Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nuggets of Info - Paper Vs Ebooks

A while ago Rebecca Woodhead sent an email around looking to see which people preferred: Paper books, or Ebooks. I had given it some consideration, but I was too busy to reply to her directly. I suppose, as a writer, I ought to make my opinion heard. Even if only by a few people.

So, I do consider the two to have their advantages over the other. Paper books give that feeling of actually reading a book. They don't put as much strain on the eyes as you would get looking at a screen all day. They keep the economy going a little bit, as people are more likely to pop into a shop and buy the books than go online to buy them, spontaneously. Unless you're walking past an online bookshop, you won't just decide out of the blue to buy an Ebook. The spontaneity of book buying helps keep the shops open. There's also the added perk of "new book smell" to consider.

As regards Ebooks, they're lighter. You won't find an E-Reader heavier than two or three books. It just doesn't happen. Unless the books are tiny, the E-Reader is more ergonomic. You can store whole libraries on one, or on your computer or online. You have access to the books whenever you want. With certain E-Readers, you can just buy a book on the spot, without having to go into a shop. This has the advantage of saving you time. In a matter of minutes - usually in less the time it takes to even get to the shop - you can be reading your book.

I stand somewhere in the middle of the argument. I don't have an E-Reader, so paper books are my only choice aside from reading on my laptop. While Ebooks are cheaper, in general, I do prefer paper books. I like to hold the book. I like placing the bookmark between the pages. I like getting my books signed by the author. I like giving books as presents. I like that my job is to sell the paper books to people who don't know what they're looking for. I like the feel of the book and making sure the spine and corners are okay before I give the customer the book. I like keeping my books in as good a condition as possible. I like getting individual copies of my books printed through as a notice to myself: You did this, and it's not just on your laptop anymore.

Of course, I love that there are Indie authors who have found Ebooks to be a great way to get an audience. I love that they can make a living from it all. I like the controversy behind turning down a publishing deal just to publish an Ebook themselves. It's even better when the figure was huge - half a million dollars in one case!

I will use paper books for as long as is possible. I may make a transition to E-Reader if I end up in a position of travelling a lot, unless I know where good bookshops are all around the world. But of course, the problem is that if I'm travelling a lot and I keep buying books, I then have to carry them around with me a lot more. There are always pros and cons. Right now, I'm a paper book reader.


Anonymous said...

It's uncanny how similar our thoughts are on the paper vs ebooks situation. I'm a big time supporter of paper books, they're just so much more real to me. I need to feel the book in my hand, to smell the pages, to flip through them with blinding speed. I don't have an ereader or anything but I do read ARCs online. It's just not the same though. I'd rather risk getting a paper cut than straining my finger by continuously clicking the next page button. It's all just a matter of preference though.

Plus, having books lined up on my bookshelf is much prettier than seeing their pictures on a screen.

Paul Carroll said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the last point: I love seeing the books lined up on the shelf. It's why kids books are great - you can get some really colourful books in a series. Really adds some colour to the room - my walls are "Crème brûlée". Basically cream-white. And all furniture is white. Very dull looking except for the corner of the room with my bookshelves! :)