To read, or to e-read; that is the question…

In the “paper books versus e-readers” debate, I’ve always fallen firmly on the “paper books” side. Nothing against technology, but when I am going to read a book, I want to read a book, not a screen.


Reading, for me, has always been a sensible experience. The requisite action before diving into a book is to open it and take a deep whiff. A book is more than pulverized tree bark and ink – and it smells absolutely heavenly. Recently printed books carry a somewhat chemical aroma, and older ones take on a sweeter, vanilla- or almond-like scent.

15_booksmeller01finalMoMA Senior Library Assistant Rachael Morrison samples one of countless volumes in her performance “Smelling the Books.” image: Michael Schmelling, retrieved from, June 2014

Then there’s the tactile experience. The paper stock makes a difference. They don’t all look the same, and they don’t all feel the same between your fingers. A smooth, soulless screen is just a sad imitation of “the real thing.”

ebook1image:  Heathcliff O’Malley, retrieved from The, June 2014

Admittedly, spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen means I have grown accustomed to the search function, which causes some minor irritation when I want to refer back to an earlier passage and can’t remember exactly where it is. But that seems a minor inconvenience, and I’d still choose a paper book over its electronic counterpart every time.

267Aimage retrieved from, June 2014

Then I recently attempted to pack for a vacation. Even though, when traveling, I limit myself to paperback books only – an annoyance in itself since most of the new releases over which I’ve been salivating are not yet available in paperback – it always proves a struggle to avoid overweight baggage if I am to have enough reading material to sate my voracious appetite.

ipad-ibooks3image retrieved from June 2014.

This might be the thing that causes me to crack. And then I’d even be able to read new releases on vacation. Double win! (But I would still miss the paper book experience.)

Whatever your preference, Touro Libraries have got you covered! Search under “Books & more” at to discover both electronic and print books. If you’re an ebook convert (or down to crunch time for your next paper!) zero in on just the digital kind with our collection of ebook databases.


Contributed by: Leiba Rimler, Judaica Cataloging Librarian, 65 Broadway.

Top image retrieved from, June 2014.

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