Let’s get one thing straight!

I can’t believe that, after all this time since eBooks first hit the market, I would need to write a rant like this, so please bear with me …

On June 1, 2014, I published this blog post, No more “vs.” – Okay?, because I was weary of all the adversity that has proliferated in this writing and book business over the decades I’ve been part of it. I don’t know that my post made the slightest bit of difference, but getting all that off my chest at least made me feel a bit better.

There is one “vs.” though that still seems to be prevalent out there. And I see this being said often enough to make me want to reach into cyberspace and shake those who continue to do this, telling them to “Stop Right There!”

Stop referring to Print books as “REAL” books! Just stop it right now!!

All the stories, essays, words-we-string-together and publish for others to read are BOOKS. They are all REAL BOOKS, in fact, because a “Book” is what we write.

Print and eBook are the “formats” in which we choose to publish our BOOKS. This formatting can also include audio, iBook, and whatever else happens to be out there at the moment.

ALL of these formats are REAL BOOKS! Get it?

I am so tired of the only-print faction of writers/readers who constantly hold up their personal choice of format, calling them REAL, as though this were some kind of superior method of reading the material we, as writers and publishers, produce.

As a writer and a publisher, I have always believed it is our duty to provide our BOOKS in whichever format our readers wish to read them. (Obviously, within our own budget constraints and our ability to deliver these formats to the readers.)

So, please, let’s completely drop the REAL description when touting the benefits of one format over another, shall we? After all, if you do describe print books as “real” you’re only proving to me, at least, that you don’t have a clue as to what you’re talking about.


I hope I’ve cleared up any misconceptions, for once and for all.

Thank you.

34 responses

  1. I think the issue is that people are so used to the real world (eg IRL) and the virtual one that it’s transposed across to ebooks without any thought. So, I do have sympathy as I know what people mean. It will die out in terms of a definition though, as real and virtual life become even more blurred than they already are. It’s just a blip from the past. Seriously.

  2. Had to be said. Thank you. Paper or ebook, ’nuff said. 🙂

  3. laurie27wsmith

    The same people who state that eBooks aren’t real probably download music, movies, use social media, tweet etc. They all come via cyberspace to be listened to, watched and typed. I think they’re just snobs who can’t get their heads around the fact that everyone now has a chance to write and publish a book.

  4. All I know is, a lot of people tell me they reject the whole idea of the ebook, yet they sure ain’t gobbling up my paperback! There’s a lot of hot air being blown, I think. They get to come off as purists, but what they’re really saying is, “I have no intention of buying your book.” 😡

    1. I agree with you, Kevin!

  5. Maybe I’m guilty of saying those words, as well. I’m not sure. I believe some readers / writers may mean — as I do — ‘the original, the paper format’. Maybe, after this post readers / writers become more aware and chose their wording more carefully?

    1. There are still people out there who think only paper constitutes a real book, unfortunately. They think because they only enjoy reading that one single format that makes it the only way a book can be considered real, in their world. The ePublishing deniers, I call them.

      1. Sigh. We can fight progress the hard way or accept change is constant. I’ve had to correct myself to say, a paper copy or a printed copy. 🙂

      2. Thank you for making the correction!There are still many who will never change, believing themselves to be somehow above ePublishing because they worship the printed book.

      3. Not only are my bookshelves stuffed with books, but so is my Kindle. I must stop downloading till I catch up reading. 🙂

      4. Didn’t anyone tell you? You’ll never catch up!!! You’re doomed! Just like the rest of us!!!

      5. Yes, I d.o. know. I volunteer at a used bookstore as well… 😀

    1. Thanks for reblogging!

  6. I’m surprised in this day and age it’s possible to only publish a print book. Any serious author has to have their book available electronically whether they choose to publish in print or not. I would seiously wonder about any has-been who hasn’t entered the electronic market yet. For that matter, it’s so easy to do both, I wonder why anyone would be limited to one format.

    For me it’s story that matters, no matter what format it comes in, print, electronic, movie, dance, television, music, oral, etc.

  7. Do people really do this? Surely they dont actually believe it? 😀

    1. Yes, they do, and I believe, yes, they do. Their loss, really.

      1. Some people are a little superior, dont you think? I could be wrong, but it seems to me that most READERS dont actually care or make a distinction anymore, so it must surely be those who work in trad pub. Dont they realise its big business now? You’re right, their ignorance is making them miss out.

  8. Ebooks are most definitely real! I’m not saying that as a writer, but as a reader. I enjoy an ebook as much as a paperback, maybe more because the Kindle allows me to make the font larger. Either way, it’s the same story and same enjoyment.

  9. Reblogged this on Reade and Write and commented:
    More words of wisdom from Susan Toy!

  10. Hear, hear! I’m reblogging this on Reade and Write. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Amy!

  11. Applause.
    It’s like saying a tale told around the campfire or hearth aren’t stories.
    (Now if you can just get the “Working Women” vs the “Stay at Home Moms” battles to stop…)

    1. Ha! I’m not a mother, but I am certainly willing to try, if you think it might help, philmouse!

      1. Oh, let’s just let them fight it out…keeps them busy and out of the way (HA HA)

  12. Reblogged this on blindoggbooks and commented:
    Calling print books “real” would be the equivalent of comparing music released on vinyl, tape or CD “real” as opposed to that released in MP3 or other electronic formats. As Susan Toy says in her “rant” – “they’re ALL real!!”

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Tim!

  13. Thank you for saying this. It becomes a bit daunting and confusing for aspiring writers like myself when the war of formats (and the war of publishing style – indie, self, traditional, etc.) seems to take up a lot of the “advice” out there.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Russell! Best of luck with your writing.

  14. I agree. It doesn’t matter what format they’re in, I read them. In fact, I have one of each going right now. I may prefer to read physical print books, but the convenience of eBooks is great, and I don’t have to pack around so many physical books.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jay! I’m the same as you, and have several formats on the go at the same time. I’m even considering borrowing audio books from the library now for those long road trips I’ll be driving this summer.

      1. I’ve never really thought I could do audio books, considering how easily it is to get distracted from them.

%d bloggers like this: