Paperback or ebooks?

Daysman

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I've no preference for paperbacks or eBooks as both require reading glasses these days, but given the state of my memory I sometimes find I have both...

I'm surprised paperback publishers don't go the route of blue ray and include a digital copy (maybe a one-time code?) with the physical one, but then I've no direct experience of publishing / self publishing realities.

Any thoughts?
 

Vertigo

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I've no preference for paperbacks or eBooks as both require reading glasses these days, but given the state of my memory I sometimes find I have both...

I'm surprised paperback publishers don't go the route of blue ray and include a digital copy (maybe a one-time code?) with the physical one, but then I've no direct experience of publishing / self publishing realities.

Any thoughts?
I've had that with technical books but not fiction, though I think a few did in the early days. However I have a number of technical books that had a one time code that allowed you to download the ebook. That said I've never found a technical reference ebook that really worked!
 

AlexH

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I prefer paperbacks, though I've found myself buying more e-books than I expected (since I bought a Kobo in 2016 for a 4-month trip) as they don't take up extra space or weight, particularly when travelling.
 

Overread

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Two other things I love about ebooks that I forgot to mention

1) Travel - as noted above ereaders are great. Not only do they last for ages on one charge (provided you charged it up you won't run out on the car/plane/train/boat) but they also let you carry lots of books in almost no space and with no weight. Whilst they are more at risk to water damage than a book (though I believe Amazon's newest is sporting waterproofing - probably prompted by all those who read in the bath); they are still fantastic.

2) Size and weight - some writers write a LOT and then publishers squeeze it all into a paperback. A 300 page book isn't bad, 500 is ok, 1000 (yes Peter F Hamilton I'm looking at you) and its not only spine-breakingly risky getting to the middle, but it is actually a pain to hold for extended periods. E-reader never weighs any more nor any less and is small and easy to hold.
 

Les

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Ebooks all the way. Every single time. So much more useful, versatile, and much less space and resource consumption (cost and storage).

My interest is in the content, not the container.
Couldn't agree more. I don't get what the big fuss is about, but still enjoy debating this one.

For me, the ebook has allowed my reading to at least double, just because of convenience, simplicity and portability.
 

Artoriarius

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I generally prefer paperbacks, for the usual reasons. But I also feel that ebooks do have a lot of potential that's kinda being wasted. I mean, you don't really have a lot of the production costs you do with physical books, do you - no paper or ink or printing presses. A lot more can be done with ebooks - illustrations are a lot less expensive, since you'd only be paying for the initial illustration. It makes the file a bit bigger, sure - but what's 20 MB these days? And if one considers adding multimedia content - imagine reading a Star Trek novel which uses an LCARS interface, or a Harry Potter book with moving illustrations! Less extravagantly, I could see ebooks which just emulate the experience of reading a physical book, with pages that really turn, and look like actual paper rather than flat white spaces.

Unfortunately, like I said, none of that's really being explored - I've tried my hand myself at designing fancy ebooks, which is how I know they don't take up much space; and there's Red Hen Publications, which mainly does Harry Potter fanfiction; but I've not encountered anybody doing multimedia ebooks, and the trend seems to be to go for simplicity, so that the user can resize the text and change the font as they wish, rather than doing anything really novel with the format, pun intended.
 

Steve Harrison

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I resisted for a long time, but now I only read on my Kobo. However, some beautifully illustrated non-fiction - Walter Isaacson's Leonardo da Vinci, for example - don't really lend themselves to an electronic format, so in those cases I also buy a paper copy and keep them handy for the pictures.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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Well, I actually prefer hardcovers... But I do much (most?) of my reading these days in bed at night after my partner has gone to sleep -- so in the dark. For this, ebooks are a godsend.
 

Vertigo

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I don't get what the big fuss is about
Because:
My interest is in the content, not the container.
Just this; I, too, really don't understand the fuss. Ebooks are convenient but whether I'm reading an ebook or a paper book if I'm still noticing the difference in the media whilst I'm reading then the book must be rubbish. If the book is half way decent then I'm immersed in it and don't notice the media I'm reading it on. I mean I might notice the smell of a book... when I first pick it up and start reading but I sincerely hope I'm not so distracted that I'm still noticing it five minutes later.

Some people have talked about introducing animations into the book but I don't think you'll see much of that until paper books have been pretty much completely discarded otherwise the author has to produce two products that are fundamentally different; a static paper book and a dynamic ebook. If I want animations I'll go watch a film. For me half the reason for reading books instead of watching TV or films is that it frees my imagination to create my vision of the book. Also if you prefer the experience of using eInk (so much easier on the eye than displays that emit light rather than just reflect it) that technology's refresh rate is simply too slow to support any kind of animation.

But again I just don't understand the fuss. It's about the content not the package.

I'm sure there were many people who hated the move from horse and carriage to cars - preferred the smell of horses to the oily smell of cars etc. - but, guess what, horse and carriage are now a purely speciality form of transport and we all use cars today.
 

picklematrix

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The benefits of ebooks are enough for me to read them as opposed to physical copies, as much as I love the smell and feel of paper books.
E books have less nostalgia, but for long plane and train journeys they are the only practical option.
 

Brian G Turner

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A lot more can be done with ebooks - illustrations are a lot less expensive, since you'd only be paying for the initial illustration. It makes the file a bit bigger, sure - but what's 20 MB these days?
Download fees are normally minimal for text-only paperbacks - but once you start introducing images file sizes can prove significant and limit either your minimum price or force you into a 35% royalty rate instead of a 70% one.

So at the moment, for Kindle ebooks at least, text-only is very much favored by the system.
 

J.C. Scoberg

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Technically illegal, though you won't get complaints from me. I love ebooks and do practically all my reading on them now but one thing I hate (that is mentioned above) is that when you buy ebooks (with or without DRM) that are still under copyright then you don't actually own them you are licenced to read them. What this technical hitch means is that you are not allowed to gift or sell them to someone else or even leave them to someone else in your will; the licence is only for the original purchaser and is not transferable. However I personally feel that if I give an ebook to my Mum say, and completely delete it from my system, then what I have done is technically wrong but morally right; the same as if I give her a paper book.
Did I say "gifted"? What I REALLY meant was "shared in a compliant way within the terms of the ebook licence" ÷{D
 

J.C. Scoberg

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I prefer taking ebooks on holiday / travelling because you can have so many more with you. But I prefer a paperback during my daily commute.

Unless I am remembering things incorrectly, I remember ebooks being noticeably cheaper than paperbacks when they first came about but now seem to be the same price, which cancels out any coat factor for me when comparing the two.

If you could donate ebooks to charity shops and spend an afternoon browsing through a second hand electric library then it would be a very close call indeed.
 

Vertigo

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Here in the UK they are, theoretically, cheaper than paperbacks because they have VAT on them and paperbacks don't. So the book itself is typically a little cheaper but than you're paying the difference to the government.

Another of those ridiculous anomalies around eBooks that the government is in no hurry to fix because they would lose revenue from it. Incidentally the reason for this is the same reason you can't own the ebook. What you are actually buying is a digital licence not a book and a digital licence is subject to VAT but a book isn't.
 

Bick

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I'm interested by the use of the word "books" when discussing e-readers. Many on here have noted how many "books" they have on their Kindle, etc. No, you don't. You don't have any books on your Kindle, you have stories, novels, poems and so forth. But no 'books', and 'ebook' is an oxymoron. I think that's the point for those of us who don't use or like e-readers. I do like books and my love of literature is wrapped up into a broader appreciation of the form as well as the content. Truth be told, I don't really approve of cars or airplanes either, so convenience is clearly less important to me than for some.

Also, as previously noted elsewhere, one advantage of a real book is that, in the event it's dreadful, you can hurl it at the wall in disgust, for little financial cost.
 

Vince W

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Also, as previously noted elsewhere, one advantage of a real book is that, in the event it's dreadful, you can hurl it at the wall in disgust, for little financial cost.
Bravissimo!
 

Artoriarius

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Download fees are normally minimal for text-only paperbacks - but once you start introducing images file sizes can prove significant and limit either your minimum price or force you into a 35% royalty rate instead of a 70% one.

So at the moment, for Kindle ebooks at least, text-only is very much favored by the system.
That's more of a problem with Kindle than with ebooks themselves, honestly - as you can see from the arbitrary royalty rate change. Personally, while Amazon may dominate the online marketplace business, I can't say I'd mind seeing more options that encourage experimentation, rather than the opposite.

Then again, I also think, that whole digital license business @Vertigo mentioned is - whether applied to ebooks or games or any other software - just a great big con, so what do I know?

Also, as previously noted elsewhere, one advantage of a real book is that, in the event it's dreadful, you can hurl it at the wall in disgust, for little financial cost.
There is that, of course. The Recycle Bin just doesn't have the same satisfaction, no matter what sounds I give it...
 

Robert Zwilling

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Books and ebooks, using both. Ebooks are real space savers but too often out of sight out of mind, scrolling through pages of lists. Real books I can easily see, pick one up and start reading. Ebooks make skimming a whole lot easier, almost like they were designed for it, displaying data that can be seen at a glance. Not finishing an ebook couldn't be simpler, whereas a real book is still there. I use the library a lot, they have access to other libraries if they don't have it, read a real book but don't have to keep it. Still buying books, cheap book prices on line, if I don't want to keep it, just drop it off at the library for the book sale contribution pile.
 

elvet

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I tried a Kobo for a while, and I have used my iPad in a pinch for some short stories only available in e-format.
I won’t be giving up my physical books any time soon.
I have two problems with books on screen. First is finding the physical ‘breaks’ in the story. Since I adjust the font, I lose the sense of where a paragraph starts, or where a new scene begins. Chapters are titled, but sometimes POV changes are only given a small spacer. I have missed a POV change before and lost track of where the story was going.
Second, is using maps and appendices. I love flipping back and forth with my books, many of which have these added. With an e-reader, you have to leave the screen, or find the menu, etc.
 
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