Lets be honest here, a book is a book and a story is a story. The format really doesn’t matter in the end. An E-Book can take you on an adventure just as easily as a paperback or hardcover can, and in some cases cost less overall.
But why choose one over the other? I am sure other folks have weighed in on this topic before. I am not the first and certainly will not be the last to discuss this concept. But I wanted to chime in and give my 3.5 cents on the matter. Thats right, its totally more then 2 cents. Its because I care.
So lets list out the pros and then the cons of the two formats, to begin the little discussion here. There are few differences between the two formats so it will be a short list.
PROS of EBooks:
1 – Cost. EBooks tend to be cheaper to purchase. Amazon has thousands at 99 cents and many regular non indie titles run $4.99 or less.
2 – Portability. EBooks are easier to take with you. For example, I have an old Samsung Galaxy S3 that I no longer use. It has 16GB of Space. It is basically a portable EBook reader now. And MP3 player
3 – Space. 16gb Of internal storage on my phone holds a LOT
PROS of Physical Editions:
1 – Style. Nothing says awesome like a nice bookshelf full of books
2 – Feeling. There is something about holding an actual book, its smell, its feel that just tells you “Its time for an adventure”.
CONS of EBooks:
1 – DRM. Many EBooks use DRM. While its highly unlikely it IS possible for a service to revoke your license for a book. Remember, ANY digital download from a service that has DRM is more a rental then you owning it.
2 – Reader Cost and Usability. EBook readers are not the cheapest things in the world, and in some cases are even unwieldy. Cell phones help but the screens are tiny
CONS of Physical Editions:
1 – Decay. Books can and will eventually break down. Glue wears out, covers get faded.
2 – Cost. Paperbacks usually range around $8, but brand new hardcovers can easily hit $30. Buying used can get around this but then you run into issues of decay and breakdown.
3 – SPACE. Christ bookshelves take up floor space.
They are, in the end, similar. So why the debate? Why do people talk about one over the other?
I suppose part of it has to do with how we were raised. I grew up prior to the digital age. I am 33 now. And while I have always been a bit of a techie, I grew up before cell phones could use the internet. Back when going to the library to borrow books was a great time out. Kids growing up now however have access to the net almost from the day they are born, with cell phones and tablets at their beck and call.
Technology is moving ahead. Print is not dead, far from it. Comics are still preferred in print form (unless designed for the web I prefer print comics when I do read them), and plenty of people young and old prefer to have something they can hold in their hand, a feeling of permanence to go along with it. Personally I see an argument for both, and truly I would love to start seeing say Print Editions coming with codes for the EBook versions, for folks like me who want both options. That would be the best thing ever.
If you had asked me a year or so ago I would have told you that for everything but Game Rulebooks I would have gone with Ebooks every time. I have always preferred my tabletop rpg books to be physical, easier to reference. But now, I can see both sides. Its nice to always have my little pocket ebook reader with me to read on the go, but when I am home its annoying to use and would prefer to read an actual book, if I can.
Which do you prefer? Do you have a preference?