What you are about to read is not a rant. I merely felt the need to ramble.
In 2007 Amazon introduced the first Kindle. It was not the first e-reader on the market but its effects are still creating ripples, not only with how we buy books but also how they are published and made available to consumers. Every day, whether I’m on Twitter or perusing my RSS reader, I see posts and articles about ebooks vs. printed books. The of the arguments against one or the other have had valid points (and also ludicrous ones), but they almost always miss one important fact. We are suppose to be buying books for what’s inside them–the story. I love the smell of books as much as the next bibliophile but I don’t buy books because of their aroma. I’m not a serious collector (someone who searches and buys first editions, rare bindings etc.). The story is more important to me, the words a writer poured their soul into, over how it is packaged. I want what’s inside.
With that said, I do think the publishing industry must evolve. Some have, while others seem to be fighting change. Change isn’t easy. When change is big, people resist and react. But as long as there are writers who want to share their stories, books will go on, in one form or another.
I love my Kindle Touch. It’s light-weight, which is good for my hands (evil arthritis) and I can carry as many books around with me as I want. But sometimes a physical copy is nice, especially if it’s a genre I’m fond of like post-apocalypse fiction. I do still buy physical copies of books. Here are my books habits for the last week:
I bought The Dog Stars by Peter Heller and Flow my Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick.
I’m reading The Dog Stars now. It’s good, but since it’s a hardback book it is hurting my hands to hold it.
I also bought a used copy of Daybreak – 2250 A.D. by Andre Norton from my local used bookstore.
I bought After London by Richard Jefferies and Sagas of the Icelanders.
My book buying habits are sporadic, but I think in time I will probably limit my print book purchases to specific topics and/or classics. I love the small format for Daybreak – 2250 A.D. It’s not something you see anymore and I’m already thinking of going back to buy others.
Do I think print books will disappear? No.
I think there will always be a demand and a need for printed books. Can you imagine working on a research paper and all your sources were on your Kindle alone? Flipping back and forth between them would be tedious and far too time consuming.
Will less books be printed? Maybe.
That’s a genuine possibility, especially with fiction.
Do I have any issue paying the same price for a trade paperback and an ebook? No.
Again, I’m paying for the story. Authors and their publishers/editors/agents are selling a story; whether it’s in electronic format or on printed paper. I have zero qualms paying $9.99, $11.99 or even $15.99 (which is what I paid for the ebook of IQ84 by Haruki Murakami).