Just not the same

One book, two different reading styles.

This is Barrack-Room Ballads, by Rudyard Kipling.  It’s one of my favorite books, and that’s what it looks like on my iPhone.  It’s a handy format, it goes with me wherever I am.  My iPhone carries a library on it that I could never carry with me, over 100 books stored in my pocket.

But it doesn’t have any soul.

Because this is also a copy of Barrack-Room Ballads by Rudyard Kipling.

The only indicator of when this particular version of the book came in to being is the name “Atwood” in the front cover, under which is written “Feb, 1944”.  I had to stop and think about that for a minute.  66 years ago, this book changed hands; and it kept traveling until it ended up here, in my hands.

So while I dearly love technology, and the ability to read great works of fiction, carry hundreds of books with me wherever I go, I think that when I’m reading Kipling I’ll keep it in the traditional format.


  1. Agreed, 100%. I love my Nook, but when I get an e-book, I still try to get a physical copy, too. The ebook is for convenience, the real book is for me.

    And for sheer relaxation and pleasure, nothing beats a real, physical book.

  2. I have a lot of trouble with eBooks, I am way too in love with the smell of old paper and the beauty of a hard cover. There is, in Powell’s in Portland, a rare book room that houses a bunch of very old original copies of some great books. The last time I was in there I found one of the original productions of Through the Looking Glass, one of my favorites. If I had had the money to spend, that book would have been mine.

    While I do encourage eBooks simply because of the declination of people who enjoy reading in our younger generation (not to mention I’m a huge fan of anything that can save me money on college text books), I too refuse to give up my hardcover classics.

  3. Yellowed paper, haphazard typesetting, heft, smell… eBooks can’t replace any of that.

    Even for new releases of books, I can’t stand staring at a screen vs. real paper. And it sucks not being able to lend the book to someone or give it away entirely.

  4. I recently re-read all the gutenberg Kipling on my crackberry., it’s the words. I don’t care where they come from. Kipling gave us words, and those words are what are full of the magic, whatever they come from. it isn’t as if Rudyard hand wrote them on the paper you’re holding in your hand.

    I love books; I have thousands of them. But I have them to read the words.

    I also have hardcover signed first editions. I don’t touch them, I read the paperback or the ebook.

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