Monday, November 4, 2013

My E-book vs. Hard Copy Dilemma

by Kate Collins


When I buy a book these days, I have a tough decision to make: Should I get a hard copy or download an E-book? On one hand, I like to be able to slip my Kindle in my purse and go. It takes up very little room in a suitcase, too, and of course, I can store many books on it.  Plus, the digital copies of many new hardbacks are a lot less expensive to buy -- a definite plus.

On the other hand, when I read a book for book club, our discussions often make me want to flip back through the pages to find a certain passage. And is it me, or are the E-readers freaking impossible to do that on? Making notes in the margins? ACK! Do I really want to type them in on itsy bitsy keypads and then do a search for them? What about deleting books that I didn't like? What if I change my mind down the road? I won't find it stuck in a box on a shelf, that's for certain.

And what about all the artwork that goes into a cover? On an E-reader like I have, you might as well forget about it.

Granted, I have an original, no frills Kindle, so the advanced E-readers may do all those things easily -- or not. But since I type all day on a computer keyboard, having to manipulate one more computer device does not feel relaxing to me. It feels like work.

At least I still have a choice of what kind of book to buy. I have a hard time imagining a world of all digital books. I hope that day never comes.

What type of book source do you prefer? Do you see a future of paperless books?

36 comments:

Christa Nardi said...

I agree.... but for travel, I have to say the kindle is better than trying to carry paperbacks (or hardcovers). I still read both...

SueAnn said...

I hope the future still has books in print! I don't have an e-reader and don't think I will ever get one, I love holding my books too much. As for travel, heck- what is a few little squares to pack? Even in a carry-on. I don't understand e-readers either- how many books can they hold before they fill up? What do you do when one is full? Delete a book? Buy another e-reader? Does'nt make a lot of sense to me.

Lynda said...

I didn't really have to make a choice. Because of vision issues, I can no longer read paperback books. When I buy Kindle books, I can increase the fonts on my Kindle - or on my computer - and am still able to read the books that I love. Also, because of arthritis, the Kindle is easier to hold than a printed book. Another advantage is that the Kindle allows me to get audio books, which are really great when you have vision problems. I have a Kindle Fire 8.9 HD and most of the books have color pics of the covers, which is nice.

I do still have a love for physical books (and I have many that I will probably never get rid of, even though I can't read them any longer), but I am so grateful for eBooks and audio books. When I'm home, I often read on my computer because the screen is even larger, but for travel, the Kindle is awesome.

Marina Sofia said...

Yes to all of the above, both pros and cons. I also use my tablet for travel (although I always have some proper books with me as well and smile smugly at the people who aren't allowed to read during take-off and landing...) but the light of the screen plus jetlag plus unfamiliar hotel rooms do not make for a very good sleeping combination. Plus, whenever my hands are slightly damp or sticky, do I really want to use my screen? I also find it less comfortable to hold (it's not flexible, for starters) than a book. And I can always find a passage/page I want to point out in a paper copy, while in an e-book it takes me forever to find, even if I mark them.
As for the serendipity of rediscovering discarded books on the bookshelves - I had never thought about that, but it's so true!

Denise Z. said...

The average e-reader holds something like 6,000 books (depending on what else you have on the device), so that takes care of that anxiety.

I resisted the e-reader for a looooong time because I'm such a dinosaur - I like the feel and smell of books and, like you, I haven't quite mastered how to relocate certain passages. I mean, I know it's doable, but it takes, like, five steps plus typing when with a real book, I could just dog-ear the page.

I have discovered many new-to-me authors on the e-reader, ones that I might not otherwise have met because their backlist isn't in print. And I've made a lot of new e-friends to go along with the new books. I'm a little scared, however, to give up real books because what do I do while the e-reader is charging.

I currently always have a real book going, as well as an e-book and try to carry both with me, because I never want to get caught in a line without something to do. That and I'm sliiiighlty OCD.

Yvonne said...

I never ever thought I'd buy an e-reader. I was a print book person all the way. Then, I gave in and got one. I haven't looked back. The thing is...you don't have to store all your books on an e-reader. For instance, with Barnes & Noble and Amazon you can archive them to their sites (clouds). Many of my books are there and I can easily download them to my reader whenever I want as long as I have access to WiFi (which I do at home and there are many hotspots outside).

It used to be I would pack around 12 paperbacks when I went on vacation. Yes, that was excessive but I'm a moody reader and didn't want to be stuck reading something I wasn't in the mood for. With my Kindle, that's not a problem. I just go through my entire collection and choose whatever I want to read.

Once I finish a book, I archive it. I don't delete it because then it's gone. I archive it in case I want to do a re-read.

Like Lynda, I love being able to change the font size. It seems like print books are getting smaller and smaller type and causes eye strain for me.

Like Denise, I've also "discovered" new-to-me authors that I never would have read if it weren't for e-readers.

Everything isn't for everybody so it's great that we can all choose whatever fits in with our lifestyles.

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

I love real books.. I love to see them on bookshelves. I never wrote in a book.. My Father would have really been mad at me if I had done that. LOL After saying how much I love paper books, I must say I have very few now..When I moved I had to downsize so only kept a few. I do Love My Nook! I have the second Edition so it doesn't do all the fancy stuff. I have been thinking of buying a better one but all I need it for is to read.. I miss seeing color on the covers so maybe I'll buy myself a Christmas gift and get the best. I like the fact that the Nook fits in my handbag and I can read when I go to a restaurant alone. Much easier than carrying a paper book. Today I have to have car work done and it will take a while.. I will just sit and read on my Nook.

Kate Collins said...

Marina, you put it very well! When I travel I hate not being able to read during take-off. However, I understand that this rule may be changing for some airlines. I don't see e-book readers ever going away. I just hope that holds true for the other side!

Kate Collins said...

THanks for the laugh! I agree with you and like you, I always have one book going on the Kindle, and one hard copy book going. There are certain books I want on my bookshelf where I can see it and refer back to it. That kind of book I want in a hard copy!

Kate Collins said...

Amen!

Kate Collins said...

That's the beauty of an e-reader. And if you do have to downsize a house, which I also did recently, you don't have to throw any archived books out.

Kate Collins said...

E-book readers have been a Godsend to many with eyesight problems. They're a marvelous invention and definitely have a place in my house.

Kate Collins said...

I hope hard copies NEVER go out of style! I can't imagine what I'd do with all my bookshelves.

Kate Collins said...

Exactly!

Vicki said...

I think about trying e-readers but....my vision problems go the other way. Some days too much computer use (even an hour at one time) makes me queasy, dizzy and headachey. Rolling type, flipping from one screen to the other. Oh yuck.

But then I think how handy it would be to have books available and I know that some authors are only putting out books/stories/novellas as eBooks so I'm missing out on their newer works. Boo hiss.

I really do appreciate all the comments everyone has made because it is true about the ones on your shelf. When you are in the mood to read over, find a certain section, back track, it is much easier with a paperback. As well, it is sooo much faster to look on my shelf than scroll through the selections and descriptions on a computer. Which brings me back to that entire moving type issue.

What a conundrum! I'll eventually end up breaking down and getting one I'm sure just to be able to read the new eBook only works but it (at this point in time) probably won't be my main way of reading.

Debra Fox said...

I read e-books and listen to audiobooks on an iPad. I buy very few fiction ebooks. Instead borrow them from my library. If the book is available, I can have it instantly. I have placed library "Request to Purchase" on all of you Cozy Authors. Amazon's Kindle App can be downloaded on ANY device or computer and Amazon has many free and $.99 books. I am currently reading an "Enhanced" version of 12 Years a Slave. The people and locations were checked by a historian. $.99. I can click on a link in the book and see a photo of the store or plantation.
When I am reading a book on the iPad in the evening, I dim the screen so as not to interfere with my sleep cycle.
I download audiobooks for long car trips from the library and play them through the connector I bought for $15.00
OT your comment section is the most difficult to use of any I have seen. It jumps around. Difficult to edit. Can you please do something about it? Try to leave a comment and see what you think.

Janet said...

I love both. When I'm home it is almost always a traditional book, but the e-reader always travels with me. We have bookcases in 4 rooms of the house and have to weed them periodically. But everything (even the "mistakes" are forever in the cloud and available for the e-reader.

Katie Johnson said...

I love books and hope the real things never go out of style. I love the look, feel and smell of a book. That being said I love my Nook and it allowed my obsession with a certain Flower Shop Mystery Series to grow unchecked :) I loved that even late at night once I was finished with one book I could just buy the next one and keep going. No waiting for a store to open, no waiting for a book to ship, it immediately showed up and I could continue on the adventure. So there are pros and cons to each and I will just keep reading both :)

Nancy Markovich said...

There is nothing like cozying up with a good book on a winter's day with a cup of hot chocolate or whatever your pleasure is. Holding an iPad, etc. just doesn't give you that same warm feeling. I do like the convenience of an e-reader for traveling, but given a choice I will always choose a real, honest to goodness book.

Jeannie D. said...

I am a book dealer (first editions, and antiquarian) so I definately hope paper books never go out. I am an avid reader and don't own an ereader and won't. I like the feel and smell of the books in my hand. Like you, I spend a lot of time on computers for my work, so the last thing I want to do to relax is sit with another electronic device in my hands. I don't think the paper book will ever be gone. I have a lot of younger adults that still buy from me that likes the paper book. Some have even came back from stints on the e-readers and decided they like their paper books betters.

Lover of Books said...

I love both. I don't have a huge house and there are so many books I would like to read. So I get some of my series on the Nook or even on the Kindle app. That way I can read something and often get things for free on the Kindle where you have to pay for Nook books. It has been a life saver when my 4 year old wants me to read to him and I had no voice. I was able to find 4 nook books that were free and had a read to me option. Finding kids books on tape/cd isn't as easy anymore. Plus you can have the book often read by the author as well.

I still have a handful of authors that I will buy their books cause I want them that way. But over the years all the advance readers copies that I have that I cannot sell, well they went to the recycling bin. I keep the ones I want and the rest go. I just don't have the space to keep them all anymore. That is the nice thing about ebooks. I can keep them on my computer or they are backed up on the different sites. Once my son forgot a book he was supposed to read at school, within minutes I had it from the google play store for him to read. :)

I love the smell of books and will always buy them but the convenience factor is nice too.

Nancy said...

I've enjoyed reading this blog post and the comments. It's a subject dear to my heart. I have a Nook, that was a gift and a Kindle Fire that I bought. I have almost 400 books on my Nook and well over 2,000 on the Kindle, most, but not all of them free or low cost. Still, most of my reading is of paperbacks and hardbound books. I will never run out of something to read if I have my way. I only hope my eyesight holds out. I will also say that I buy books, but I also borrow books from the public library. There's no such thing as too many books.

Louise Roys said...

I thoroughly enjoy both. I love to read period - exclamation point. I have over 2,000 paperback and hard cover books in the house. I also have over 1,500 ebooks on my kindle. I read in the car - but only if I am not driving. I also placed several of my textbook on the kindle so I could work on long road trips while John drove. I hope neither goes out of style. Our budget has forced me to get the book in its least expensive form. I will never give up the feel of an actual book in my hand, but also appreciate having hundreds of ebooks at my fingertips, especially when the logistics of hauling and storing lots of books short term are very difficult. I buy the books in whatever form my favorite authors release them in. Some books are only available for kindle, especially individual short stories. AS long as they keep writing books I will get and read them in any form I can get my hands on.

Stash Empress said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stash Empress said...

OK, so I must be firmly back in the last century, I just *cannot* seem to love reading books on my tablet. Heavens knows, I've tried. I've downloaded books that weren't available in print... and they sit on my tablet unread -- ok at least they're not collecting dust LOL -- but I just can't seem to get into them. I've tried, read a few pages, put them aside, just can't get back into them. I've even borrowed a library ebook that wasn't available in print version -- and my 2 week session expired before I got around to finishing it. (And you should know that I read an average of 6 print books a week!) Dunno.... and I'm really not a technophobe! I know how to use technology just fine & am not afraid of new things (and I'm only turning 54 so not *quite* a dinosaur just yet LOL) -- but I just can't "love" books on reader... So keep on printing my favorite cozies on paper & I'll keep coming back for more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sue said...

I love both books and ereaders. I have the kindle 3, one of the oldest ones and the kindle fire hd. I think you can highlight passages and go back to them...such as in a book club. My eye sight is getting so that it is easier to read the screen, but I do still love the feel and smell of books. You would be amazed at how many people I meet and can talk to about books when I'm out and reading on my kindle...it's also a good way to promote authors and their books. ;)

Linda in MA said...

I have a Nook but I prefer the books in print. I think all of the comments above have merit. I love that I can have something instantly on the Nook otherwise I have to wait to have it shipped. Got to love instant gratification. On the other hand I just love the feel of a book in my hand, the ability to easily go back and read a passage again, to read the comments on the back cover, to see the cover in color, so many things about a book I love. My main problem is accidentally buying books more than once. I'll have them in print and on my Nook. Anyone have a solution for this? Any good ways to organize my books in both categories?

Barb S said...

I bought my first kindle in 2008 and never looked back. I probably read at least 6 books a week (mostly cozy mysteries and historical fiction). I have one shelf of border collie and dog training books but those are the only "real" books I own now. For those who say you like the feel and smell of a real book, I clearly don't know what you mean. My Kindle paperwhite has a cover so it feels like a book to me. The touch pad makes page turning easy and if I ever had a book that "smelled" (like what?), I'd have returned it to the library without bringing it in the house. Love my kindle.

Maryanne Birch said...

with my eyesight failing I find myself buying more and more ebooks. They are easier for me to read as I can adjust the font size. I still read paper books but usually don't buy them.

Anonymous said...

I've gotten hooked on my Nook. Only buy nonfiction hardcopy, and even that i buy on the Nook. I miss shopping for books at bookstores. But I think I'm reading more books than ever. So fun to read in bed at night.

Lelia said...

Both are great; however, I like a real book in hand. I enjoy the type, the raggedy edge of the pages, the art work, the little bookmarks -- maybe I'm just a fossil. Especially nice to have a paperback with travel, if it gets left behind, another can be obtained!!!! I think e-readers seem expensive. Real books are especially nice when I want to highlight, write in the margins, underline [a habit developed years ago]. I enjoy swapping with my sister. Fun to read what she buys and double bonus to read her margins. she jots down some poetic lines while she reads. I hear e-readers are ok to use on take-off and landings.

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Gail Wood said...

I love books and lately I've come to love audiobooks, adding to the dilemma you mention! Because I am planning to move in the next couple of years to a smaller home, I am downsizing my book collection. I like e-books and often prefer them, though lately I've been "going through a phase" where I want a physical book.

I think it depends on what you want the book for and your preferred reading method. I can go on and on about ebook devices as well, having tried most of them. I do love gadgets. I tend to favor pleasure reading in ebook form and hardcopy for my hobbies where diagrams and the ability to take notes is important.

Professionally, I'm a librarian at a college and I do see a future where "the book" form is less important. The speedy transmission of information and knowledge as well as what is called "scholarly communication" is based on speed and currency. Waiting for the production of a print item becomes untimely and cumbersome.

I also see that the presence of physical books is less important for the generations younger than my Baby Boomer generation. There isn't the reverence for the printed word. I don't think reading and pursuing stories will go away. Stories are essential to our human well-being and growth (emotionally, spiritually, and mentally) but they may well take different formats.

So keep writing your stories, Dear Author, and your Dear Readers are here at the ready to consume it in the format(s) that suit us best.

rebecca moore said...

I balked at e-readers for quite some time but then DH bought me one as a gift. Now, while I will always prefer a 'real' book, the smell the feel, I have learned to appreciate what my Nook has to offer. When we travel, I read, a lot..I don't care how many books I try and pack it is never enough, with my Nook it is no longer an issue. The other plus for us is I read late into the night, I can now do so without having to leave the overhead light on and disturbing DH. I use the Nook at night and hard copies during the day. I can't imagine a world without books..no matter what the form ..i would prefer ones made of paper, but I will take them anyway I can get them!

Rachelle21 said...

I hope there is room for both. I love being able to take out a book and read especially if power goes out. E-Readers need to be recharged and would not be any help in major blackouts. We are forced to find power due to husband's use of oxygen and the power company has been notified so we are high on list to get power back or to go where there is power as firehall or hospital.

Aurian said...

Wow, what a lot of comments! I still by only paper books, with the exception of the occasional novella from a favourite author that won't be available in print. A few weeks ago, my best friend and I had a dinner date, and we both wanted to read the new Nalini Singh, so we agreed. I had the paperback, and she an e-reader. Which ran out of juice so she could not read anymore between courses. Well, that is a problem not happening with a paperbook. I shudder at the thought of not being able to continue reading a good book in the middle when I want to read it.
I don't have an ereader, I do read the occasional ebook on my computer screen.