Tuesday, February 7, 2012

E-Books vs Paper Books

Followers of my blog know that I have a rather extensive physical library. I love books and have for decades. I have extensive first editions and twentieth editions from lining walls from floor to ceilings. The smell of well worn and time aged pages, the feel of the wood pulp reconfigured into masterpieces, the visual impact of different typesets of words and illustrations on yellowing sheets...it is a love affair that will never end for me.

I recently bought a Kindle. So I can compare the two experiences. Sounds strange that I finally broke down and bought one considering I have been e-publishing for over a year now. Notice while I went on and on about paper books my e-reader is one line. There is a reason for this and I'll correct that below.

Yes, I'm an old fogie. I've spent decades carrying books around with me everywhere. You'll find one of two hard bounds in my car at all times along with a Kindle in my purse. Sounds crazy doesn't it? Today's society is disposable. It's all about instant gratification. It has been my experience that instant gratification is short lived. The same is true about books which is why I paperback publish AND e-publish.

  • e-books are easier to take in bulk on vacations, true.
  • e-books are lighter by tons compared to paper ones, true.
  • e-books are instantly available in all subjects, true.
  • e-books are instant gratification, true.
  • e-books fit in any purse or pocket, true.
  • e-books by the hundreds can be stored in a small amount of space, oh so true.
Wow, shouldn't that be enough "trues" to make me a convert? Nope.
Being a writer I always play what-if games...
  • If the power goes out? Ah, I hear you...it's batteries.
  • If the batteries die? Yep, you have extras.
  • If you don't...you are FUBARed. *freaked up beyond all recognition
  • If it breaks? You go out and spend another hundred of hard earned currency.
  • If the internet dies? You won't have access to more books.
  • If you drop check it, it's history.
  • e-books are cheaper, sometimes.
  • If a newer model comes out, you may have to buy another one to be able to read your book...think of computers. Remember Windows 1,2,3, 97, ME, XP, 7? Do you still played games or save stuff on 5 1/4, 3.5 disks or CD-ROM, Zip Disks? That's only the last 20 years!
But a paper book is a book. Some of the copyrights pages in my collection date back to the 1800's and a few 1700's. Yes, they can be ruined by air pollution, water, bugs, and a host of other things. Being an organic based product, they will decompose, but it will take time...think of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They are still readable, enjoyed, and cherished. That's my two cents and with inflation...a dime's worth.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


  1. Jo,
    Another plus for the e-reader is for those of us with severe wrist problems. I can't hold a paper book--even paper backs for an hour any more. If I want to read, I have to use the Kindle. Add asthma that can be triggered by musty paper and old books are not my friends.

    I'll just go back to my corner and quietly reading all the lovely books on my Kindle. ; )

  2. Electronic verses handheld is like sex... they both do the job but there is something way more satisfying in the old fashion method. ;)

  3. For couple of months I read only on my e-reader, because I traveled a lot and this little device fits very well in my purse.
    A friend of mine told me about All you can books and I downloaded so many of my favorite books from there... with just one click and all for free.


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