10 Things A Kindle Can’t Do (That A Hardcover Book Can)


As a voracious devourer of books, I’m constantly being asked why I don’t get a Kindle. The idea of having my entire library with me in a device that’s the size of a clutch is both appealing (for obvious reasons) and terrifying (what if I lose it? I lose everything! Sure, there’s electronic back-ups, but what will I be reading off of until I get a new one?, etc). Also, I love the feel and the smell of books. I will complain about it, but I love it when huge novels take up the bulk of the space in my purse. I love turning pages, even when paperbacks are made of that weird, rough paper that leave my fingers feeling dry. I love that brief moment of panic that takes place when I accidentally drop my book in the middle of a particularly engrossing scene, and the frantic page turning that follows to get back to where I was. I could keep gushing, but in case you aren’t completely convinced, here’s a list of some uses for a good paperback or hardback novel that a Kindle or ipad probably can’t do:

1. Finding a mate

You look across the coffee shop to see that cute girl/guy reading your favorite novel. In truth, youre more excited about seeing someone else reading your book than the actual person reading it (I mean, after all, you dont know themyet). 

Excuse me,you might say, I hate to tear anyone away from reading [book title], but thats my favorite novel and I just have to ask, whos your favorite character so far?Or possibly something more suave. Anyways, youll find out thats their favorite book, too, and sparks will fly, and before you know it, youre sending out invitations for your favorite-novel-themed wedding. Regardless, what caught your attention in the first place was the novel, not the person. If they had just been another person reading a Kindle, would you have approached them? In all likelihood, your eyes would have glossed over his/her face, briefly wondered what they were reading, and youd have gone about your business, never realizing that loaded in his/her Kindle was the book

2. Making friends

So you dont like the guy/girl from the coffee shop that way, but you still become friends and you lend each other books from time to time. Whats glorious about lending out a physical novel is that theres no time limit except for what you set. Hence, theres no need for your friend to marathon read that 800 page novel in 14 days before the loan expires. I mean sure, you might miss your copy of The Name of the Wind or War and Peace when your friend keeps it for a year, but at least you know theyll be able to thoroughly read it so you guys can talk about it afterwards.

3. Judging people

Is that strict, Professor McGonagall-like teacher reading Twilight in class? Does your motorcycle-riding, tough-person friend have an entire shelf dedicated to Regency era bodice rippers? When you go over to someones place for the first time, you can surreptitiously glance at their bookshelf and get an idea of their taste in books. Maybe itll tell you more about a person, or maybe it wont. Regardless, its something else you can find out about someone youre only just starting to get to know. You cant do that if their entire library is hidden away in a Kindle (or, I guess you can ask for their Kindle and browse through it, but cmon, thats so obvious!). 

4. Impromptu blocks

Is the table too low for your laptop? No problem, let me just stack a few books to create an elevated surface! That one yoga move that involves using blocks? I have two or three novels that are about that size! Need to hold the door open? Let me just push that book over real fastand done! 

5. Pressing flowers

If you dont have a flower press or you dont want to make one, books make awesome flower presses! Its always a plus when Im re-reading something I havent touched in a while, and a gorgeous pressed flower that I completely forgot about falls out.  

6. Completing a costume

Oh hey! So youre aschoolgirl for Halloween? Or a random Hogwarts student? Oh youre Hermione? Where are your books? Hermione always walks around carrying a book! Oh you have your Kindle with you? Im not sure it works like that, my friend. Let me passive-aggressively express this by giving you less candy, or if youre older, filling your cup of booze only half full. 

7. A weapon

Did you get another book? [exasperated sigh] Why dont you just get a Kindle?

All the better to beat you with!

Lets say, for whatever reason, you need to defend yourself with a book. If its a thick book, itll pack a bit of a punch. Plus, a thick book might even take a knife wound for you. I cant really see a Kindle doing the same.  

8. Impromptu toilet paper

Or material to start a fire with, if youre shipwrecked or end up stranded in the woods somewhere. Im talking about those blank pages and the table of contents, of course. Then, you can read your novel until youre rescued without worrying about things like battery life. 

9. Bug killer

Throw a book across the room to take out that spider on the wall? Cant do that with a Kindle! And now off to re-read Jane Eyre

10. Making friends with authors

Nothing pleases an author more than seeing a copy of their book that bears the signs of having been read too many times. You know, when the spine has all those lines from the many re-reads, and the cover might be shredded around the edges or taped back on after it couldnt survive the years of wear and tear. Ill never forget the moment when Garth Nix picked up my copy of Lirael and fondly exclaimed over all the folds in the spine. Besides, Please sign my Kindlejust sounds wrong.