buy my first iPod. No big deal if you are not a music lover. Except, I am a huge music lover. I was the fool with the CD sleeve attached to his driver’s side visor. And yes, I was also the fool who listened to two songs on a CD and then immediately wanted to switch to another CD to be eclectic. The iPod was MADE for people like me. And to this day, I have no good reason to explain what the hell took me so long.
Which brings me to ebooks. I don’t use them. I have a Nook from way back when and I don’t even know if my wife threw it out without me paying attention. She probably did, but I’ll forget to check. An ebook would be perfect for my lifestyle. I take a train and a solid mile trek to work every day. Limiting the weight in my backpack is probably optimal. And I travel from time to time as well. And guess what happens? I end up lugging around a brick of a book (thank you, Mr. Chernow) wherever I go. Don’t even get my started with weight limits on checked bags. It kills me every time.
And yet, the current count of my library behind me 543 history books. They currently take up a whole room in the house and much to my wife’s consternation, I do not intend to slow down. It has been pointed out to me (repeatedly and correctly) that an ebook would make a hell of a lot more sense.
My retort is usually the same. I love the feel of a physical book. Holding it in your hands, putting in the bookmark when you take a break, feeling the weight of it. All of these things are valid. History nerds are aware of just how valuable a book used to be. The mark of a person could be directly correlated to how big their library was. That is true.
But, really, it’s about my ego. I love having the physical manifestation of the book I read. I love trying to convince non-history nerds that they are missing out. I recently had a party at the house where a few people challenged some of my historical perspectives. When challenged, I went right to the source in an effort to soothe my own ego, of course, but also to see if I could find yet another convert. They didn’t fall for it. But I still have the book just in case.