Paper vs. Pixels – The End!

I can’t quite believe it’s been a whole month since we joined Laure Eve on her #papervspixels challenge – yet here we are! For the entirety of April we have been sticking to only one format – be that print, ebook or audiobook – to expand our reading horizons and chase us out of reading ruts. We’ve loved watching your videos and reading your updates – because it seems like you’ve been struggling as much as we had.

For me, sticking to paper was actually a real joy – not only did I manage to make a big dent in my bedside reading pile, but there was something relaxing about picking up a physical book after a long day in front of a screen. That’s not to say I didn’t miss my Kindle though – just for convenience! I love being able to quickly fit in a couple of pages here and there… which led to a pretty big cheat from me half way through the month, eek! #papervspixels has really just highlighted to me how much more I read with the choice of both – I definitely won’t be getting rid of my ereader anytime soon!


Here’s what the other Hot Key volunteers thought…

I’ve grudingly come to see the benefits of reading pixelly – it did feel like I was reading faster and possibly more than on paper. I’m worried I’ve got used to life without the weight of a papery book in my bag but equally, there’s a pile of beautiful books by my bedside that I feel horribly guilty for having ignored for a month, and can’t wait to get stuck into them – weight notwithstanding.
The main downside for me is possibly an odd one but I can’t help feeling it just looks wrong to read a book on a phone. (I don’t have any dedicated e-reader.) I could just be farting about playing Jewel Quest or Candy Crush. Particularly because of having a young daughter, I feel that if I’m going to be reading my own book and not engaging with her for any time* I’d rather she see it was because I was reading a book than thinking I was just playing about on my phone.
* Not that I do ignore her …  I am an exemplary parent etc etc.
Reading in pixel form makes reading a lot more convenient I must say! I tend to read more than one book at a time and like to switch between different genres of books depending on how I’m feeling. On the first day of the challenge I purchased a whole bundle of ebooks (at a great cost!) including Americanah, Burial Rites, Kiss Me First and Divergent. All quite different books and it was so easy to flick back and forth between them on my Kindle or on my iphone, without having to lug them around with me at all times. I also found I was able to speed through a lot of books quite easily when reading pixels, so pixels are definitely good for slow readers like myself. However, I really did miss the feel of having a physical book in my hand, and it was very difficult looking around bookshops, seeing all the pretty books on the shelves and being able to buy them but not being able to read them straight away (sooo tempting!). Nevertheless, the challenge has definitely opened me up to the pros of reading pixels, and I’ll definitely consider dedicating  a whole month to pixels at some point again.
I’m afraid things did not improve much for me and audio books after the halfway point. I’m just too easily distracted when trying to listen to audio. I’m not someone who can just sit still, and while Sanne talked about listening to audio books while I exercise, that would require me… exercising. So, for Paper vs Pixels vs Audio, I get a massive fail.
Sara OC
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I’ve become buddies with my Kindle Fire! We go everywhere together. I read four books this month (The Fault in Our Stars, Rooftoppers, The Savages and The Name of the Star) and I know I’ll keep using it, especially because it gives me so much freedom! I don’t have to worry about how much space I have left on my shelves (none) or how heavy a book is (I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones). That said, I can’t wait to dive into the pile of shiny graphic novels that’s been waiting next to my bed!

I’m going to be frank – I hated this challenge when I first started it. I am an unconditional lover of physical books. Bullk 600 page hardback? Don’t even mind carrying it around. Plus you always have paper on you if you need to jot something down (yes I write in books. Don’t kill me). But what I love most about physical books is that if you enjoy them, if they mean something to you (for whatever reason) you have them – they’re right there on your shelf ready to be pulled out, flipped through and read again. I also attach an unhealthy amount of sentimentality and value to inanimate objects, books included. I love knowing that the sand that falls out of my copy of THE END OF THE AFFAIR is from the first time I read it on a beach in Spain when I was 19 and it meant so much to me I did my dissertation on it, again using the same copy that is now coffee stained and highlighted and annotated beyond resembling a book. I’ll always have that copy and not only will looking at or reading that book transport me to wartime Clapaham Common, but also to sunshine filled Spain and an overheated 1970s university library. That’s why I love physical books.

For me ebooks just don’t do it. I feel there’s something lacking and impersonal about them. So I spent about 10 days humming and hawing over what to read – which again I hated as I always know what I want to read – as I either already owned the books in physical form, or if I didn’t have it yet, I was paranoid it would become my new favourite book and I wouldn’t have a physical copy of it. That was too much to bear. BUT eventually I took the plunge and ordered LACE by Shirley Conran at the recommendation of Naomi and Jenny the 600+ page guilty pleasure 1970s sensation – even though I was certain I would love it and would want a physical copy. Love it I did (seriously it is brilliant), but surprisingly I also really enjoyed reading it on my Kobo! It was speedy, easy on the commute, and comfortable to read in bed!  I even bookmarked bits that I really loved! And do you know what – it’ll be as easy to find them as it is with a physical book on my shelf. Probably easier.

But am I a convert? No, sorry. I love my physical books too much. I’ve missed them too much. I’ve missed the feel of the front covers, the sound of a page turning, flicking through to see where I was, showing them to my friends and buying them in bookshops. Yes I will probably buy one or two ebooks (I really need to finish Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series and I race through them in no time so I’m going to do that on my Kobo) but I will never be the girl who ‘stocks up’ my e-reader before a holiday – holiday book shopping is the best thing about a holiday – or looks for book recommendations on a e-reader website and instead of a bookshop. Sorry pixels and welcome back beautiful paper!

How did you get with reading just paper, audio or pixels? Let us know on #papervspixels or in the comments below!