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Paper or digital books?

I was asked on Twitter (the account was removed years later):

I was wondering, do you order paperback versions of the books you read or you use kindle or something else?

I’ve been reading digital books for many, many years, but in the last few, I’ve switched almost entirely to paper. There are several reasons for that:

  • I’m looking at screens most of my waking time. Paper books are a way for me to rest my eyes a bit and detach from technology, especially before going to sleep.
  • Paper books don’t lock me into a platform. I buy digital books if they come with an open PDF or ePub that I can use the way I want, or if I want to consume them in an audio format. Also, a paper book can last a century.
  • I can lend paper books to others without a need to have particular devices or accounts. I do this a lot.
  • Having books arranged on a bookshelf makes it easier for me to look at them, think about ideas in them, and take them out and explore. I never do this with digital books because they’re not in plain sight. Also, bookshelves are neat.
  • The possibility to open several paper books at the same time is not critical, but comes in handy when researching and cross-referencing.

At the same time, I’m hoping that digital books will evolve in a way that would enable some of the current upsides of paper books. The combination would make digital books my primary choice.

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