Where did all the book stores go? In today's guest post, Tina Marie Westbrook discusses eBooks vs print ... and reminisces on the joy of entering a book shop. Enjoy!
[sendtokindle] (Oh! the irony of the "send to kindle" button!)
It's a Matter of Preference
There was a time, not so long ago, when a visit to the local bookstore was an adventure. But with time comes change and since the explosion of the internet the way we read and purchase books has virtually made bookstores extinct.
Perhaps my fondness of bookstores stems from my childhood. I grew up in the age of bookstores. Not only did we not have e-books, but we didn’t even have the internet! If a book was what you were looking for, you had to venture out your front door and make the trek to your local bookseller.
Yes e-books are convenient and you can take an entire library with you wherever you go, but for me nothing compares to the experience of visiting a bookstore. Walking the aisles, surrounded by thousands of titles, is enough to make any avid reader giddy. It’s practically a requirement to pick up several books, read the back covers and skim the pages for a sneak peak of the words waiting to be read.
Within the confine of a bookstore there is a sense of community. Turn any corner and you will find people discussing books they have enjoyed and making recommendations to complete strangers. If that isn’t enough joy for one day, simply stroll over to the children’s section and discover the exhilaration on a child’s face as he/she finds the next edition of their cherished chapter book series. These are moments the internet cannot provide.
So what can the internet provide? The internet provides convenience. With the ease and speed of a click of the mouse you can be reading your new e-book in seconds, without ever leaving your couch or shedding your pajamas. If e-books aren’t your thing, you can easily have your new book delivered without the trip to a bookstore. Which brings me to the point of this post: What happens if the book you want is only available as an e-book? Where are the real books???
Let’s face it, even though many people love to shop on line, there are just as many who prefer a traditional book over an e-book. As a writer, if I were to only publish my books using the electronic format, I would automatically be reducing my reader base. This is one time when a writer can please all the people all the time. I would encourage any writer who only publishes electronically to consider traditional books. There is a definite market for both and with no additional effort you can easily satisfy any reader’s preference.
Ebook vs Print
A few advantages of e-books:
- Size/Weight: An e-reader such as the Kindle or the Nook weighs substantially less than a traditional book and you can take an entire library with you wherever you go.
- Price: e-books are typically less expensive than traditional books and many are available for free.
- Speed of Delivery: When you purchase an e-book it is delivered to your e-reader instantly.
- Storage: Bookshelves not required.
A few advantages of traditional books:
- Warranty not required: Like any other electronic, e-readers can break; leaving you with nothing to read. Books are tangible. You can hold them in your hands and unless you drop it in a swimming pool, bath tub, or set it on fire, it will be there when you’re ready to read it.
- Battery charge: Unlike e-readers, books don’t need to be charged. Forget to charge the e-reader or go on vacation and leave the charger behind, and you won’t be reading anything.
- Page flipping: Although you can flip ahead with an e-reader it takes time and you can’t flip right back to the page you were on within a matter of seconds the way you can with a traditional book.
- Autographed copies: Although many authors are now autographing their e-books, somehow it’s not as impressive to show your friends. Meeting your favorite author and watching them sign your book in front of you is an experience that can’t be replaced.
Whether you choose to purchase a traditional book or an e-book is a matter of preference. As a writer, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as you’re reading, I’m happy. Books have the ability to take us places we may otherwise never have the opportunity to visit. They provide us the ability to experience things, real or imagined, our minds have never considered. And they introduce us to people who make us think, laugh, cry and remember. A book is more than an electronic device or a couple hundred pieces of paper. A book is a window with a view; open one up and enjoy the scenery.
Do you publish in both print and ebook formats? Share your thoughts on eBook vs print in the comments below.