Yes, Dear Reader, an E-book is a Real Book

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on May 23, 2012 in Books |

DEAR WRITER: I am a young-at-heart reader.
Some of my friends say an e-book isn’t a book at all.
Daddy says, ‘If you see it on the Observation Desk it must be so.’
Please tell me the truth; is an e-book a real book?”


READER, your friends are wrong. They are stuck in an ancient world. They cannot adapt with the times and long for the days when oral storytelling was the main form of sharing tales. Human nature dictates they fight against any form of change or evolution.

Yes, READER, an e-book is a real book. It is as much a book as a song played on an iPod is real music or verse scribbled on a bathroom wall is a real poem. A print book is not a book itself, not if you take a look at all the definitions of the word. “Book” is a noun, a verb, an adjective. It can be a set of matches or a record of bets. It can be making a reservation or entering an official charge against a criminal. It can describe a department in a store.

An e-book not a book! Do your friends also not believe in magic? Magic is having hundreds of stories at your fingertips with one click of a button. It’s escaping into a world you never experienced on this plane of existence, whether historical, realistic, or fantastical. It’s feeling a character is so real you mourn their loss when the story ends.

No, you can’t physically flip an e-book’s pages or smell its moldering pages, but none of that makes a book. The words are the important part. They are woven together into sentences and paragraphs that can bring a story to life in your mind. Therein lies the power of a book, the divine communication between writer and reader to create. No need for paper and ink and bindings.

You can try and fathom what form a book will take in the future, but the form is not the thing. A million years from now a print book, an e-book, a feed directly into your brain, they will all be real books. Care not about how you get the story, care about getting it. Read print books, read e-books. Just read. Fill yourself with the knowledge, emotions, fun, love that is a good book and you will have a rich life indeed.

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  • Kell Andrews says:

    Lovely post! I think e-books have made us consider (as you have expressed so well) what a book really is.

  • Mirka Breen says:

    The deepest reality of a book is the imprint it leaves in our minds and hearts. Yes, E-books are real when they leave ‘residue.’
    What E-books don’t have is the ‘thingness’ of paper.

  • Unknown says:

    The best part about E-books is that you lose the clutter and dust of real books. My son has an allergy to dust. We all have iPads now and greatly enjoy reading, not to mention the cost is far less than real books.

  • Anonymous says:

    To Mirka who said:
    The deepest reality of a book is the imprint it leaves in our minds and hearts.

    I loved that. Very well put.

    As long as the words touch you it doesn't matter what its printed on.

  • Anna Staniszewski says:

    I'm an equal-opportunity book hoarder. Any book (e-book, paper book, etc.) will do. 🙂

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Kell. I hope that e-books bring in different kinds of readers in addition to making us bookies think about books in new ways.

    Mirka, I agree with Anonymous that your comment was well said.

    Unknown, when you wrote real books referring to print books, I hope you meant "real" books…quotes to emphasize print books are not the only real books. 🙂

    Anna, I am also an equal-opportunity book hoarder…and a big fan of the library as well.

  • Lisa Lickel says:

    Besdies the really best part about being able to make the print different sizes, reading on the treadmill makes up for not having to the library. If you can check it out of a library, it's a real book.

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    Hi, Lisa! When I'm nursing The Boy at night, I find it's much easier to read on my Nook than it is to read a print book. He doesn't get distracted by me turning the pages!

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