But back to the conversation I overheard, I couldn't help but thing about the incredible transformation the world of book publishing has gone through in just the past ten years.
Ebooks were around long before the kindle, but for me, that little device was what opened up the world of ebooks for me. I distinctly remember watching an Oprah episode where she gave away a first generation kindle (the one with the roller wheel, y'all) to her audience. And frankly, I'd never wanted to be in an Oprah audience more.
When the Kindle came on the scene, we had the ability to download the ebooks that were already out in the world, and take them with us, just like the paper books many of us were already lugging around in our purses and backpacks. The kindle also introduced me to the world of erotic romance, but that's a whole other story.
The interesting thing for me that came from the release of the kindle device was that we now had a viable choice. The world could carry a paper book or an e-reader with basically the same amount of space and heft. But each format has some serious pro's and con's.
E-READER PRO's and CON's
-Carrying thousands of books instead of just one.
-The ability to buy the next book in a series IMMEDIATELY
-Reading without someone looking at the cover of your book and feeling like they can comment on it.
-TTS or Text to Speech. (This is now a defunct feature, but I kept my old kindles so I still have this feature on mine, and it's a HUGE PRO for me.)
-Buying books from damn near anywhere in the world.
-Freebies! (Or super cheap sales. Ebooks go on sale A LOT.)
-MAKING THE FONT BIGGER! Bless this feature. When my eyes are fried, it's a lifesaver.
-Battery-powered. (I swear, the one day I need it most is the day it dies.)
-Not able to skim pages.
-Expensive. (The price has gone down, but back in the day, it was a $400 investment to get this bad boy.)
-Ads now appear unless you pay extra.
-Distortion of graphics and charts depending on the publisher.
-Flipping to footnotes and indexes is a pain in the ass.
PAPERBOOK PRO's and CON's
-The feel of the paper. When a publisher invests in paper quality, it makes me keep reading.
-No need for batteries.
-You can borrow for free from your library. Aside from the cost of getting there, you can read a paper book without paying money.
-Immediate reading. No waiting for a screen to turn on or an app to load if you read on a tablet.
-Author autographs. There is nothing like holding in your hands something signed by your literary rockstar.
-Reference books. Ebooks don't have the easy flip through factor, and never will.
-If you buy your books instead of borrowing from the library, it's expensive to get the new releases. And with costs as they are now, you can buy a kindle for the same price as two hard covers.
-It's only one book at a time. Unless you want to give yourself back problems and carry five at once.
-Damage. It's easy to ding up a book, break the spine, spill on it. They yellow and get gross over time. And we won't even talk about the questionable stains found on some library books. Ew.
-You have to travel or wait for delivery of your favorite books. No shopping in your pajamas with unwashed hair.
-Nosey people. I hate having to deal with whatever reaction someone might have. The joy of reading in public is avoiding human interaction.
Can you tell by my list that I'm never going to give up either type of book?
Because I'm not. And I seriously doubt anyone else is either. There are always trends coming and going. Honestly, the thing the arguing women missed out on was the beauty of having different options to read. For those who have poor eyesight, ebooks allow them to increase the font and allow them to read. For people who are completely blind, audiobooks are becoming bigger than ever. Getting people access to the stories however they want to read them is the most important, if you ask me.
For my own reading life, I tend to live by 5 major rules when buying books.
1. Always buy reference material in paper. I've tried multiple times to do reference in audio and ebook, and if the info is good, I will always buy the print later anyway.
2. Always buy self-help/motivation books in audio. I don't know if this is simply a "how I started is how I'll continue" vibe, but I vastly prefer listening to self-help tomes in audio format. It's like someone in my ear, cheering me on.
3. Always buy genre fiction in ebook. This only has one caveat. I will buy print versions of books if I'm at a signing. But 9 times out of 10, I won't read the paper. They are for cuddling and cooing over only.
4. Borrow from the library and request desired content frequently. I am a huge advocate of the library. (You won't catch me with a KU subscription.) So when my library doesn't have a fave author, I always put in a request for the book. Even if I'm running right out to buy it after searching in the library's website. I want the library to know that romance and erotic romance are valid forms of literature.
5. Buy from a bookstore, or somewhere I know the author gets a cut. Now don't get me wrong. I do scour half-price bookstores. But when I buy from a half-price bookstore, I always buy the ebook to go with it. Or I am in the store searching for out-of-print materials. Currently I'm snatching up Samhain Publishing books I loved in ebook since I'll never be able to buy them in print from the online store again. And I'm still holding out hope that one day I'll stumble across some L.J. Smith Vampire Diaries with the original 90's cover art. But if I'm buying a reference book, it's from Amazon or a bookstore. I know how hard it is to deal with pirates and scammers. I want the authors to get the money for their work. Even if it costs me a little more. And if times are hard? See rule 4. Libraries pay for their books, and the more I borrow, the more copies of the author's next release my library will stock.
What about you? Do you prefer ebooks or paper? Or are you like me and want certain types of books in different formats? Any pro's or con's you think I missed? I'd love to hear about them.