The Decline of Printed Books

BooksI was at the optometrist office a few days ago reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” An actual book and not on my Nook. The optometrist commented that he was surprised to see me reading an actual book. That got me thinking a little. It’s all about reading on a tablet these days. You can store a ton of books and you don’t usually have to pay as much for an electronic copy than a real one. Bookstores have been going out of business in droves and the last survivors are the ones that are bargain bookstores or have a good online presence. It’s a bit sad to think that since I do love bookstores. I’ve definitely contributed to the problem though because I rarely buy books and if I do it’s usually online. I usually end up doing a mix of reading from my Nook but sometimes reading an actual book.

The first bookstore I loved going to was a Waldenbooks in a nearby mall. Anyone heard of it? It might be a Midwest thing. It was a small chain that only had a few stores. My sister and I loved going there and would end up sitting on the floor in between some shelves flipping through some books. Later on Waldenbooks was taken over by Borders. Which in turn eventually went bankrupt. They didn’t have a good online presence. I loved anything written by Beverly Clearly when I was younger. As I grew older I started reading Nancy Drew mysteries, Sweet Valley High, and then so on. I love being able to see where I am in the book and flipping through the pages. I even like the smell of books! That’s one thing I can never say about a Nook.

I’m still buying books every now and then, but only the ones I really like. It is much much easier to have a ton of books on a Nook to choose from! I still prefer to read from a book, but there are pros and cons to each.

Hardcover, softcover, e-books
I would say Amazon basically took over the market for books. It was so much cheaper to buy on Amazon than in any book store! E-books then appeared and took a big bite of the market. E-books are very inexpensive. Soft cover books are generally a few dollars more. Hard cover books a lot more and can be pretty pricey depending on the quality. I don’t generally buy soft cover books because they are of such low quality that they don’t last long. If there is a title I really like, then I will buy it in hard cover so I can keep it for as long as possible. I’m pretty picky though so I don’t end up spending too much. Plus of course I always try to find the best deal possible!

From an environmental perspective
A ton of trees have been saved because less books are being printed! Yeah right? It’s true that less books means less trees chopped down. So that’s a good thing. If people are more selective in book buying or just buy e-books then they can save money and trees. There’s also the alternative of buying books made from recycled paper.

I still love going to a book store though for the experience and being able to physically browse books. There’s more satisfaction to looking through shelves of books than flipping through a list online. Plus bookstores sometimes have really good sales and bargains.


No matter how much I love electronics and their usefulness, I still love being able to have the physical object. There’s more satisfaction in reading a physical book and seeing that you’re near the end of an exciting story. With an e-book all you can see is the page number! I also love being able to buy a nicely bound hard cover book that I can cherish for years.

Are you a book lover or do you read on a tablet?

6 thoughts on “The Decline of Printed Books

  1. I’m of the same opinion as you. It’s SOOO much more convenient with an e-reader, but I do miss physical books. And the smell! I love a new book smell 🙂

    1. New book smell is good:P Sometimes used books have their own distinctive smell too. Plus dropping a book into water won’t kill it, but the e-reader might have some issues with that!

  2. I prefer ebooks for three reasons: I live out of my backpack and can’t possibly carry physical books, they are easier to organize and access, and they, arguably, are better for the environment. This last point was one I was really excited about when I got my first e-reader, but I’ve since found that they break easily, at least the Kindle, causing them to often get replaced, which is not exactly environmentally friendly.

    I also like the accessibility of the built-in dictionary. One thing I miss is being able to write notes in the margin of the book!
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    1. Those are really good points for an e-reader. I’ve only had one Nook and so far it’s been good! Haha you’re one of those people who write in books. I always thought it was interesting to see what other people think. Sometimes I find notes in library books.

  3. I’m so torn over this! I have a Kobo and I do enjoy it. It stays in my bag and when I’m out somewhere and have some time to kill, I pull it out. I also always have a physical book on the go one my nightstand to read before bed. Plus, there’s just something satisfying about a nice, full bookcase!
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    1. I’ve always wanted a room that I could turn into a library! Not just one bookcase but wall to wall and ceiling to ceiling of books! For now I’ll settle for a bookcase full of books!

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