Paperback vs EBook: What to pack for a vacation?

You’ve always loved reading.

You skipped classes to hang out in the library with Enid and Ruskin. You hid a book under the desk and read while the physics teacher droned on and on about gravity or whatever it is that made that apple fall on that dude’s head. You faked everything from flu to cancer to escape the pain of a dodge ball session while Dickens told you a story. You silently cried when your bedside lamp stopped working and you couldn’t read in bed at night. You had more friends scripted in the world of fantasy than you had in your class and that didn’t bother you even one bit. Who needs friends who cry about break ups and cancelled TV shows anyway when your best pals can regale with amazing stories of adventure like that one time they decided to hike till Mordor?

Well, you do need them sometimes. And you are now making a trip with them. But you, on account of being you, still need to read. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting tanned on a Goan beach or are relaxing on a house boat off the coast of Kerala. It doesn’t matter if you’re calling it a night and entering your tent or are back to your comfortable hotel room after a long day of sight-seeing. You need to read. It’s your drug.

So here goes the question. Should you pack a few paperbacks or carry a kindle/tablet/any other ebook reader? What is ideal for the ‘you’ that’s traveling?

There is no straight answer for this. Perhaps, your needs, your reading interests and your trip could tell something.

Carry that physical copy, when…

Most readers will agree that nothing beats the emotion that rushes through you when you can feel the corporeal presence of the book in your hands or on your lap, when you can smell the pages, and when you must wet your fingertips to continue the story. If most of the following characteristics make sense to you, then go ahead and keep aside some space in your luggage for one or more paperbacks:

  1. When you know you don’t have a space crunch in your luggage (since you were smart enough to not pack those extra harem pants or that iron or that mini-fridge), there is no harm in carrying a book or three.
  2. If you know that the trip is short or that it will only leave you with enough time to read around 30-40 pages a day, then pack one novel to take along with you. It’ll probably last you the entire time.
  3. A paperback has its charm and when you know you’ll be spending your evenings in cafes or restaurants and nights in the hotel room equipped with a basic bulb or a bright disco ball from the 80’s, you are good to go. An option that you have in case you won’t be having these facilities is to invest in a good rechargeable reading light that can be clipped onto your book for reading in the dark.
  4. Also, don’t you think you’d look kinda erudite?

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[Credits: Flickr]

Carry that ebook reader, when…

Granted there is a certain feeling of satisfaction associated with holding a book in your hand and flipping those pages, but with the technological trends in place, one must not be so quick to disregard the benefits of having an ebook reader, like kindle, or just any tablet, when you happen to be a seasoned traveler.

  1. If you are well aware that your trip/vacation leaves you with more than enough time to read multiple books, then this gadget will be your best friend. Since it can hold thousands of books, you can choose from the entire collection and escape the hell of fitting 4-5 books the size of Atlas Shrugged somehow in you fanny pack.
  2. A trip that doesn’t guarantee sufficient lighting after sunset, for example, a trek, means that you need a device having the feature of backlight (most of them do). Imagine reading a book by the light of that weak fire that you and your friends could somehow put together.
  3. It’s easier to carry, owing to its thinness and lighter weight. So your sling bag could easily hold a thousand ebooks along with your wallet, identification, tissue papers, ear phones, power bank and lip balm.
  4. Also, don’t you think you’d look kinda tech savvy?

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[Credits: Flickr]

"Trip no further, pretty sweeting. Journeys end in lovers meeting, Every wise man’s son doth know." - Akansha Singh

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