Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I’m throwing in the towel

I’m sure you’ve all seen the headlines: “Ebook Sales Eclipsing Sales of Traditional Books”, “Books are Dead”, etc., etc.

I think the final nail in the coffin are tablet computers. With sales of those taking off, why carry around a tome – whether hard cover or paperback – and a small computer. Commuting to work? If you use a tablet as part of earning your daily bread, why carry a book to read on the train?

So, there’s no sense fighting the rising tide. I feel as if I’m back in the Venice of traditional publishing and the rising tide of ebooks if slowly engulfing the city. What else is there to do than man the lifeboats?

With the feeling that it’s always best to try to laugh at one’s troubles, I’d like to present today’s topic: a (somewhat lighthearted) comparison between paper books and ebooks.

  • Going to the cottage for the summer, you pack a carton full of books to read. With ebooks, you just download what you think you’ll need, fully expecting to download more at the cottage.

  • If you have a tablet that you use at work, it’s way easier to sneak in reading that next chapter when no one is paying attention.

  • If you lose a book, it’s no big deal. Don’t try this with whatever device on which you read ebooks.

  • It’s not that cool to have a signed ebook – if you can even get one.

  • Paper books never crash.

  • The binding on ebooks never cracks and pages never start falling out. (Or do they?)

  • Try carrying around your entire collection of crime fiction if you only own paper books! And think about when you move house!

  • Of course you’ll never impress anyone by taking them to that special room in your house to show them your first edition ebook collection.

  • If you loan a friend an ebook (shudder!), you don’t really care if they never give it back.

  • When there’s a days-long power failure, an ebook won’t cut it. On the other hand, you can never use a paper book as an emergency light source unless you’re willing to light it on fire.

  • When you drop a paper book, you say, “Darn! Now I’ve lost my place.” When you drop an ebook reader (or especially a tablet), “Holy crap! I’ve lost half a week’s salary!!

Okay, Type M fans, have any more items to add to my list? Don’t be shy! Jump right on in.


Rick Blechta said...

Here's another:

If you really hate a book you're reading, it's sometimes very satisfying to chuck it across the room. I'd suggest thinking twice before trying this with an ebook.

Aline Templeton said...

When you're reading in bed and the book falls out of your hand on to your face, it won't break your nose.

Rick Blechta said...

Obviously you've never read any dictionaries in bed.


Susan Russo Anderson said...

OK, call me weird, but there's nothing like the smell of ink on fine paper, the feel of it as you turn the page.

I'm not talking mmp's or magazines. But hardbacks and trades and periodicals. Open to the middle of the book, put your nose close to the spine and inhale. (the best is the Paris Review)

e-readers have a long way to go before they can match the sensual appeal of a book.

But I've thrown in the towel, I have (cringe) a kindle.

Rick Blechta said...

Going back to the (bad) old days, I miss the smell of benzine which was the old solvent for printing ink. Horrible, carcinogenic stuff, but to me it has a lovely nostalgic smell when I open an old book. I just can't get used to the smell of vegetable-based printing ink, however good it is for one.

That being said, there's nothing like the smell of overheating plastic in a much used ebook reader or tablet computer.


Thanks for commenting, Susan!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Thanks for the laughs~ :D

Rick Blechta said...

You're welcome.

Anyone else want to add anything? Let's keep this going!

Anonymous said...

With a paper book you don't have to spend $200 (device and cover and shipping) in order to have a back up when you're going on a long trip and buying another will not be possible where you'll be. Vicki Delany (who can't seem to log onto blogger any more)

Anonymous said...

On the other hand with your e-books you will be carrying about two ounces as your backup as opposed to about ten lbs of paper books on the aforementioned long trip to distant parts. Vicki again.

Rick Blechta said...


Just think of how many people won't be interested in book burnings if they all have ebook readers!