In a Kindle age, six reasons I take paperback books on vacation


For some of us, “Old Fashioned” is the way to travel — with paperback books

paperback booksAdmission upfront — I’m a travel agent and a regular traveler. It is easy to understand the advantages of reducing weight and bulk in luggage and limiting what’s in a carry-on bag. I know that paperback books take up space and add weight.

I understand that having a collection of ebooks in my smartphone or e-reader or iPad is smarter than carrying them around in a suitcase. But, I have my reasons.

6 reasons why I still travel with paperback books

1. I like paper

I like being able to fold a page down, easily flip back and forth. And I like the feel in my hands. Of course, there are more practical reasons.

2. Damaged books are easy and cheap to replace

If a book gets lost, it’s relatively easy and cheap to replace. Ditto, if it gets wet, covered in sand, etc.
Also, while electronic readers are reasonably durable, friends tell me they do get scratched and they can be broken.

3. My paperback books never have to be recharged

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4. Make friends and discover new books with paperback books

I am sociable. I love getting ideas for new books to read. That’s where paperback books come in handy. A paperback book can start a quick chat with other people on the plane or by the pool about what they’re reading. Those kinds of impromptu conversations can be fun. And, I learn something.

Over the years, I’ve actually found a few new favorite authors either from my seeing someone’s book, asking about it, or vice versa. (On the other hand, I suppose that an e-reader might be useful for anything you feel a bit embarrassed about reading in public; a racy women’s trilogy comes to mind.)

5. I can use lending libraries at many hotels

Many hotels have lending libraries where you can drop off a used book and pick up one in exchange. So, one book can turn into many.

Plus, if you’re traveling somewhere where books are scarce, you can also often donate them. When we were in Kenya some years ago, our guides told us they would love any books we were done reading

 6. Paperback books remind me of wonderful trips

Seeing a book at home on a shelf can be a pleasant vacation memory. This can be especially true if you read books set in your destination. I’ll often remember and associate a particular book with the trip where I read it.

Now, of course, I do realize that e-books and e-readers are the most convenient way to travel, and I suppose at some point I may have to break down. But for now, they’ll have to pry my books out of my hands.

How about you, Travelers United readers? What do you think? And have I missed any reasons to stick with paper?


Photo: ©Nomidic Lass, Flickr Creative Commons


Happy 80th birthday, John Lennon a week ago, October 9th

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