Earlier this week Random House Australia shared the above image on their facebook page, asking their ‘followers’ whether they preference towards print or ebooks. I shared the image on the blog’s facebook page to hear what the 700 ‘followers’ had to say there, and thought I might do the same here. But first I want to give you my preference and the journey it took me to reach it.
About a year and half ago I put up a post titled Paperbacks Vs Ebooks: The Big Debate after I’d purchased my first ever ereader. Back then I could see the merit in ebook to a degree, but still read about 90% of my books in print,and thus I was throwing my weight behind print books. Just prior to that post I’d been highly negative towards ebooks and couldn’t stand the notion of them, nor understand their popularity. More than once I’d sworn I would never buy an ereader. Then I did, and my world view changed a little bit, as did my reading habits. And you know what? The change didn’t kill me as much as I thought it would… because deep down I think I really thought it would.
Today I still stand strong and proud behind books in print and I don’t think that will ever change; afterall there’s just something about the physical weight of them, the smell and ability to admire them on your bookshelf. But having brought SOOOOOOOOO many books in the past year and half and having travelled overseas, I can very clearly see the advantages of the ebook now – they don’t need to be shelved, they don’t collect dust or the pages turn yellow, they are quick and convenient and it’s possible to download them and read the book within the space of a minute (which you have to admit is better than waiting for the shops to open the next day, or waiting weeks for online orders to be shipped). In fact, I’d even go as far as to hazard a guess that the ration of books I buy and read of paperbacks to ebooks would be something akin to 55:45.
So what’s changed for me as a reader and a consumer and where do I stand now on this issue? Largely this blog has opened my eyes to a wider range of authors and books, some of which are only available electronically, others which I simply have to read right this second and so electronic version is not only easier, but quicker to acquire.
Having attended a lot more book focused conferences and seminars, and through opportunities arisen from here and work, I’ve managed to be exposed to a wider range of authors and readers alike, who’ve lead me to new-to-me authors and books, genres, and just plain old reading habits. All of which I’m not sure would have happened without the introduction of ebooks and ereaders, or at least the introduction of these things to this particular reader.
But then there’s the downside of ereaders and ebooks – the price is often an issues, as is the battery (there is single handily nothing more annoying then enjoying a good book only for the devices battery to die at great part of just before the end). I’m not convinced by any products anti-glare preventions yet, which means I find it hard to read outside often, which rules out reading outside in summer and at the beach to a large degree. The ereaders themselves aren’t water proof which terrifies me, and while the same could be said about books, the latter still survives, albeit in a damaged form, when water logged, where as an ereader is dead and you then need to fork out the money all over again. What’s more its so hard to find some books when you have so many loaded on to your ereader – I still like to browse my bookshelves to choose a book sometimes. Then there’s the issues of how long you spend reading via the device and the damage its doing to your eyesight. I admit after a long period of time staring at the screen my eyes start to hurt and I find it difficult to sleep. Many people praise ebooks as it allows them to read the book more quickly, and yet for some unknown reason (it baffles me why) I can read a paperback quicker than an ebook. I like the ability to judge how much of a book is left by physically being able to see the pages left, and no matter how much I try, the percentage remaining thing just doesn’t mean the same to me. I’m also one of those annoying readers, that when I’m worried about a characters fate, I might flick through the pages skim reading for a glance of their name and then continue on with the story from where I was up too. Searching for their name just isn’t the same, though I will admit it’s easier to find but harder to get back to where you were up too.
And now that I’ve got really off track as it might seem, I still prefer a paperback to an ebook but for no other reason then choice. I’m no longer scared of the ereader and ebooks like I *sheepily* will admit to being, nor am I die hard print fan that will only read print books. Ebooks have allowed me to discover some amazingly talented authors like GJ Walker-Smith, Lee Christine, Kylie Scott, Jay McLean and so many other authors who I absolutely love, but would not have found otherwise. But if the last year with this blog and the ereader experience has honestly taught me anything, its that no matter the format (hardback, paperback, ebook) the book is the still the same as the words, and thus the story, do not change between formats.
So if you read ALL of that, I thank you, I never intended for this post to be so long. If not, that’s okay too. I’m still curious though to hear your take on this debate. Do you prefer print to ebooks?