eBooks versus Print: do I have to take sides?

I cannot begin to tell you how many heated discussions I’ve had (with fellow writers, academics, and business clients) on the subject of  “eBooks versus Print.”  

There are many eBook naysayers who will insist that eBooks are not “real” books, that the quality control for eBooks is minimal – if at all, and that you cannot really claim to have written a book if the book is not in print form.  I concur – to a certain degree – with the second point.  Quality control is an issue. Anyone can put out an eBook, however, if it’s not well-written and interesting …. well, who will buy it?  I should point out that many published print books could also use a little QC!

Where do I stand?  Look, I’ve been a bookworm all of my life.  As a child, my friends would knock on the door and ask my mother whether I could come out to play.  My response (to my mother’s questioning look) usually went something like this: “I’m in the middle of a really good chapter. When I’m finished, I’ll come out.  Won’t be too long.”  Then, about five chapters later, I’d remember that I’d promised to go out and join my friends.

I’ve always loved libraries. I feel at home there. The musty smell of books, the hushed silence, the volumes neatly arranged according to the Dewey Decimal System,  the sheer opulence of printed matter –  bring me a quiet joy and sense of peace.  I love the feel of a book in my hand and am a voracious reader. That will never change.  My study is my sanctuary and my books are my friends. I cherish and value them more than any other possessions I own. I prefer books to diamonds — kid you not!

That being said, I look at eBooks as an opportunity to read more – wherever I may be.  It’s not always practical to carry around a heavy, bulky hardcover.  A Kindle (for example) is compact and light.

So, I embrace change because, in doing so, it offers me more accessibility to the written word. But – and this is a big But (no pun intended!) – I will still always prefer curling up with a good hardcover book.

Not surprisingly, I still have all of my old record albums and tape cassettes – from back in the day.  Yet, I also own an iPod. You see where I’m going with this?

Now, there’s probably lots more that should be said about the advantages of eBooks (from a writer’s perspective) – such as no distribution or printing costs.  I’ll leave that discussion for another day.  Right now I have to get back to reading this fabulous book I just picked up at Barnes and Noble.  I’m in the middle of a really good chapter …..



Image via bethrevis.blogspot.com.

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