The Polished Paragraph

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SURVEY: Paper or Electronic and Why?

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (photo courtesy of Office Max)

Do you prefer to read the old-fashioned way – that is, holding printed paper – or on an electronic gadget?


  • Newspapers, magazines, and the like – paper. I don’t like to miss anything, and who does the Sudoku and crossword puzzles online?
  • Books – paper, but in the interest of the environment and a relatively imminent, very expensive, cross-country move, I’m trying to do more with my tablet’s Kindle application. But it’s hard! And I’m not sure I’m doing my eyes any favors.


Do you prefer to to write longhand on a pad using a pen or pencil or do you do it all on the keyboard?


Hieroglyphs (Photo by zinass on


  • Blogs, jobs, and other Polished Paragraph-related items (e.g., personal and company profiles, newsletter articles) are generally composed on the screen for efficiency’s sake.
  • Personal writing – journals, fiction, and exercises/prompts are at least started on paper using a pen or, more often, a good, old, yellow, #2 pencil. Then the writing’s closer to “home,” you know what I mean?


So, paper or electronic when you read and write? Why?


Author: Laura S

Laura Salamy is a published author. Her essays and short stories have appeared in print and online. As the owner of The Polished Paragraph, she edits and proofreads other writers of all kinds. She is currently an assistant editor for the lit journal Fifth Wednesday, and she blogs on the fourth of every month for get born magazine. In her past life, Laura spent many years in the environmental, health and safety industry. She also worked for a non-profit completing grant applications and doing other "stuff." In her spare time, Laura creates colorful and less-than-traditional hooked rugs and mats. Many are "up-cycled" from old clothes, funky fabrics, and notions. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, a teenager (oh no!), and a very silly dogs.


  1. You’re moving across the country? Aw, you’ll be missed! Where are you moving to?

    Anyway, I love holding a book and turning actual pages. I don’t see myself giving them up anytime soon.

    However, I do understand that e-books are the inevitable wave of the future. At least until they invent a microchip that can be implanted in your brain, where books can be “zapped” on request. I’m sure that’s going to be a possibility within our lifetimes.

    But I digress. E-books are indeed more “green” than the traditional ones. They also, as in your situation, take up a lot less room in a suitcase. And while I don’t own a Kindle or a Nook or any other brand of e-book, I’m pretty certain it’s only a matter of time before I do. But, to paraphrase the late Charlton Heston, they can take away my regular books when they pry them from my cold, dead hands.

    As to your second question, I always use longhand for personal letters (yes I still write those!). If I kept a diary or journal I would probably use longhand there as well. But I use the keyboard for everything else.

    Take care, Laura. I wish you and your family the best on the move. I hope it all goes without a hitch!

  2. Hey, Paul! Thank for replying. Not going anywhere for a year. Kid has to graduate from high school. Now’s the time to dispossess and get the house ready.

    I have to admit that when I have to be somewhere, like when I spend a weekend at my parents’ in Connecticut, having the tablet is useful. I can check emails and have something to read in the evening. But it’s not the same as holding a book. And you always have to be aware of the device’s security. I guarantee that most of my books (which I buy used) are probably not on any thieves “hit list.” And although the tablet makes photos look gorgeous, I still prefer to take my time, to thumb through my art, workout, and cooking magazines. It relaxes me.

    Still, it’s going to be really expensive to move all my books across the country. When my husband complains, I’ll offer up a piece of furniture or some china instead. :)


    BTW, no one is implanting ANYTHING into my brain. I’m not even remotely interested in Google Glass. Charleton Heston would’ve backed me up on this. I’m certain.