Paper or Electronic?

I read an article on a friend’s blog today that pondered the future of books. I’m talking about real, hold in your hands, coffee stained, dog eared (or chewed) books that you carry to the beach, the doctor’s waiting rooms or wherever it is that you need a little something to keep you occupied, made of paper and whatnot. Read her post here. Pages For Small Wages

I know this topic has probably been discussed to death, but still I’m curious. I’m wondering what the masses, the real live readers out there think. Publishers and economists (or whoever it is determining the future of books and ebooks) can hypothesize all they want, but I think there are too many diehard book lovers out there to say that ebooks will be the future of reading. Those who are like me and prefer to have that dogeared copy of their favorite book sitting on the back of a shelf somewhere waiting for us to pick it up again. Sure, ebooks are great, Kindles and other readers are awesome, but at the end of the day, they’re only so convenient. Personally, I’d be less likely to kill my dog for chewing up a $10 paperback than I would a $100+ electronic device. (honestly, I’m technologically retarded, so if there are proper terms for these things, forgive my ignorance. I still call most of the electronics in our homes ‘thingies’ and I probably always will)

What are your thoughts? Are the days of paper numbered? Or can the two exist together? I think they can.

8 thoughts on “Paper or Electronic?

  1. I agree with saving trees, and believe me the way some people write the books would have been better off had they still been trees. However, I like the feeling of a real book. The smell, the feel, the sound of the pages turning. Reading from an electronic device is not the same and not as satisfying. There is no "interaction", for lack of a better word.

  2. I do love my Kindle, but I would never, ever take it into the tub with me. I do love to read while I soak so I am often reading more than one book at a time. I also love reading while floating on a raft in the pool, so yeah, while I like the concept of an e-reader, sometimes they are impractical. I also like looking at all the different colors on my bookcase. There are some books that you just need to own.

  3. Good point, Susan. I hadn't even thought of my tub books. An excellent reason for publishers to try to find a happy medium, allowing them to co-exist. Actually, I don't think it's the publishers making a big deal out of ebooks at all. I believe it's theorists who would like to believe that the two are in competition. I think they are two different things, read or preferred for very different reasons. But that's just my opinion. Often it doesn't mean much. I still like to offer it.

  4. I love books; there is something about the scent and texture of a book in print that is lost in electronic format. I've no desire to see the print publishing industry go away. Can you imagine going to an e-book store to browse titles or have a coffee with your local writers group? GACK! Yet I do believe that the two forms of media are diverging. A book is a book, whereas the next generation of e-book won't simply be the same text in electronic media form. I admit freely that products like those VOOK is producing are somewhat clumsy, but the multimedia book in electronic form will probably look far different in a few years.Will they compete or complement each other? I like flexibility of loading four or five books on my iPAD or iPOD when I'm travelling… and especially when I'm flying commercially, but I also like to have the titles in my library at home.As to bath-tub reading, I hate the idea of having a book damaged by water or … so I read periodicals while in the tub. Once they're read, they're pitched into the recycle bin….but I can also imagine a future with re-useable water-proof e-paper media on which one can load trade magazines or other periodicals.

  5. Is it possible to say both? Though mostly electronic. It's just too darn convenient and can do too many things that paper can't–like allowing us to "search." Great post! Thought-provoking.

  6. Thanks. I'd say both too, Samuel. I think the two can compliment each other. As Gwen pointed out, there are times when a Reader is convenient, like when you're travelling and times when a paperback is better. I wonder if we won't see the two combined as some have suggested. You buy your hardcover and inside is a link for the ebook version as well. Wouldn't that be handy? I'm not sure how they'd do that really, but it would be nice.I don't have a reader yet, but after all this discussion, I'm getting one. Oh, and Gwen; a waterproof book…sigh. Will that come along with the waterproof laptop? I've put an order in for one of those too.

  7. My kindle is great. I love books but the ereaders aren't better or worse than books. They're just different. I don't compare anymore. But when I did I'd say all the usual about turning the pages of a book, the smell, yada yada yada. On the other side was the ereader argument. Making the text bigger or smaller, you can still put it in your pocket, cheaper books, and by the way, if I could get rid of my bookshelf I would. It takes up too much space.But now they're just two different things. Period. Last thing. I'm reading Under The Dome right now. I'm reading it on the kindle. I would never read the book version in public, probably. It's too big and bulky. It's $35. And I don't read that fast so I might have to carry this dictionary around for something like two months or whatever. Instead it's on my kindle for $10 and I can carry it around. If my kindle gets damaged they'll replace it for free. I can't say that for any book.

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