Thursday, January 29, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - Electronic vs. Paper

In response to "Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature" (Time Magazine article),
Do you have an ebook reader? Do you read ebooks on your computer? Do you hate the very thought? How do you feel about the fact that book publishing is changing and facing much the same existential dilemma as the music industry upon the creation of MP3s?

I do not have an ebook reader. I read books (and articles) on the computer when I have to. I don't hate the thought of reading from the screen, but I do greatly prefer a printed copy. For me reading is at least in part a tactile experience. I like the heft of the book, the feel of its cover, the act of turning its pages.

I understand the direction that publishing is heading right now. But, I really don't think it'll change our buying habits. Russell and I don't buy mp3s. We buy CDs because, at least in part, if our hard drive crashes we'll still have the music on disc.

I like the fact that self-publishing is becoming for viable. Part of that is because I'm friends with an author who has been struggling with the traditional publishing process and, through her, I've really gotten to see just how difficult it is to get published even when you are a good writer with an innovative product.

Then again, because of self-publishing's increased popularity the market will become flooded, possibly making it harder for consumers to find what they want.

There are pros and cons to these new developments, but as Lev Grossman says in "Books Gone Wild," changes are happening and they're neither good nor bad, they just are. And, for better or worse, we readers are along for the ride.


  1. You haven't even seen HALF of the struggles, sad to say. Publishing is brutal in the best of times!

    As for e-books, I'd rather have an e-reader. Sony, please. *grin* Rather have an e-reader than read on screen, I mean. I still like the heft -- and sharing capabilities -- of a print book.

    Although having fewer books would free up a good quarter of my desk...

  2. I wasn't sure whether I should name names so I played it safe and left it out.

  3. I prefer having a physical copy of the book myself. It's much easier to carry around with you, bring to bed with you, etc. Granted e-book readers are changing that somewhat, but not enough for me. None of the eBook readers currently work okay in bed with a book light. And thats where I get the majority of my reading done! :P