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.

Tagged with

Melanie

A displaced Canadian living in the UK who when not reading is often found trawling through GoodReads looking for something to read or buying another book on Amazon. [Melanie no longer reviews for the site.]

21 Comments


Roger Simmons February 22, 2013 at 1:55 am

Team print for me. I still have some of the first paperbacks I read in high school. Carter Brown mysteries, sold for $.25. Back in 1959. I did load the kindle software on the PC because some authors had short stories or 1.5, 2..5 shorts of their series available on line. My Kids chipped in and bought me a Kindle for a gift a year ago and I do use it some. Print books and book stores will always be my first choice.

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Melanie February 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I often worry about the life expectancy of book stories as e-books gather more steam. I still love going into book stores and having a good look around

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Rhiannon Frater February 22, 2013 at 6:47 am

I love physical copies of books, especially when they have beautiful covers. I am a writer, so I abuse my hands and wrists on a daily basis. Therefore, I have a lot of difficulty holding a book for long periods of time. I can no longer read hardbacks. The pain isn’t worth it. I now mostly read on my tablet or phone, but still buy trade paperbacks on occasion. I actually buy more books now that I have a way to store them on my tablet without eating up bookshelf space.

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Melanie February 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Hey and I am reading one of your books on my Kindle right now! I can see where having a Kindle is the perfect thing for you. My Mom lost her sight last year and would really benefit from an e-reader. She does have this machine quite like a microfiche that she just loves b/c she can still go to her book club.

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Ken February 22, 2013 at 7:19 am

I personally love them both. I go for e-book most of the time due to the conveniences as mentioned by Melanie but I just can’t say no to a special edition hardback with gorgeous cover even though it takes up a lot of space.

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Melanie February 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I love a good cover and the one thing I miss with my Kindle. I get a bit of staring at the cover if I am using my tablet to read but its just not the same

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Gemma February 22, 2013 at 8:46 am

I’m with Roger on this topic. I’m very much team print. For me there is nothing better than a real book. The sense of satisfaction of working your way through a book. The progress is much more satisfying as the pages go down. More than watching a bar fill up at the bottom.

I am personally worried that publishers are moving some of their less well known or popular authors from print to ebook. Ok, so I can still get their books but the trend is going.

Also, I love looking at what books people are reading when I’m out and about. You can strike up conversations just by seeing that cover and taling about it. It sounds so much nosier to say to someone “So what are you reading?”

And then there are the book signings. With the death of print, no more book signins. NO more fan girl crazyness at your author being at a confrence or a bookshop doing signings. Picking up that book and like the holy grail you get it signed.

I have a kindle, but I love my printed books. And they will still be around come the “Revolution”>(A sly reference to a new TV show coming on where all technology stops working)

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Melanie February 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Gemma!! No fair teases about TV shows!

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Emma February 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

I never thought e-reading would be my thing… until I got my Kindle! Now I couldn’t imagine not having it. Is so much easier to read giant novels on (Ken Follet / George R. R. Martin I’m looking at you!) I still buy paper books but it’s more about size and price for me which influences my decision. Often, if I have enjoyed a book on my Kindle and see it with a gorgeous cover on a bookshelf, I’ll buy it in paper versions too as little bit of art!

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Melanie February 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

You are very dedicated to books if you buy both the soft and hard copy!

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Becs February 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I sometimes buy the physical copy of a book as well, if I loved it. There is something special about a read that will forever grace your bookshelf.

I have thought that books should be similar to a Blue-ray where you get a disc and a digital download. That way I would always go for an actual book and I could flick between the two depending on when and where I choose to read.

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Nora-Adrienne February 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I’m basically a dead tree person. I did break down recently and bought an Android tablet so I can accept books in either Nook or Kindle if and when that is the only format available for an ARC that I want to read and review.

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Melanie February 22, 2013 at 8:14 pm

dead tree person! that is amusing

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Laura February 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I’m with Melanie on this one! As much as I do love browsing physical book stores, the ebook is so convenient, fast and most important takes up less space. I have so many books I don’t know where to put them. I still read a lot of physical books as that’s often how they’re sent to me for review. But if I buy a book for myself it’s always an ebook and I get super annoyed when the book is not available in ebook format. Plus a kindle is so much easier for travelling on trains or going on holiday, I have quite honestly paid for excess baggage for all the books I took on holiday once lol!

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Melanie February 22, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Excess baggage Laura! tee hee..that is hardcore reading

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evening-green February 23, 2013 at 12:35 am

I have had my e-reader over a year now and since then I have just started from switching between paperbacks and hardcovers to switching between those two and e-books. I love e-books because of the portability and the possibility of instant access. I can now buy the first book in a series in print and when I fall in love with it, I can just buy the next one and read on without any delay.
I do have the problem of having to choose which book I want to purchase in which format, but that’s managable. I still love to collect favorites in pretty hardcovers and paperbacks and while I have reached a point where I buy more e-books than print books, I have hardly given up on them. Anyway I think e-books are a worthwhile addition.

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Melanie February 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm

It sounds like you are making some wise choices in your reading format! I have to say nothing is nicer than the cover of a hardback

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Bobby February 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I’m very much on the side of both ebooks and paperbacks. I’ve read all my life and I do enjoy every aspect of a physical book; sight, smell, feel and sound. However, I have taken to ebooks with an alacrity that I didn’t expect: you can carry so many books with you, you can get loads of freebies and explore new authors without worrying about the price. It’s not all convenience though – although it’s nothing like reading a book, I think e-reading is a nice experience in and of itself.

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Becs February 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm

This is a great article, I’m an eReader there are a few reasons for this,
1 I can hide my book addiction on my kindle, easier than on my bookshelf
2 I often read at night and although my husband moans a little from the back light on my iPhone i can get away with it more than having the lamp on
3 The moment you finish a book and you are left screaming nooooooo you can one click purchase the next in the series and continue reading.

I do still buy paperbacks and if I love a book I will quite often buy a physical copy after I have finished the electronic one. There is something special about having a book sitting on your shelf and you never know when electricity will stop working and we are left without power. Maybe I should cut back on the dystopian novels ;)

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Melanie February 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Becs….we sound like reading twins…..fraternal only though as I don’t read in bed!

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Sherri March 19, 2013 at 8:16 am

I will always love the printed paper bound book, but with so many other people, space to house a TBR of nearly 1,000 at one time had become nearly impossible. When I had to move house, I quickly realized my love of books was bordering on hoarding. I had them stashed everywhere I could find a place and it sometimes became difficult to find one. Now I have both the Kindle and the Nook and the storage problem is gone and finding a specific book takes mere seconds. Unfortunately not every book I want to read is available for the e-reader so giving up printed books completely doesn’t seem likely either.

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