I originally wrote this post in Dec. 2009, at the beginning of The Great Debate … you know the one: Print vs. eBook. Some insist on continuing this debate, even though it doesn’t look as though, 5 years later, we’re going to lose print books at any time soon. So for all of those who continue to clutch your print books close to your chest and worry over their sudden demise, I have a few words for you…
Reading this post from Booksquare got me thinking – everyone out there who has ever said, “I could never read an e-book on a computer or a reading device,” or “I will never give up print books, because I love the feel of the pages and holding the book while I read,” should put their money where their mouths are and buy new books – lots of them, and insist that all their friends buy new books, too. And buy those books at full price, while they’re at it, and from an independent bookstore. Don’t buy used, because the author doesn’t gain from sales of used books. The only way to keep publishers publishing print books, and paying royalties to the authors who write them, is if those print books actually sell.
But the real point is that e-books, and all the other new technilogical formats, some of which you probably haven’t heard about yet – how about a vook? – are increasing in popularity, and are definitely here to stay. The Next Gen is computer savvy, and much more inclined to receive and read online than my boomer cohorts ever will be. We’ve really only seen the tip of possibilities of where e-publishing is headed. (And 5 years on now it seems that MY generation, the Boomers, are embracing eReaders and eBooks even moreso than was predicted might happen.)
So my point of this post is to suggest that if you truly love print books, and can’t imagine reading a book in any other format, then you can help save those print books by buying them. Support your local authors, attend their readings, browse in independent bookstores and ask their (usually) well-informed staff for suggestions and help with reading selections. Recommend good authors you discover to your friends and encourage those friends to buy their own new copies of books. And buy books for everyone on your gift list.
That’s the best way I know of saving print books.
As for me, I prefer continuing to be an ambidextrous reader, and constantly switch between eReader and my print book library. I still believe that, as authors and publishers, we shouldn’t allow our own preferences to enter publishing decisions. It’s important to provide our books in all the formats in which Readers choose to read them.