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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ebook vs. Paper

Changes are in the air and have been for a while now. The printed books as slowly being replaced by digital, and is single-handedly changing the landscape of publishing. Bookstore giants, like Barnes & Noble and Borders are struggling to stay in business ... and losing. Where bookstores used to be a staple in places like malls and main street corners, now they are hard to find.

Now, when we want to buy a book, we go online to giants like Amazon and purchase a digital copy, sit with our laptop or Kindle or phone, and read.

Is that a bad thing? Is it good?

That's a tough call for me, personally. I think it's wonderful in some aspects - less trees being cut down for paper, printing costs  cut to the bare minimum of on-demand status, hundreds of books can be stored digitally on one device instead of lining the walls in bookcases. 

And yet ...

I remember, as a child, the excitement of school shopping and the bookstore being a treat to the bore of picking out clothes - being able to go inside and look at all the titles, pick through them, reading the back covers, the smell. It's a special smell bookstores have, isn't it?

In an age where kids spend more time on digital devices (and we adults do too, don't we?) than running around in the backyard and playdates have replaced knocking on the neighbor's door, does reading on a lit screen encourage their dependency on the devices? Or does it really matter - they are reading, at least, right?

For me as a mother, and someone who still likes the feel of holding the book in my hands, this is a tough call. Admittedly, I am published on Kindle, Nook and Kobo, and have, by far, sold more copies digitally than in print. The digital age of books has opened doors to authors like never before, and mostly for the better, I think. But I still don't own a Kindle. I do read some ebooks now, mostly for reviews. But when I want to read for pleasure, I still prefer to turn off the computer I am on so very often, lean against a pillow and hold that printed paper in my hand.

What are your thoughts?

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