Ebooks? Paperback? What’s Your Preference?

Are you wondering where the cool picture is? I always have one, but stay tuned, because it’s at the bottom, and you’ll find out why once you get there. 🙂 I know, you want to race ahead. Just hold on while I jump into this week’s topic. Yes. It’s all about ebooks and paperback.

This week I was thrilled to be interviewed by the editor of my regional newspaper. She asked, “As a writer, what was my preference? Ebooks or paperback?” When I answered ebooks, she asked, “Where did I see the future with them?”

I live in New Zealand, and we’re a little behind the rest of the world with ereaders. Seriously, we are. I’d say we’re even lagging by about three years. So many here don’t understand how great ebooks are. Being able to buy and instantly download, and at a fraction of the cost of a paperback means time and money saved. When I’m asked by someone on the street where they can buy my book, and I say it’s an ebook, half the time they frown and say, “I’ve heard of ebooks, but I want a real book that I can feel and touch.” Now they’re not saying this in a mean way, but they just don’t understand.

Sure, I enjoy holding a paperback and turning those crisp pages, and I still buy paperbacks from time to time. Particularly from my favourite authors where I know I’ll want to mark up pages which inspire me. But buying a paperback book is becoming rare for me.

So what to tell the editor, where did I see the future of them? Particularly when I knew half the people reading the article would be of the same mind as those I meet on the street. Thankfully, it came to me in a flash of inspiration. Phew.

“You only have to look around you to see the advances in technology and it becomes clear where ebooks sit in the future. In preschool our under-fives use digital devices. They play fun software games which teach them math, English and so much more, but right along with those games they’re reading ebooks. Our school-aged children read ebooks on their ipads, smart phones, laptops, tablets and of course ereaders. We’re teaching our young ones to read in a new way. They’ll bring what they know and enjoy with them into the future.”

It was then I realised the depth behind my answer. What is going to happen to paperback in the future as the demand for ebooks grow? Oh boy, will paperback even be able to maintain a foothold on the market?

I’m reminded of when I was a child and of how technology has changed. My mother had an old washing machine with a manual wringer. We wouldn’t even consider holding onto one of those now. What for when with the press of a button today’s washing machines do it all. We could all name hundreds of new inventions which have surpassed the old. So, what will happen to paperback in ten, twenty, thirty years’ time? What are your thoughts? Do you think they’ll still be here? The atlas? Those beautiful photography books? Books of all genres? It’s a little scary to think of paperback becoming rare.

Drop me a comment and tell me what you think? And what’s your preference? Ebook or paperback?

And in light of all this talk of technology, take a look at this funny picture.

picture funny 6

LOL. Fabulous, and I bet the child totally got it. Don’t forget the Lucky In Love Blog Hop still runs until the end of the day, and I’ll contact that winner once their name is drawn using Random.org. You all have a great week. Catch ya later.


PROTECTOR > BUY THE BOOK: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Lyrical Press / iTunes / Kobo



26 thoughts on “Ebooks? Paperback? What’s Your Preference?

  1. Oh my gosh, I used to think I would never (ever) want to read books on a device–didn’t I love the feel, the smell, the beauty of a book on my shelves and in my hands? Yes. Then, I got a Kindle Fire for my birthday…I can change the size of the font? I can have all these books on my virtual bookshelf? I can choose and download a book in the middle of the night?

    I adore eBooks. Really. And as much as I hate to admit it (don’t know why) I prefer them now. Except I still like graphic novels as paper books. That’ll probably change too.

    1. Hi Amy, I love being able to change the font, too.
      Funny story… My grandmother (who’s 88 and only reads paperback), can only do so with a magnifying glass. I loaned her my ereader for a couple of days, and then I struggled to get it back. She loved the whole font change thing. LOL.

  2. I currently have more paperback books than ebooks. If I have a choice of format for a given book, and it happens to be a story I want to read a lot, I’ll buy in both formats so I can hold the book in bed, or take it with me via my tablet if we go somewhere.

    I do have a big concern about how swept up people are with e-anything: years from now it could all be lost. I had stuff saved on old CD-RW disks that I wasn’t able to access when I upgraded my computer. We save so much as data (and I mean private citizens as well as businesses and government) and I wonder if this era will become a sort of dark ages in history if future generations can’t access records of us. Scientists worry that our sun could send off a large EMP, which would obliterate all electronic data. As computer platforms change, that can also make data saved in a previous format unreachable.

    Where ebooks are concerned, there are so many books only in that format and I do wonder, will we still be able to read them in ten or twenty years, or more?

    In answer to your question, while I enjoy the portability of ebooks, I prefer paperbacks for their permanency.

    1. Hi Cadence,

      That’s an interesting thought about the stuff we have saved on old technology. In NZ our entire country has just gone HD digital for televisions. You can no longer run an old box TV. You have to have a satellite dish or state of the art aerial. It’s crazy, because going digital has also meant videos can no longer be used. I have heaps of my favourite movies on video, and not from that long ago. Now I can’t watch them. And in the future if I want to save a movie, it has to be copied onto a USB stick or DVD. With how quickly technology is changing, maybe these too will be out of date before I know it.

      Love your comment. It’s very thought-inspiring.

  3. This has been a topic very much on my mind lately. And a topic of discussion in the break room at work. Many have transitioned accepting new tech no problem. What is interesting it isn’t just young people that are using the new tech.But there is the flip side. There are ones that will not budge, holding on to what they know. Thinking all this is just a fad. It’s no fad , it’s progress.

    An example I encountered where I work now. A simple accounting practice I had grown accustom to at a previous job was direct deposit. They offer the service, but still have all staff meetings twice a month where the accountant passes out the envelopes that used to hold your check . Now just the check stub.

    To me this seems counter productive.. If you want documentation. set up a web site. a few clicks and the info is right there. WHY waste the paper? Not to mention the labor cost having all employees coming in for one to two hours. If you want staff to get together save that money and use it to sponsor a bowling league or something .More would get done than all crowded in a room not listening to the speaker.

    I have let myself get way off topic. The point I was trying to illustrate is technology is affecting every part of our lives..We will have to learn how to do things differently. Or we will get left behind.That might sound cold and caustic. Sorry I am not trying to be. Just being realistic. Whether we choose to accept it. It will happen any way.Time goes on with or without us.

    I have to be honest I am not a beaming example of one who has embraced everything new tech. My thing is I love my books.There are hundreds of them everywhere you look in my apartment. I know I am the last of the bleeding heart romantics.You can’t tell me you don’t feel something when you pick up a book and you start thumbing through the pages. Breathing in the odor of the print. What can I say.

    Now with all that said. I am not a purest I love my electronics. So there you have it. It will be the e- book that win out over the paperback. I just have to realize I am being selfish. Why waste the wood on a book when I can have the same information digitally.

    1. You’re right, it isn’t just the young ones using this technology. For those middle-aged, they grew up with the digital age as it came upon them. They’re very savvy, and definitely teaching their children and immersing them in it. And in some cases the children are even teaching their parents. (My 14-year-old daughter is constantly showing me new things. LOL.)

      I love your saying. Time goes on without us. That really says it all. 🙂

    2. I do know what you mean about learning from the youngster’s My one niece was to go off to college this past Sept. So I racked my brain as to what to give her ..I had my brand new Kobe Reader I had just bought. Perfect. She picked it up and all of her fingers where moving at once. lol Me and my two finger peck. I do miss that reader. I will have another by the end of summer.

    3. Oooh, that is one lucky niece you’ve got. It’s amazing how quick their fingers are. I just about go cross-eyed watching how fast my kids are on their digital devices. When I tell them to slow down so I can see, it’s still a blur. LOL.

    4. And just I thought I’d arrived , payed my dues, nothing more to learn.It’s when I get that attitude about me that reality rocks my world. Making it clear the learning isn’t done yet.

      I guess I have a stubborn side.Finding a comfortable place and not wanting to budge.. If I am learning one thing here of late that is to be resilient. Become open to change.

      I don’t think there is anything more relevant right now than change. History shows a world in flux. It is evident the spans of time between major change is shorter and shorter.

      Consider the advent of the written word. It’s but a small part of world change . To you and I it is the center of our universe.

      What began as chiseled pix on rock changed to papyrus to paper. From the scribes that wrote it all free hand. to the invention of the printing press. And the word spread faster and further.

      Here is the irony of change . Generations of scribes no longer in demand.Sound familiar? Cause and effect.change does not happen without casualties

      Every generation has felt this..Except now thing s are changing so quickly no one has time to get comfortable with it.

      I was just thinking of the times I would visit Yiayia, Greek for grandmother . She lived to the age of 104. passing this year a month after her birthday. I just remember the stories she had . the things she saw change Before cars to rockets into space.Pretty amazing her perspective on these things.

      But it is teaching me to be more open minded and receptive to what is happening.

      Which just reminded me. I don’t remember if I had thanked you. You wrote an article in I guess you could call it your newsletter. I get it as email. Anyway the article spoke about blogging and Word Press.Giving me a heads up about what Google was doing .So through you tutorial I was able to make the change easier. And didn’t lose any of my writing.

      Thanks again.

    5. Your grandmother sounds wonderful, and it’s amazing what they saw unfold over the past century. 104–what a great age. She must have seen so much. My nanna is 88 and I love listening to the stories she tells. They often remind me to slow down and appreciate the good things.

      And you’re so right, the span of time between major changes is becoming shorter and shorter. Even our children live in a now-now generation. If there’s something they’d like, it’s almost at their fingertips. They almost don’t understand the concept of waiting.

      I love what you said about generations of scribes no longer in demand. That sounds totally familiar.

      Gosh, what a wonderful comment. Loved it. Thanks so much.

  4. As an author, I have to choose paperbacks. I want something to physically hold. I don’t have to ‘charge’ books to read them, I don’t have to download. I don’t have to worry about a book not working. Ereaders will not last forever. Eventually, you’ll have to throw out one and buy another. Technology will keep advancing so ereaders will become obsolete. A real book never becomes obsolete. It will last. There’s something about holding a 100, 200 year old book in your hands. I have a few and they are some of my most treasured possessions. I think ereaders are great for schools and the military and I suppose if one travels a lot. But to me, even traveling doesn’t warrant my needing one. I can pack four to 6 books in my suitcase and take up about as much room as a pair of shoes. I understand the concept, I understand the love for them. As an author, looking at my work on the screen is no different than looking at it on the computer screen when I wrote it. I want something tangible. I want something I can sign. I want something that doesn’t take batteries to read. I want a book. Words on a screen, to me, are not books. You can’t autograph them, you can’t store a lock of your baby’s hair on page 58, you can’t use a ribbon from when you were 5 to bookmark a page. Give me paper any day.

    1. Oh yeah, there is something special about holding an old book in your hands. I definitely love that. My grandmother (who’s 88-years-old) just passed onto me some of her favourite children’s books. I remember her reading them to me as a child, and now I’m reading them to my children.

      I have to say though, ereaders don’t have batteries. You plug the device into your computer (any USB port on it) for about 2-4 hours to charge. After it’s charged, the battery lasts about 2-3 months. That really surprised me to start with. 2-3 months of reading without having to recharge again. Very nice.

      Oh, I love your comment about the baby’s hair on page 58. I’m so with you there. I love my babies’ books. I can’t imagine them not being tangible. Those pages where I’ve painted their hands just after their birth then pressed it to paper and captured the image. Then again at 5-years. The two images sit side-by-side in their baby books. The kids love sitting and flicking through the pages.

      Nice comment. Thanks so much.

  5. Great post, Joanne, and love the new look of your site!! Way cool about your getting interviewed.

    I received a color Nook for my birthday a year and a half ago, and I’ll admit it took me almost a year to fully “embrace” it (though, part of that was due to me spending more time writing than reading). Now, I love it. And I have an app on my phone for it as well, so if I’m away from home without my Nook, I can pull up the Nook app and dive back in. Plus. between my Nook and my cell phone, the number of books at my fingertips is virtually unlimited. I even found a free Bible app the other day, so I can have inspiration at my fingertips any time, anywhere. Love it.

    Do I think paperbacks will go away? No. Will I still read them? Absolutely. But ebooks, in my mind, are not a passing fad. They are the “next generation”, and technology will continue to advance around us.

    1. Hi Kyra. Thanks for saying you loved the new look to my website. I’ve been wanting a more refined header, so I got stuck in and let my artistic side loose.

      It was way cool to be interviewed. The article was only supposed to be a small piece in the regional newspaper, but when the paper arrived, I was shocked to see a full-page spread. The lovely editor even had a whopping 5×8 image of PROTECTOR’s book cover on it, plus the blurb along with the article. I was blown away. You couldn’t miss the article if you tried. LOL.

      I was so interested to see that you’ve had your NOOK for a year and a half. Why? Because I’ve only had my ereader for one year. Yet we both love them. It hasn’t taken us long to adapt. That’s just how quick it happens. Technology takes over super fast.

      I mentioned in an earlier comment that I loaned my 88-year-old grandmother my ereader for a couple of days because she was struggling with the small font in paperbacks. (She was using a magnifying glass to read them). I could barely get my ereader back off her afterward. She adapted real fast, and now wants one of her own. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  6. I rarely ever buy paperbacks these days but I’m surprised at how many people still have a resistance to ereaders. Just yesterday I was sitting in my den, planning a remodel job with my husband and looking at my bookcases full of books (this is after I donated 14 boxes to the local library and a nursing home). All I kept thinking was I need to pack them up to make room for the remodel job we want to do.

    It’s so much easier with an ereader–hundreds of books stored at my fingertips. I was adamantly against the idea when I got my first Kindle. I’ve now moved past that to a Kindle Fire AND an iPad Mini. I’m definitely an ereader girl! The only time I buy a paperback now is if I’m purchasing nonfiction (most often used for research). I still love highlighting sections and marking up the pages.

    Will paperbacks go away? Probably not for some time. I do believe, however, the popularity of ebooks will continue to grow and more and more people will embrace the idea. I believe even publishers prefer to move in that direction due to costs and issues with inventory.

    Wonderful post, Joanne, and I ADORE the new look for your site. It rocks!!

    1. Hi Mae. Thanks for saying you adore the new look for my site. I’ve been wanting a more refined header, so I got stuck in and let my artistic side loose.

      That’s so cool you’re remodelling. I remember seeing the picture of your office on your blog, and I was completely envious over all that space. Now to think you’ll possibly have more. You are so lucky. I’m drooling.

      Make sure we get to see the new look. 🙂 I can’t wait for that.

      You’re right about publishers preferring the move to ebooks. Costs and issues with inventory are definitely hitting them. We only have to look at the BIG-6, now becoming the BIG-4 in NY to see that belts are tightening. And as I say this, I’m reminded that it’s not just the readers, but the publishers and retailers who drive the direction of the market. Retailers like Amazon and B&N are growing in popularity. They sell far more ebooks than paperback. Then there’s the growing number of e-publishers. When you follow the trail, it leads to ebooks. Interesting.

  7. This is great, Joanne! I love the meme you put in. So funny! Ereaders must be a theme today. i read another blog on the topic. I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy toward my Kindle Paperwhite today.

  8. That is too true and the pic too hilarious, Joanne!
    Your answer about books and the future is spot on. It does worry me where paper books might go, but I’ll hold tight to my favorite ones.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing and kudos on the interview!

  9. I have nothing against e-books, I think they have there place, but I love my paperbacks. I love holding them, smelling them, cuddling them (I confess I’m a book addict) and I love having them on my shelves. My dream is to own a home one day with my own library filled with books from floor to ceiling covering all the walls. There is just something so beautiful about a book on a shelf. I think in the future there will be far more e-books than paperbacks and it might even get to the stage where paperbacks become print on demand only and in that case I’ll be that eccentric old woman paying a crazy large amount of money to print out a paperback copy.

    1. That’s so cool, Rochelle. I love your comment. In an earlier one I mentioned my grandmother has just given me a ton of paperbacks from when I was a child. I’m now reading them to my kiddies.

      At night I snuggle up in bed with them and there’s something quite magical about turning those pages another generation on. I see some of my favourite passages, and I’m doing what my grandmother did for me, and passing on the legacy of reading stories that should never be forgotten. The pages are worn and some smeared with chocolate since Nanna and I use to read while we ate chocolate cookies. But those are the memories that an ebook can’t bring. 🙂

      What a cool discussion this has been. I love ebooks, but I love paperback.

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