Physical Books


A physical book. The feel of it in my hand. The way the text appears on the paper. I can’t stand it.

Recently, I started reading the book “Design is Storytelling” for work. The content of the book is good, but the physical format of the book really limits my enjoyment of it. It is full of tiny text. I can’t easily highlight key bits and go through them later. I only bought it as a physical book because no Kindle version is available. If I had it on my Kindle (or iPad, since it is full of color illustrations), I’m sure I would have finished reading it a few days after getting it. Instead, I have to remind/force myself to read it for a few minutes every day.

When I got my first Kindle five or so years ago, my love of reading was reawakened. The ability to easily take multiple books anywhere, in a small form factor, opens up more opportunities to get a little reading in. Even if I forget to bring my Kindle, I can use the Kindle app on my iPhone to pick up right where I left off. And holding a Kindle in one hand (or even my iPad in two hands), or resting it on my knee, is much more comfortable than holding any physical book.

My eyesight is no longer what it once was. Being able to adjust the typeface, font size, and lighting of my Kindle is so much more accommodating than a physical book. When I have to read a physical book, it feels like I’m taking a huge step backwards.


4 replies on “Physical Books”

I agree and disagree. There are many times I want a hard copy of a book, especially at night reading in bed. Other times I find the digital version is just what I need. I would hate to see actual hard copies disappear. It’s fun to go into a library or bookstore and just browse. It’s just not the same digitally.

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You bring up an important point. While I would never choose to read a physical book over a digital version of the same book, browsing in a library or bookstore is more enjoyable to browsing online.


I’ve found electronic reading to be valuable for the portability, adaptive screen and text size, easy highlighting, and quick dictionary reference to look up a word or phrase. Not to mention the whole web at the ready to research if you’re online on the device.

One fun discovery recently was my local library checks out ebooks to Kindle, iBooks, and mobile web formats — super cool to save buying it on Amazon.

I’ve found, however, that I still love hard copies for a few specific cases. Non-fiction technical books with lots of code examples, and special books I want to keep on my desk for daily re-reading and referencing. I’ve gotten rid of most of my books now, about 100 of the best “favorites, must-haves.”

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