“Thoughtful Ramblings” is a feature where we discuss bookish subjects. These posts are just our own thoughts about certain topics that may get us hot under the collar and we need a good rant or just things we want to share with fellow bloggers and readers.
Print or Ebook – Which Side of the Fence Do You Sit?
In this ‘ramble’ Rebecca and I will enter into a healthy debate of real books vs e-books. Have a read and let us know which side of the debate you are on.
Melanie – ‘Beam me up Scotty’
Its been almost ten years when one of my university friends started a PhD on the introduction of e-books. I can remember being incredulous that anyone would want to read anything that wasn’t on printed on paper. I love books, especially hardbacks. I used to think that there was nothing better than turning the corners down, staring at the front cover and flicking through the pages. It wasn’t really until a few years ago that I started to get annoyed at giving up good furniture space to bookshelves plus commuting with a 800 page novel is a bit of a drag especially when the carriage is rammed and you can’t move your arms up. It gets a bit hard turning pages with your nose. Over the last 2 years more and more people started to carry Kindles and other e-readers. Some of my colleagues kept waving them in my face until I relented and bought one. It didn’t take very long before I became a total Kindle convert and even dragged my husband down in the e-book revolution with me.
I love my Kindle, love it so much I even named it (Kandy). I used to buy a lot of books but I think Amazon should be selling me Kindle shares I buy so many e-books. I have the 3G Kindle with keyboard so I can buy a book and be reading it within a few seconds, tweet, or update my Facebook status anywhere in the world (well anywhere with 3G signal) all for free, free, free! No data roaming charges for me. I get really excited when a pre-order book gets downloaded, it’s like Christmas every day.
It is a tad disappointing however, when a book I really want isn’t available as an e-book. If I really want it and don’t want to wait for the ‘e’ version I usually relent and go back to buying the paper version. This usually results in a bit of ‘frowny’ face until the book actually arrives (days later). The downside of making book buying so easy is that I do get suckered into buying books I end up not liking even after reading the sample. I also miss looking at the front cover or if there is one they aren’t quite the same in black and white (or really black and grey). My final grumble is that you can’t share e-books because of the encryption (DRM) unless the other person’s Kindle is registered to your account and how often does that happen? This ends being a complete drag when you want to share a book that you really liked. Despite these few negatives I love my Kindle. For me the positives far outweigh the negatives and I don’t think I could go back to regularly reading a print book. I am all for ‘VIVE LE E-BOOK’
Rebecca – ‘The Power of the Printed Page’
Unlike Melanie I am yet to become a Kindle convert, and am all about the printed page. I know, seems odd that a student wouldn’t embrace new technology, right? But for me, having grown up reading books from a very early age, it’s hard to imagine my reading life being conducted through a screen.
There’s a magical feeling when you get a new book, that fantastic ‘new-book-smell’ when you flip through the pages, which just cannot be replicated by technology. The thrill of turning the pages to find out what happens next is what makes reading exciting, and that satisfactory ‘page flip’ noise whilst you watch the page count increase is not quite the same as seeing your completed percentage rise.
Aside from how it feels to actually read a paperback or hardback, I’m most worried about the effect of e-books on the publishing market. Recent years have seen a decline in the market for various reasons (the economic downturn taking its toll), but the cheaper prices of e-books have helped the industry to readjust and help authors to keep producing their work. However, despite being pleased that e-books are boosting the market, at the same time I am concerned for the welfare of bookstores like Waterstones, or smaller independent stores. The cheaper prices of e-books are definitely attractive (particularly to my student budgets), but where is the allure of going into a bookstore and spontaneously spotting something with an intriguing cover? The recent high street shop administrations of HMV and suchlike make me want to shop at Waterstones more, but at the same time their prices just cannot compete with the new technologies of the internet.
Admittedly I do envy the fact that e-book delivery is instantaneous, especially if you’re on the move and commuting like Melanie does. This would be particularly useful if you finish a book on the move and don’t have another one handy, as I agree that carrying around giant books or multiple books can be a killer. I also agree that having a Kindle would be useful on the commute to university, as I do sometimes get embarrassed reading books in public, especially as paranormal romances have a tendency to come emblazoned with half-naked men, which may draw a few odd looks here and there!
Overall I couldn’t live without my printed books, as my room would feel totally bare without my bookshelves and I think they make the place more homely. Yes, it would be nice to have a bit more space, but my books are a part of who I am and I wouldn’t trade them for an e-version. Although I might cave in and buy a Kindle soon, this is more for the availability of new books rather than a total disregard for print, as I’m finding that a lot of debut authors are debuting in e-book form, as this is cheaper for a publisher to distribute in order to see if the work becomes popular. Perhaps my opinions of e-readers will change if I purchase one myself, but for now I’m sticking with tradition and holding on to my paperbacks and hardbacks for as long as I can.
So, are you team print or team e-book? Let us know what you think.