Friday, January 18, 2013

Hard back or ebook? That is the Question

I have been reading books in both hard back and ebook formats for a year now—ever since I got a Kindle for Christmas a year ago. I still struggle to decide if I like books on my Kindle or if I prefer to read them in hardback.

One discovery I have made is that I like to travel with my Kindle. I have a lot of stored books sent to me by publishers, books for my book club, and other books that I just couldn’t resist on Amazon. They are all there at my bidding and all I have to carry is just one light device. Additionally, when I  buy a book for book club, it is cheaper to buy it for my Kindle than to buy a hardcover book.

On the other hand, I have discovered that when I am at home, I like to read from hard copy. I like to underline and mark pages. I also like to know how many pages in the chapter or section of the book. Harder to do on an ebook. Additionally, when it is time to write about the book for my blog, it is difficult to find the section of the ebook that you want to mention, or the quote you want to share.

I reread Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple for my book club. Because I had given away my hard copy, I bought an ebook to read for Wednesday night’s meeting. (By the way, I loved this book as much the second time as I did the first time.) If I had the hard copy, I would have been able to just turn to the funny sections that I wanted to share, but instead, I had to borrow someone else’s hard copy book to find the section. 

An article in Shelf Awareness today precipitated my rambling thoughts. It said that a survey by Codex confirms that ebook purchases are outpacing hard copy purchases. “Codex's surveys show that 53% of people who shop at a physical store go to find new books and new authors. Physical stores sell a more balanced mix of fiction and nonfiction, while e-book bestsellers skew toward general fiction and genre fiction.” For instance, 35% of all ebooks bought were romance novels. That I can believe. Certainly some of the popularity of the “50 Shades of Grey” books was because they could be bought as ebooks. People tend to know what book they are going to purchase when they buy an ebook. They aren’t browsing like they would be in a bookstore.

Interestingly enough, children’s books are still most popular in hard copy. Thank goodness. I write a second blog for an online K-12 school for which I am the librarian. I recently suggested in a posting that there are several important things children learn from reading a picture book that they can’t get from an ebook. Of primary importance is the blending of pictures and text. That is crucial for picking up cues and learning to read. 

Anyway, I will now be mentioning that I read the book in ebook format in future blog postings. And I am posing a question for future discussion: What is your preferred book format?

1 comment:

Cecelia said...

Being a retired high school English teacher and the owner of a used bookstore, I shall always be in love with hard copy books. I shall never the forget the sensation of holding in my hand a second edition copy of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. With it's cobalt blue leather cover and gold embossed lettering, I felt I was holding a work of art.