Physical vs. Digital: a semi-coherent discussion

In the second lecture, whilst attempting to make ‘a book’ seem like a strange object, the idea of keeping multiple books within some kind of tablet device, rather than having several physical books, was mentioned. This is not a new concept or anything like that, but I personally – and I don’t think (?) I’m alone in saying this – prefer a hard copy of a book. Yet it is undeniable that a tablet is a far more convenient and practical way of storing books. Why don’t I want to read off one of them? I dunno. Really, it’s kind of illogical if you think about it, but reading off a screen just doesn’t work for me. In an age where most people store their music on an electronic device, and many store and watch movies or TV on their computers or tablet, it feels that there is still a pretty strong support base for hard copies of books, or printed off uni readings etc. A good reason for this could be that a book is a much older piece of technology, than say, a record or a dvd, and perhaps hold a firmer spot in our culture. Whether this is the case or not, I’m sure one day the reading of a physical book will be comparable to the hipster-associated (whatever that means) listening to vinyl.




As far as hard vs. digital copies of things in general go, I’m not exactly consistent in my collections. I have a collection of 100+ dvds and blu-rays in which I add to fairly regularly, yet almost of the music I own is digital, whether it be on my phone, hard drive or computer. Why do I have hard copies of movies? I’m not sure, I think it’s for the childish (I don’t mean that term negatively) joy of actually being able to hold the cover, and being able to look at a rack filled with movies in my room. The sight of them really does excite me (I should probably be more embarrassed than I am about that statement). There’s also a quality and slight moral side to it, but I believe you can get 1080p movies off iTunes these days, maybe, so I don’t now how strong that argument is.


Not exciting

Not exciting

But why, then, do I buy my music digitally, when I love music just as much as I do movies? Again, I don’t really know. Maybe it’s the fact that music is not visual, but film is, meaning there’s some correlation between film and wanting to see and touch the copy. But really, I think it’s more to do with the fact that I listen to music outside of the house through my phone, whilst the majority of my movie-viewing is done at home through my dvd player and TV. So to answer my question: why do I like hard copies of some things, despite digital copies being undoubtedly more convenient and logical? I don’t know, I guess because it looks cool.


  1. Kiralee

    If there was a like button, I would like this. Just as I would like your alphabetised DVD collection, despite the fact that ordering based on personal preference is the obvious and far more superior method. However, since there is not, I’ll just have to settle with commenting on the surprising absence of the film “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” Funny. You would think, given the hypothetical situation in which you had lent it out to a friend, they would be polite enough to give it back in time for this photo. How rude!

    (But seriously, this is actually a great post. 10/10)

    • Sam

      Thank you very much, but alphabetical order is a universally recognised way of ordering things. My collection is about more than just me, it’s for everyone. Personal preference is a terrible way to order things, but i guess that’s just your…personal preference.
      And yeah, give it back. The collection’s totally incomplete.

  2. Brady Harmon

    I love your conclusion.

    (But seriously, good post. You could become the next proud Vogger and Adrian Miles yet.

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