I’m going to put in my two cents on this debate.
I have a Kindle (an older one, but not a super old one). I bought it because there are hundreds of old classic books that are in the public domain that I wanted to read. They are free to download, but hard to read on a laptop. So I got a Kindle, to read those books.
I’ve got a couple hundred books on my Kindle, and I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than £3 for a book. Because if the ebook is more than that, a used paperback is probably cheaper, and I’ll buy that instead.
Yes, I still read “real” books. I don’t know anyone who has an eReader that doesn’t. And no, I’m not going to get all poetic and semi-erotic about how much I love the feel and smell of paper. I don’t care. It’s the words that matter, not how they’re presented. I have read books I loved and books I hated in both formats.
One thing I’d like to mention is that as a semi-disabled person, I sometimes do prefer my Kindle. I have type 3 Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and if I’m reading a paper book, holding it open can sometimes make my fingers hyper-extend if I’m not paying attention, and cause pain. I have never had that problem with the Kindle.
The book I’m reading now uses a really small font in some parts, and I wish I could adjust it because I’m getting old. But it is a paper book, so I can’t. I either need to squint or get reading glasses.
So a paper book, especially if it’s a large one, can leave me squinting and in pain.
At the same time, I love that I actually own my paper books. No one can delete my account and remove them from my house like they can do with the Kindle. I bought most of them used, and if I decide not to keep them, I can give them back to the charity shops I bought them from. Sure, if I don’t like a Kindle book, I can just delete it, but that doesn’t benefit anyone else.
So my answer to the Kindle or paper question is “both”. They co-exist in my house and there’s no reason they can’t co-exist in the marketplace in general.
I always think that reading is the important thing. To paraphrase John Green, “I don’t care HOW you read. I care THAT you read.”
I’d rather have 100 Kindle books that I’ve actually read than 100 leather-bound books that have never been opened.