Tuesday, March 9, 2010

EBooks vs. Physical Books

I just found out it was eBook week, so thought this would be a timely subject to discuss.

What is your preference?

There's no doubt eBooks are on the rise. Publisher's Weekly states that eBook sales rose 176.6% last year. Now that's only a handful of publishers reporting, but that's still an impressive figure. But will eBooks replace print copy?

I like the idea of eBooks. I have the eBook app for my iTouch and I can take them with me. (I also have a laptop that tends to travel with me as well.) I'm a gadget kind of guy, so I like the technology. Not ready to buy an eReader yet, but when they upgrade the iPad next year, I'm sure I will buy one.

I like print books, too. I have quite a collection of dog-eared paperbacks and pristine hard covers. At home, I'd rather grab a physical book and give my eyes a break from the computer screen. I for one hope physical books never vanish.

What about you, my blogger friends? Which do you prefer and why? Have you made the switch, refuse to change, or rest somewhere in between?

18 comments:

Michele Emrath said...

I refuse to change from paper to e-. But I am not blind to the importance of this technology for writers and publishers. I have no problem supporting those who prefer e-readers, but I am really against the change for myself.

I wrote this on l. Diane Wolfe's blog yesterday, and it applies here as well (yes, I'm quoting myself):
"On a flight last week, three women asked me about the book I was reading--because they could see the cover and read the author's name! Two of them wrote it down and intended to check it out, maybe even buy it.

Can and E-Reader do that?"
Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

While I see the benefit, I still prefer print over e-books. After spending the day looking at a computer screen, I find comfort in picking up an actual book.

Undine said...

Anything that increases the distribution of books is a blessing. Just as a personal matter, though, I hate e-books, or even reading online for any length of time--when I come across a digitized public domain book I want to read, I go to all the hassle of printing the blasted thing out on paper before I read it through. There's just something about computer screens that disagrees with me.

I had thought this was just one of my many weird and inexplicable qualities, until I read of a study that was done recently. It showed that people's minds simply don't process information they read on a computer as well as they do when it's written on paper.

If that's true, it has slightly alarming implications for this current generation that's being practically raised online.

Jamie Gibbs said...

I'm definitely one for print books over e-books. I've bought a few e-novels in the past, and whever I try to read them I either lose interest or my eyes hurt, so I end up printing them out.

I think e-books are a brilliant way to get information out there (I especially like classics such as Dracula and Grimm fairytale collection being made available for iPod reading) but give me a book anyday.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, eyestrain is a big consideration. Between work and home, I can spend 10-12 hours in front of a computer.

Undine, that is an interesting thought! Makes sense. I don't like to edit my writing on the computer because I miss stuff.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've downloaded some eBooks, but they've all been non-fiction. For my fun fiction reads, I prefer a physical book!

The Old Silly said...

I'm old school. I like a physical book in my hands and turn the pages manually. But I offer my books in both formats - you can't fight this trend or you'll lose out a HUGE and growing fast market segment.

Marvin D Wilson

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome said...

If I traveled a ton, I would like the ebook option but I'm already looking at too many screens in my life. With the TV, the computer at home and work, my cellphone...I would much rather read a real book!

hampshireflyer said...

Print books are so lovely and material! I can tap the covers, flick back the pages and do all the other non-verbal reading tics I probably don't even notice any more....

...and they don't need power and they will always be there, at least as long as I can see.

The only thing I'd ever want an e-book for is if I've bought a hardback because I just couldn't wait the extra months for the paperback copy, and want to be able to keep reading it when I go out...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cover art is something to think about. I like the covers and being able to examine them in depth.

That's true about the power, Hampshire. What if the unit crashed??? All those books... gone!

B. Miller said...

I'm excited about the advent of ebooks because it's progress in the publishing world, but I still love print copies. It's what we grew up on, so it's hard to think about print in another medium.

DEZMOND said...

somehow I have a sense that EBooks will never contain and posses the magic that those real books hide in their paper, among the pages, deep within the bookcovers.... But I'm sure many people said that about many other new appliances, gadgets and innovations. Nevertheless, this scares my since I'm somebody who works in publishing industry.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've still only ever seen 1 ebook - they're apparently not real "big" yet in small city Northern Ontario :)

I'll probably own one eventually - cause I like gadgets too - but I'll never give up my books completely :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

B. Miller and Jemi, I'm not ready to give them up either.

Dez, didn't know you were in the publishing industry! How do you keep up with that and Hollywood?

DEZMOND said...

Well, I did mention to you many times that I'm a professional literary translator - I translate books from English to Serbian for the readers in my country. I work for one of the 10 biggest publishing houses in Serbia. I also write blurbs, reviews and prefaces for the novels I translate.
And beside that and Hollywood I also do fashion, interior and graphic design, psychology, and give out advices on nutrition and cooking :) And many other things as well ....

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry, Dez, I didn't put it all together. I'm impressed you know two languages so well - I barely keep up with one.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I'm a late arrival at the ebook party, but will eventually convert. I'm kinda waiting for the format wars to shake out a bit.

Best Wishes, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Mauricem said...

I used to hate eBooks, but the convenience of having an eBook on my smart phone won me over. I've found that my reading goes up 100% by having the book on my phone instead of a physical book. I still love the printed page though.