What kind of book is better? A hardcopy book you can hold in your hand, place on a shelf, feel the pages turn, loan to a friend, and use a cool bookmark to hold your place of where you left off reading? Or an e-book you can download immediately, load on your e-reader (with multiple other e-books, all in the same amount of “space” as your reader), keep with you at all times, pay less (though not always much less) for, and enlarge the type size as needed for aging eyes?
Or perhaps the question should be; which kind of book is better for you? Because it does all come down to personal preference and need.
I ask the question because I came across this infographic based on a poll conducted recently by Fatbrain, a UK-based print book marketplace. Over 1,000 Fatbrainers responded with their reasons for preferring a hardcopy book over an e-book. Of course since the site is a print book marketplace, the poll is limited to those who have a preference for hardcopy books.
And I happen to agree with ALL their reasons for preferring a hardcopy book. I love the feeling of a book in my hands. That’s not surprising because I’ve been reading books since I was a wee little lad. I love the smell of paper and ink when I open a book. I love collecting them and sharing them and even giving some of them away. I love walking into bookstores and libraries and scouring the shelves looking for just the “right” book or books. I have a large library in my home, with full bookshelves in almost every room (none in the kitchen or bathroom, though the bathroom has a magazine rack) and I even have boxes of books I need to buy more shelves for. I love analog books, even in this digital age.
But I happen to like both formats so I also have reasons for enjoying an e-book.
I love be able to immediately purchase an e-book, regardless of where I am, and start reading. I love being able to carry several books with me when I travel, but all in the space of my e-reader instead of filling my suitcase with hardcopy books. I love that I can explore many new and different authors, often for free. One of the things I have been doing the past year or so is to download books offered for free, on subjects or genres I am interested in, by authors I have not previously read. This has allowed me to sample a wide variety of authors and books and while some have been “not-so-great”, others have been fantastic. But they have all been free and they have all, bad or good, allowed me to expand the horizons of storytelling and to discover new favorites at no cost. Now I buy other e-books and hardcopy books of my new favorites to add to my library.
So, in my own life, I have a place and room for both formats. And I don’t feel the need to limit myself to one or the other.
What about you? Do you have a decided preference for analog or digital books? Do you have any other reasons not mentioned for your preference? I’d love to read your comments below.