William Giraldi, writing at The New Republic about why physical books are better than ebooks:
Forgoing physicality, readers of e-books defraud themselves of the communion which emerges from that physicality. Because if Max Frisch is correct in defining technology as “the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it,” then one might argue that we aren’t really experiencing a novel or poems on our e-readers. We might be reading them—although I find that an e-reader’s scrolling and swiping are invitations to skim, not to read—but fully experiencing them is something else altogether.
You scroll and swipe and click your way through your life, scanning screens for information and interruption, screens that force you into a want of rapidity. Why you’d welcome another screen in your life, another enticement to rapidity and diversion, is a question you might ask yourself. Paradise Lost will not put up with rapidity and diversion, and that is exactly why, for some of us, a physical book will always be superior reading, because it allows you to be alone with yourself, to sit in solidarity with yourself, in silence, in solitude, in the necessary sensitivity that fosters development and imagination. A physical book makes it possible to fend off the nausea roused by the electronic despotism we’ve let into our lives—it doesn’t permit blinking, swiping, scrolling, popping-up impediments to your concentration, doesn’t confront it with a responsive screen trying to sell you things you don’t need. On a train with only a paperback of Paradise Lost, you are forced into either an attempt at understanding and enjoyment or else an uninterrupted stare out your window. Your Kindle Fire is so named because Amazon understands that we Americans rather enjoy the hot oppression of endless choices, the arson of our calm. At the first signs of Milton’s difficulty, you can nix the whole excursion and romp around with a clattering of apps.
You know what, buddy? Fuck off.
I will overlook the snide condescension that drips from practically every single word of Giraldi's essay. What really bugs me about this kind of stuff is the persistent conflation of one person's personal preference with the general good.
If you prefer physical media like printed books, that's great. Have at it. I like paper books, and I have carted 20+ boxes full of them from one living situation to another for several decades now. For me, though, ebooks are vastly more practical at this point in my life, and I would have read many fewer books over the last five years if I did not have my Kindle and its associated app on my phone. That's just me though.
I just don't get how people like Giraldi feel they must jump from "I prefer to read printed books" to "Everyone should prefer printed books because they are inherently better," and then from there to "I am better than you because I read printed books."
It seems rather desperate and defensive.