Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Great e-Book War

By David Nemeth

When I started my blog, I was a devotee to e-books; they’re cheaper, quicker to obtain, and advance reader copies cost virtually nothing for a writer or publisher to send out if need be. But something changed several months ago and Bouchercon 2017 is to blame. It was in a hotel conference room in Toronto that I fell back in love with the printed word. There were books everywhere. Books in the hands of authors, readers, and publishers. And there were tables stacked with books. It was crime fiction crack.

From those Canadian October days, I’ve slowly made my transition from e-books to the printed word. I discovered an increase in my reading speed and comprehension. I could cherry pick scientific studies that back my observations–they’re there, just Bing™ it–but facts are boring. I know that e-book enthusiasts can find studies on why electronic reading is better, but y'all have to use AltaVista. The war wages on.

I do get there are those that still prefer the electronic medium over the printed page because of ease of use, lack of space to store books, and that they just damn well like it better. I get it, I totally do. One of the things I’m not a fan of reading on my phone. There are just too many distractions: mail, social media, and just wasting time browsing the web as if Facebook and Twitter don’t have a good enough hold on the domain of my wasting time. I know, I know, I could turn off all sorts of notifications, but the world is just a swipe away. I am a weak man.

Whether you read on a portable electronic device or recycled paper, it comes down to personal taste. Either one is okay. God, hopefully, it's all recycled paper, my liberal constitution could not handle it if I were reading words on the remains of a baby Redwood.

I spend my days in front of a computer screen for work or in soul-draining meetings and the thought of sitting by the glow of a book has lost all its appeal. I love the satisfaction of closing a book when finished and even lending out a book that will never be seen again. Almost one year later, I'm forever back with the printed word.


Kristopher said...

I read about 50/50, David. But I vastly prefer printed books. As you say, as a reviewer, often an e-galley is our only option, and I totally get that. But I always tell my authors, a print book is more likely to get my attention because I constantly see it sitting there on the table, screaming my name.

I've never really thought about which I read faster. I know that I enjoyed the e-book experience much more once they made it possible for me to turn off the "data" at the bottom (early Kindles did not allow that). Something about seeing what percentage of the book I have read and some useless page location designation really distracted me and ruined the reading experience.

Steve Weddle said...

I pretty much only read books on my phone, now. It's always with me and the screen is bright and clear. Super easy.

Rusty said...

I love books, the smell and all, but I need room, so new books are e-books only for me. Let's talk now about pricing e-books now, like why in the world a Kindle edition is ever more than the paperback. . .