Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Books and e-books can coexist!

You've all heard about the great war of Pixels vs. Paper. There are numerous battles were people argue about the merits of e-books and physical books. There are lots of claims that e-books are going to ruin publishing and that the hardcover is going to die a horrid death. As someone with a Kindle and two six-foot-tall bookshelves, I dare to make the claim that books and e-books can live together happily.
Which is better?! Hardback? E-book?
If you ignore all of the drama around the publishing industry itself, the main issue with e-books is aesthetics. Sure, they're cheap and portable, but they're not pretty, they don't smell like paper, and they don't look impressive on your bookshelf.

Surprisingly, the same things can be said about paperbacks. They're cheap and portable. But they're not really pretty, they don't have the crisp paper thing that hardbacks have, and they don't look nearly as sexy on the shelf. Yet, no one is really convinced that paperbacks are a sign of the book apocalypse.

In fact, paperbacks and e-books are so similar that I agree with Eric over at Pimp My Novel. E-books aren't going to kill hardcovers. Instead they're going to replace the mass market paperback.

And is that really a problem?

Many of you are screaming, "Yes! Yes! of course it is! Yes!"

For me, not so much actually. I find that the things I buy in paperback are usually the things I'm less attached to, and it's been the same for e-books. I demand that my epic, multi-part sci-fi fantasies to be in hardcover, but that's about it. For example, I bought hardbacks of The Hunger Games Trilogy even after reading them on my Kindle.

I guess I just want everyone to realize that owning an e-reader isn't going to suddenly convince you to buy everything in e-book format. Maybe you want physical books, and that's perfectly fine. People just seem to forget that there are options and you can have all of them. Hardcovers and e-books live together in my household and it's working well.

If you're curious about e-books, go check out the e-reader displays at Best Buy or Staples. Or maybe look into the free Kindle Reading App, since it's not like you need an actual e-reader to read e-books.

What do you guys think? Agree? Disagree? Understand what I'm trying to say, or still think e-books are devil spawn? Tell me in the comments. I want to know.


Kate said...

I agree and I realy hadn't thought about them replacing paperbacks but it makes semse to me. As you know I have a slew of hardcovers to read along with all the fun stuff on my kindle that is waiting its turn.

SqueezeBox said...

Damn you! I had a post about this I was going to put up today! Time for me to do some rewriting.
But yes, I agree with your points.

Annerb said...

Aside from me already reading that post you sent me, it is a good argument. I'll be sad if there are no longer paperbacks though. I never really cared that much on the difference between the two like you. Especially once I started buying my own books.

CryptiMundi said...

The art is the writing itself, which is why ebooks are catching on. Plus publishers deserve to go under, as they're the same goofs who turned doen Harry Potter 13 times, and King's Carrie dozens of times.

squidinksarah said...

Haha, too true! Though I think publishers are important for the weeding through slush factor. Maybe they make mistakes sometimes, but they still save the rest of us so much time and hassle.

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