This essay appeared in October, but it’s more than worth repeating here at the end of the year. This part is especially on point:
When you read a physical book, or you read an e-book, the physical experience of reading that book is different. It looks different. It feels different. It even smells different. Your memory of having read it will be different. Unlike music, food, or paintings, you can choose what head-hole to put a novel in: You can put it in your eyes (by reading it) or in your ears (by listening to the audiobook). You can read it on a screen, on which each “page” pops up in a kind of context-free procession toward infinity, with no physical referents as to how many pages have already passed and how many are yet to come. All books—all text—start to feel the same, as though dredged up from a vast grey ocean of pixels. Or you can read the exact same book—the same words, the same story, the same ideas, the same emotions—on paper, bound between covers, where you physically sense the heft of what you’ve read and of what you have yet to encounter. Where you can close the book with a satisfying thud when you are finished. Those are two very different experiences of the same book.
Long live printed volumes.