Uta Hagen--

"We must overcome the notion that we must be regular...it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

E-books vs. Print

I am going to try my very hardest to control myself in this post.  My feelings on this subject are very, very strong.  *I should put a disclaimer that I am not going to hunt you down if you see things differently than I do.  This is the 21st century and we are Americans, so ya know, freedom and technology.  I just might, ya know, hold you accountable for things. . . more on that later.*

So anyways, today's topic is e-books versus print books (thanks for reading the title).  My side, obviously, is print.  But, being the open-minded individual that I am, I will look at the pros of both sides of this argument and defend the side I have chosen.

Now, being a reader, I see the up-side of e-books.  They are convenient, relatively cheap (especially if you compare them to hard-back books), and they're ready to read within minutes.  You can carry multiple books with you without the pain of lugging around heavy books.  The devices are usually light and the screen can be adjusted according to the light in which you are reading.  All of these things can be useful.  They're also environmentally friendly - in the sense that they don't use paper.  

As a writer, though, I refuse to give in to the e-books.  Here's why.  The publishing industry is dying.  Literally.  More publishers than you would believe are becoming "electronic publishing only" meaning the authors that are fortunate enough to get a book deal are only being published via e-books.  I could also preach to you about how there is nothing that could compare to holding a new book and smelling the fresh smell; or wandering the book store and happening upon a new book that you hadn't heard of.  But I won't because most people aren't so attached to books.  But as a writer, let me tell you this: If I wanted to see my work on the screen of an iPad or a Kindle or a Nook or whatever, I could easily just put my own file on the device.  There's no sense of accomplishment in that, to me.  I do have friends that have published electronically, and while they were still very excited to be published, I couldn't help but wonder if they felt a little. . . disappointed.  I dream of the day when I can hold a book that is my own, with my title and my name and my author bio and my story, and say, "I've done it."  I just don't feel I could do that with an e-book.  I couldn't sign them.  I guess this could be closely compared to self-publishing.  Which, if that's the route for you, go for it.  But when I publish, I want it to be because I earned it, and because someone else out there thought my work was good enough to hit shelves - real shelves, not virtual ones where dust and love and trinkets will never collect.     

Okay, so now let me tell you the instance where I would consider buying a device to use for e-books.  One instance alone: textbooks.  Textbooks are not my friends.  I feel that if schools would use e-readers in the place of textbooks, a lot of money could be saved.  You wouldn't have to replace them every time a new version was printed - which can be as little as ONE PAGE different - instead you'd just have to download the update.  You wouldn't have to worry about students damaging the books or losing them, because trust me, a student will NOT damage or lose an iPad. Plus, I feel more students would do their homework, because they wouldn't be lugging home 4 or 5 heavy textbooks a night, but one small, light device.  But other than for textbooks, I will not consider an e-reader.

I have made it my mission to do so.  I buy my books from bookstores.  I buy real books.  I do so because I don't want my industry to die.  And if you have an e-reader, like I said, I'm not going to hunt you down in your sleep or anything.  I just might hold you accountable if I never get published - or if by the time I do, the only option is electronic.   And at that point. . . well, who knows?

I came across a book the other day that I really wanted to buy.  But it was only available in an e-book version.  Period.  No print version available.  Anywhere.  It made me sad, not only for the author, but for the readers who stumble across this book, ready and willing to love it, and then they don't have a chance to unless they succumb to the electronic books.

So, I am for print.  Period.  Well, except for textbooks.

Go read something.  (I could go into how important reading is and how it should be encouraged more, but I won't. . . not today, at least. ;) )

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