Thursday, August 15, 2013
For Readers' Eyes Only: eBooks vs. Paper
In my apartment, a previous tenant installed floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in my office area. These shelves are filled with all manner of books, from old school binders to bar prep tomes, from sci-fi to books on writing and philosophy.
Though they're practically busting at the seams, it's not a problem that I'm terribly troubled by.
It's not that I'm no longer reading; I'm probably reading more than ever before.
Just not many paper books.
Don't get me wrong, I used to order tons of paper books from Amazon. I think I was a fairly early adopter to Prime in large part for the free two-day shipping on books.
Now I just use that two-day shipping for razor blades.
For me, it's the freedom to read literally anywhere I am. I always at least have my phone with me; the trusty Kindle app on it makes picking up where I left off on my iPad or computer screen a breeze.
That's really what it comes down to: price, space, and convenience. Even if some publishers still try to artificially inflate eBook prices, indie authors continue to push prices downward.
I still whip out the occasional legacy paperback on airplanes and for use as reference materials; something like Scrivener for Dummies is much easier to flip through as a paper book than an eBook.But even for reference books, I've tried to go digital as much as possible because the darn things are too big. Again--price, space, convenience.
There are those who like the smell of the pages, who like to feel each page as they turn it. Folks who like a more tangible indicator of their progress.
To be fair, they're right that on some level reading a paper book is a more "immersive" experience. You have to physically move that page from one side to the other, page after page until voila! The book is finished.
At the same time, when reading Hugh Howey's Wool and Shift, I found myself tearing through equally large portions of text with glee, checking my progress only to discover that 20% of the book had just magically flown past.
So I put the question to our readers: which do you prefer? Paper books? Or eBooks? Let us know in the comments.
D.J. Gelner is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hunt to Read. Contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.