Would you trade your books for an electronic version?

Amazon recently released a new version of its Kindle book reader, a device that allows users to buy and read books, newspapers and other publications in electronic form. Would you trade your books for an electronic version?

No. Amazon’s system allows them to remove books from your Kindle, and limit the number of downloads. You don’t own ebooks, you just rent them. -Ryan, St. Paul, MN

I heart books! But for travel purposes I’d really like a kindle to cut down on bulk/damage. -Melissa, Mankato, MN

Never! Ill keep my books along with the letters i recieve in the mail, my typewriters and my records. Computers crash, are too expensive and break down way too easy and way too often. When they work like the phone I’m texting from they are convenient. -Noah, Hastings, MN

For something i just want to read i wouldn’t mind a kindle but books that i’m passionate about losing the feel of the paper and the binding would be like the loss of the big pieces of art we lost when vinyl records went away. -Brandon Carriere, Le Sueur, MN

Novels-YES!, business and personal-NO! I think that both have a purpose, but we talk as if a person has to use one or the other. -Harvey Rupert

I think both ebooks and traditional books will coexist. I see a day when we will consume most of our media on electronic devices, and traditional books will be ordered as a boutique item on a one by one basis where you will have choices in paper, binding, and personalized messages. -Simon, St. Paul, MN

No way i am too vain i like displaying to all who visit my home all the books I’ve read. -Mike, Savage, MN

I have a Kindle. While I love it for reading all the novels I read (and would give away if I had purchased them), and for all the free sample chapters that help me shop , it will never fully replace books for me. I want to own some in hard copy, write in many, and hold others. Call me sentimental, but the visceral experience of holding or using a book I own is fundamental to my daily life. -Lynne Silva-Breen

What about passing on your favorite books to your kids or nieces and nephews? How many times have you “lost” electronic documents when your device “crashes?” I would like to have books on a shelf for my 10 year old to turn on to. -Terry, St. Cloud, MN

You can’t take a paper book away from me like recently happened on the Kindle with some Orwell titles. I’ll keep the paper, thanks. -Brian

Regarding ebooks: Anything that saves a tree is worth it. -Alex, Red Wing, MN

Does anyone else see the irony of ”big brother” removing the Orwell books from kindle? -Brian, Grand Forks, MN

Not for me. I have more than 2000 research volumes. There is no way that most of these books will ever end up as an ebook. To say nothing of quality pictures. -anonymous text message

Absolutely not! I’m a 28 year old guy living in new york city and my most prized possession is my book shelf. -anonymous text message

No way! Aren’t we trying to find ways to depend LESS on electricity and energy? Books are easy to share, wonderful to hold, and do not require a plug-in! -anonymous text message

Half the fun of buying old books is reading what people wrote in them. If books are all put online, an entire genre of thoughtful gifts will disappear! -anonymous text message

Share your reply in the comments: Would you trade your books for an electronic version?

  • Shea Gustafson Peters

    Seven year old Shea says, “No, I like my books just fine, thank you.”

  • Sam Chase

    No way. There are too many bugs in the current Ebooks; the battery service costs are nearly half the cost of the unit.

    My books will be readable 100 years from now; not so with any Ebook and I never need any technology to read a book.

  • jane

    No way. There’s nothing like REAL things – real books you can touch, smell, linger over, go back pages to remember a detail here or there. REAL people and games rather than images on a screen; REAL photos one can touch, look at in your hand at any time, any palce without any electronic device, that you can put on a wall to glance at any time.

    The trend toward everything becoming virtual is a slippery slope that too many people are on – – and we will be in a science fiction future faster than we can imagine as we let more things happen to us rather than deciding and acting to make real things part of our days and lives.

  • pamela johnson

    I love my Kindle! I read at least 4 books a week and I travel frequently for business and pleasure. Being able to slip my thin little Kindle into my purse instead hauling several books with me on every trip has made my life much easier. And once students can get textbooks on an e-reader, think of the benefits. No more huge backpacks, no more packed lockers, no more forgetting one’s book at home! And the savings to school district’s will be huge. While I will always enjoy reading a “real” book, I don’t miss the touch and feel and physical heft of a book as much as I thought I would. I also really appreciate being able to enlarge the print on my Kindle after a long day when my eyes are tired.

  • Paul Gleich

    I started using the Kindle to read the newspaper while I was recovering from the flu last year. Newspapers and beds don’t mix very well…

    The paper is never late and I don’t have to go outside to get it. When I travel I don’t have to stop my paper delivery.

    So far I have not found a lot of the books that I am currently reading available on the Kindle but look forward to that changing.

    It’s strange to imagine but someday books will be as odd as long playing albums or slide carosels.

  • While I have used the Kindle iPhone application as well as another ebook reader, it in no way can replace a real book. The feedback from actual pages cannot be replicated electronically. I just recently bought a number of books from Half Price Books and plan to continue patronizing them.

  • Don Davison

    No, no! Never, never. Unh unh!

    No reading screen can ever replace the look and feel of a book, whether hardcover or paperback.

    I cannot even imagine going to a library and checking out a “file.”

    And who wants to take an electronic reader on a canoe trip?

  • Lisa R

    I cannot envision ever giving up reading a REAL book in my hands. My Aunt was a librarian and I grew up holding a book and turning the pages myself, thank you. The whole concept of an e-book is totally alien. No way will I give up my books!

  • I’ve had my Kindle since April, and I couldn’t live without it now! I find I read much faster on it than on physical books, and I can indulge my habit of choosing a novel or non-fiction– depending on my mood. TIME magazine is delivered to me even when I’m not home. When I’ve left the Kindle at home, it’s synced up with my iPhone for quick reading on-the-go.

  • Karl

    It’s not an either/or question. I’m 62 and I read real books every day. I also read newspapers online and listen to audible books. The Kindle is too restricted and too expensive. It has potential but it won’t replace books.

  • hsl

    Though I don’t yet own a Kindle, I don’t see this as an either/or question. Books offer many things for a writer that the Kindle can’t do, at least not yet. I can spread out dozens of reference texts and go from one to the other far easier than going screen to screen. I can write in them, dog ear them, and most importantly for those on a budget, buy them for less than a dollar at second hand book stores.

    Kindle’s greatest use may be for more ephemeral reading, newspapers (that I already read for free on line), or for the novel or casual interest book I don’t expect to ever look at again, but there will always be those “keepers” I can just pull off the shelf and go back to again and again. I don’t think books are in quite as much danger as newspapers for some time to come

  • John Dittrich

    I love my Kindle but I’m not planning on giving up my “real” books any time soon.

    The Kindle is great for those weeks when you’re living out of a suitcase. Bring one book or twenty books or two hundred books without paying the weight penalty that carting along “real” books inflicts.

    However, not everything is available for the Kindle as of yet. “Real” books definitely have the advantage of variety.

  • nt

    All of these aestetic sentiments are useless.

    At the risk of sounding like the crazy person hiding out in a compound, here’s a substantial concern.

    In the event of a nuclear war, which sadly, is more likely than most people hope, the “first strike” would be for someone to detonate a bomb high in the atmosphere. This would create a strong electromagnetic wave which would render permanently inoperable ALL (most) electronic devices. All of your eBook files would be gone forever.

    This is why any permanent knowledge you want to preserve (Webster’s unabridged, Physics, Chemistry, The Joy of Cooking, etc) needs to be maintained on paper.

    I tell this story to my college freshman every semester…

  • Deb Staley

    Maybe someday…

    For one thing, it does not make financial sense to me. I can go on-line and reserve a library book or two or three. Go to the library get the books. And maybe while at the library I will see another book that interests me, or one of the librarians will recommend a book. I take the books home and read them. If I drop the book it does not break.

    Yes, every so I have a library fine. I like supporting my local public library.

  • barb millard

    I love audio books in the car, but must have a real book in my purse, by my bed , next to my chair…..

  • Steve

    As someone who read 1984 before 1984, I’m worried by how easy it would be for Big Brother to use e-book technology to keep track of what people are reading. When folks are no longer able to pay cash for a physical book, watch out.

  • Ben


    Just as Theater didn’t totally replace Telling stories around a camp fire and Books didn’t totally replace Theater or Telling stories around a camp fire and Movies didn’t totally replace Books or Theater or Telling stories around a camp fire and TV didn’t replace Movies or …. and Video Games didn’t replace TV or … I Don’t see e-books Totally replacing paper books.

    It will however provide a new venue for story telling just like all the other inventions mentioned above did.

    Of course draconian 1984 practices by Amazon on the e-book 1984 doesn’t help their cause either.

  • Leslie Hittner

    I would gladly ADD an electronic book, but I would never “trade.” I would much rather drop a paperback in the water if I fall asleep while lounging in a hot bathtub than an electronic reader.

  • Virgil Dahlstrom

    I have collected books for many years and still purchase some, but I find that my Kindle is a wonderful “tool” for giving one the ability to carry a large variety of reading material. One can have Proust, Jane Austen, Tolstoy, Treasure Island, or the NY Times all in a gadget smaller than an old Readers Digest….and reading the instrument is easy on the eyes. (no back-light). Amazon is the best company, in my 80 plus years, I have ever dealt with. I feel there is room, in my life at least, for both. I love my Kindle….AND my books. They play different roles as, does the light rail and my car. Virgil in Minneapolis

  • carolyn kaehr

    No; I love books as they are.

  • Mary York


    I still want to support my local library by using their books and largely supporting them with OVERDUE FINES! However, we travel to Ubud, Bali each year to visit our son and family and I am looking forward to bringing one small Kindle instead of 4-5 books in my luggage! I’m in the process of downloading the books I want to read there in January and will not be limited to just 4 or 5!

    Thank you, Kindle!

    Mary York

  • Carol Raukar

    The real book is a MUST. Same with my newspaper! Sending books back and forth to friends in other states gives us another way to keep in touch and helps the postoffice. Reading the other comments makes me think the Kindle has its place too. I hope printing presses don’t become obsolete!

  • Sara

    I love my local library- so until the library offers free down loads- I’ll stick to books.

  • Karen

    No. I love real books for two reasons.

    One, I can underline parts that I want to remember or come back to.

    Two, when I was growing up, I would borrow books from my family’s extensive collection of books and I want to build up a nice little library for when my children are old enough to read.

  • Mary

    Noooo! Why would I want to give up something I love just to stare at yet another screen? There are too many screens in our lives.

  • Karen Kasel

    I have not even considered using an electronic version of a book. I have a love affair with the library. I walk in, and, all those books!!!

    I enjoy the physicality of a book. The feel of its pages, smooth or rough? Its edges, deckled or smooth? What does the cover feel like? Etc….

    One of my favorite books “The People of Paper” by Salvador Plascencia, has certain words cut out of the book. No matter how many times I read this book, coming upon the cut out words is still one of my most enjoyable moments, and it is something you could never experience in a virtual book.

  • kennedy

    The biggest benefit of a Kindle is the convenience of having a library in a single device. The biggest drawback is the cost. The money saved not buying a Kindle will easily fund many years of trips to the library, even if one includes the price of a gourmet coffee every trip.

  • Kate

    When they first started to get popular, I never thought I’d like an e-reader. There is just something about that book collection to keep, re-read and enjoy.

    However, just before a vacation I gave in and bought the Kindle2. I now cannot get enough of it! I will still buy and keep paper books as well. But I have found that I always keep my Kindle with me – it is so convenient. I also find that my “library” has expanded in genre through the Kindle. Instead of “I’ll think about that book in the future” I download it right away. That way I is ready for me, and I am much more likely to read a wider variety!

  • Alison McPhail

    I am a 50/50 person. I love looking at a wall full of shelves of books. All the different colors, sizes and textures, not to mention that each book I have read (and liked) becomes an old friend to me and looking/touching my collection is like looking through a photo album of great memories. But on the other hand I have nothing against technology and really like the portability of many of the ‘gadgets’ I can use to read. So I think I will use it but if I like the book, I will still buy the hardcopy to keep in my library.

  • Ryan

    After reading about a dozen books on my iPhone, I am now reading a “regular” book and I hate it! Not only do I have to be concerned about lighting conditions, I also need to worry about my bookmark falling out! I can’t scale the text or look up a definition by tapping a word. Digital books have perfected the medium.

  • dave b

    Absolutely not! I have a few books that are over a century old…I need nothing new to ‘access’ their data. Books are timeless technology.

  • Linda

    I have no desire to give up my “real” books. I understand the convenience of having digital books if traveling, or for other special circumstances. I just can’t picture getting all cozy in my robe in front of the fireplace and a cup of tea next to me, holding my Kindle! There’s something very special about touching, page turning and the scent of a book in hand!

  • Kirstin

    Like so many others who have posted, I just cannot imagine giving up the touch, smell, and sounds of a real book. And how nice to have walls lined with books, for anyone who ever walks into my house to pick up and read in their spare time! They’re so warm and personable – like pets. I’d never trade in my dog for a robot!

  • jimmy

    I would gladly trade this ridiculous News Q tripe for the old-fashioned radio reporting I used to love.

  • Suzie

    No. I had the opportunity to check out Kindles and the Sony Reader, and it was rather disappointing, lifeless and at times annoying. (the screen flashes each time you turn the page, really annoying. I’ve heard that the Ipod/Iphones are smoother.) They have a long way to go if they want to convince me. * I could see how this would be very handy if a person travels a lot.

    I love real books, I love the print, photos, and illustrations – on paper. I don’t think they will ever really replace actual books.

  • Jenny

    As explained by Giles on Buffy The Vampire Slayer:

    “Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a – it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It’s-it’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly. ”

  • I would do so, with a few exceptions.

    I own a first generation Kindle, and I definitely prefer it for reading standard text.

    It’s no good for reading books with an important visual component. Comics, picture books, illustrated books, text books, and most how-to guides are just no good on the small screen in black and white.

  • Peter Schuman

    No. Screens are much harder to read and much more likely to give eyestrain. I also can’t envision eight or twelve Kindles scattered over a table while using multiple books for research (or just for pleasure – I don’t read just one book at a time). Would researchers have to carry around a dozen Kindles all the time? I don’t think so. The notion of having Amazon stripping a Kindle of a book that was already paid for is also highly displeasing.

  • Pat Hammer

    No way! I love books. I love the way a new book feels and smells. I love cracking a brand new book open for the first time. I love opening a much-read book and knowing that someone else had the same experience I’m about to have. I love it when someone has made margin notes in the book I’m reading. The feel of paper is a sensual treat that only enhances the content.

  • Mark

    My family now owns 3 Kindles. Although there are pros and cons we generally like them better than regular books. We can all share the same book and read it at the same time. I can prop up the Kindle and read while exercising — it doesn’t flop shut and I can make the font larger. In fact, I prefer readiing to watching DVDs while using the cross-trainer. It is very convenient for travel — able to store hundreds of books. Downloads are extremely fast. It has free (but limited) internet access. Some books are not yet available on the Kindle but many books are

  • Stephanie

    I would not trade my books for a Kindle. I love it when ppl see a book in my hand and that sparks a spontanious conversation on the author, the topic of the book, etc. Also, when ppl enter my great room they stand in front of my book shelf, pick-out thier favorite author or books and, again, a conversation ensues. An instant conection is made with other ppl when they see a book that they too have read, or an author that they love.

  • Lyn

    I love my Kindle for many of the above mentioned reasons but also because my eyes are beginning to give me some grief. I can only manage to read most print for about 1/2 hour; but I can adjust the size of the print on the kindle and read for hours. Main problem, it is too easy to get yet another book especially after I have heard the author interviewed on MPR

  • Jen

    I am a huge fan of physical books. I am somewhat worried about the recent incident with Amazon. Overall I am just glad that people are reading, be it paper books or on a Kindle.

  • Ken Meyer

    I will not pay for any e-reader if I do not receive control over the content I purchased. If I can’t save a DRM-free copy to backup and even read on my personal hard drive, I’m not interested.

  • nancy zhao

    I am hearing echos of my grandparents. Why are people so negative about change. I’m sure when the printing press was invented all the scribes and the grandparents were up in arms about how this would corrupt society.

    get some perspective people.

  • Paul

    Wow. Some much for MPR listeners being “progressive.” Have any of you actually tried a reader? But go ahead — keep circling ’round your bookstore parking lot looking for a space, only to find that your title is not in stock. Or wait five days and pay twice as much to have trucks burn gas to supply a physical object that will likely have little value in ten years. And keep paying those library fines, waiting in line at the post office. Maybe you should give up debit cards — paper money is so special, right? Me, I’ve got better things to do with my time and money. Oh yeah, and it might be better for the environment too.

  • Mark

    I have a Kindle, I choose to use the Amazon Ipod app that allows me to read my Kindle books on my Ipod Touch. Yet when it comes down to it, until I see true revolution in how technology is employed to IMPROVE the reading experience in a wholesale fashion, instead of just repackaging it and adding some conveniences, I would rather have a device I can drop, get sand in, spill my coffee on and the like; the best technology we have today meeting these criteria is called a (paper) book.

    The company I work for (Live Ink, in Bloomington) offers a solution implementing technology to enhance reading electronically but the e-book industry is still in it’s infancy when it comes to how best to deliver consumable electronic reading material. I feel it is not so much the device that matters, but the technology behind it which will revolutionize how we read and ultimately win converts to e-books.

  • Mark

    I have a Kindle, I choose to use the Amazon Ipod app that allows me to read my Kindle books on my Ipod Touch. Yet when it comes down to it, until I see true revolution in how technology is employed to IMPROVE the reading experience in a wholesale fashion, instead of just repackaging it and adding some conveniences, I would rather have a device I can drop, get sand in, spill my coffee on and the like; the best technology we have today meeting these criteria is called a (paper) book.

    The company I work for (Live Ink, in Bloomington) offers a solution implementing technology to enhance reading electronically but the e-book industry is still in it’s infancy when it comes to how best to deliver consumable electronic reading material. I feel it is not so much the device that matters, but the technology behind it which will revolutionize how we read and ultimately win converts to e-books.

  • Booklover for Life

    How can they ever simulate the delicious smell of a library. I still remember how my first library smelt. It has been 20 years since then, the building isn’t even there anymore. No I will never give up my books.

  • Wayne

    Kindle is not a book at all. It’s a way of reading a book. You simply can’t equate it to an actual book.

    Reading real books may remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere because the carbon remains locked up in the paper while newly planted trees take more CO2 from the air.

  • Lora

    NO way, I have had a long standing love affair with books. They not only provide information they are a sensuous experience, I so love the way a book feels in my hands, how the smell of the ink ozzes from the pages, the different colors, shapes and sizes of the text. No two books are the same, and when I am done, I can hold a book in my arms and remember what we have shared. Reading a book is not just a way to learn or relax, it is an exchange between me and an author. What did Emily Dickinson say, “reading a great piece of poetry makes your head pop.” Electronic books can give you information. I doubt they will ever make your head pop.

  • I needed to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I’ve got you book marked to check out new things you post…