Thursday 15 December 2011

BBC Documentary: Books - The Last Chapter?

If you live in the UK, there is a nice documentary on iplayer at the moment called Books - The Last Chapter? (here)  It's mainly about whether e-readers will ever take over from printed books but it's also a nice story of why we all love books so much, with a presenter that is clearly a bibliophile.

I don't know yet where I stand on the issue of e-readers.  I will always be a lover of printed books, especially beautiful editions such as the Penguin hardback classics, but I also appreciate the convenience of my kindle.  If I'm going to buy a standard paperback, I'll probably buy a digital version.  It's likely to be cheaper, it saves space in my house and I can access it instantly.

In the future, I can see my library of digital books growing and my library of printed books shrinking to much loved childhood editions and 'special' books that I will always cherish. I have some battered copies of childhood classics like Little Women and A Little Princess that I will never be parted from, likewise my hardback adult favourites like Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, but for my three star rated books, I'm indifferent whether they are printed, from the library or on my kindle.

How about you?  Do you have any strong views either way?


  1. I just don't see myself ever loving an e-reader as much as I love my printed books. The infiltration of electronics into EVERY aspect of our lives just makes me increasingly sad. But, realistically, e-readers are probably here to stay so I may as well get used to seeing them around, like I had to with iPods and cell phones way back when - and now I have both! Whether I'll ever get an e-reader or not remains to be seen. I won't say 'never' but I'm going to hold out for as long as I can. The title of your TV show sounds a bit ominous, though. I think I'll go hug my bookshelf now . . .

  2. I agree with all your points. There are definitely some books that I love having in hardback and there are books that I love to own so I can lend them out to others (though this is also becoming a little easier in the digital world).

    But like you said, for most books that are just going to be one time reads for fun, I don't have much preference of paperback or digital. The documentary sounds really interesting - I'll keep an eye out for it in the US!

  3. I was vehemently against them right from the beginning. I still am, even though I own one!

    I adore paper books. I like holding them, smelling them and collecting them and an e-reader will never replace that. But you just can't get round the fact that e-readers are more practical. They're easier to transport and store.

    It irritates me when e-books aren't actually that much cheaper than regular books though. I know they're subject to VAT and paper books aren't, but if I'm not getting something tangible then I want to pay much, much less.

  4. I love "real" books, but I find reading e-books really convenient as well. For example, I first read The Great Gatsby as an e-book, but, because I loved it so much, I bought a paper copy. Real books, I guess, will always have a place in my heart and in my shelves.

  5. I have come very close to getting a Nook lately, but at the last minute, I don't go through with it. I'm not sure why. I know that I love the feel of a book in my hands, and I also know that I don't love reading for long periods on the computer, so I remain wary of the e-reader.
    My husband loves his Kindle, though, and when I see the convenience of it, it makes me think...

  6. I'm getting to the point where my average rated books I tend to donate, give away, trade in at the used bookshop. My e-Reader is filled with classics for the most part right now. I'm getting more to the point that unless it's part of a series where I have to have all the books, I'm mostly just keeping books that I really like. Special editions are starting to pop up in my classics section too. I think I might start getting some of those Penguin hardbacks you've mentioned as well after I read some more from my e-Reader and see what books I come to love to the point where I want them on my bookshelf.

  7. Trish, I still have a mobile phone that only makes calls and texts. It doesn't have a camera or the internet or music or any of that .... my friends think I am strange! But I do like my kindle.

    Lisa, It's probably people like us that will lead to the demise of the printed book :P

    Hanna, I agree about e-books not always being cheaper. I want it to be considerably cheaper before I will buy it, less even than the price of buying it second hand. The amazon daily deals can be very good though.

    Darlyn, I do that too, read a book digitally first and then buy a nice copy to keep. Sometimes I prefer to read larger classics on my kindle as they are somehow less intimidating.

    The Book Girl, I can only speak for the kindle, but it is nothing like reading on a lighted screen, thankfully. It's much kinder on the eyes. I still love my printed books too though.

    Bookishhobbit, classics are good on ereaders as they are not so intimidating. And you should definitely buy Penguin hardbacks, they are more money but so beautiful!

  8. loved this programme, although I thought it was biased towards books. I own a Kindle, but it hasn't stopped my buying books, it just gives me another medium in which to experience great literature.