Paper Books vs E-Books

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Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby Daggertooth on Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:05 pm

Last year Amazon.com reported that they sold more ebooks than paper books. So I am curious, How many people here are still into Paper books and how many use E-books? Why do you prefer the type you use and would you consider switching?

I like the paper books, mostly cause its traditional and I like the feel of a solid paper book and I like the look of a well maintained and organized book shelf. I also like the mobility....I go camping frequently and would not like my reading limited because an e-reader wasn't fully charged. However I don't know the power or the battery life of the latest technology and I have to admit to thinking about getting an e-reader. I've mentioned before how mobile I am and how everything I own has to fit into my car. As of right now that includes a box of books. I do have a large assortment of utility books, hiking guides to several states, road maps to several states, and about 8 books on edible and medicinal plants....but I also have a handful of casual books like the Mercy Thompson series and a few others that I gathered over time. I rarely re-read these casual books and so its getting harder and harder to justify the space they take up. So maybe its about time to convert....


I'm also rather suspicious of the price of e-books. Since there is a lower maintenence and publishing cost, I would expect them to be cheaper than the paper copies. At least half off, maybe more....instead I've noticed e-books costing the exact same as their paper counter parts. Today I even noticed that the Mercy Thompson Box set books 1-5 kindle edition cost more than just buying the paper books. Is this a common occurance? Is this a greed or scam sort of thing? Or is there something complicating the process that keeps the price up? I mean I thought part of the convinience of an e-reader was cheaper books...considering the e-reader itself costs about $200.
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Re: Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby ShadowsMyst on Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:39 am

I'm still very much a paper fan. I like the feel of paper, I like the utility of paper, I find it easier to read, love the texture, feeling of something REAL, in my hands. While i have gotten E-books, they are almost something utility oriented, mostly for search function, but even for those, I tend to find paper is just more functional.

But then I'm a print designer. I LOVE paper. Seriously, I fawn over paper swatches and samples. I'm very biased because of how I feel about paper... that being said though...

Ebooks are usually cheaper and often more convenient for people who are into tablets and e-readers. For things like textbooks and such, its often much cheaper even to pay 20$ for a normally 80$ textbook. It also has a MUCH lower barrier to entry than traditionally printed books, because anyone can slap together and put an ebook up for sale, so the volume of material shoots way up. You've just got more variety because its so damn easy and there are no 'gatekeepers' anymore.

The price issue is a bit of a complex one. There's kind of an issue between the old way of publishing and the new way now. Print houses and publishers want to charge the same amount for an ebook as a print one, whereas like amazon doesn't, they want to do the lower fixed price model. There's actually been a lot of articles published on both sides lately, and a light amount of googling will enlighten you to the finder details of the pricing issues.

I for one though, still plan to print dead tree comics. >:) There will be graphic novels, I swear.
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Re: Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby Gorble on Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:50 am

I enjoy an actual material good that I can hold in my hands. While I do buy pdfs/ebooks for my computer this is usually on rpg materials that are of questionable utility for me or would require having a store special order it in. They're cheaper so it seems less of a risk, but at the same time if I like a book I'd like to hold it in my hands and flip its pages. There's something that's so nice and comforting about being actually able to hold and feel the weight of something you own.

Still on the other other hand, I have considered getting a nook/tablet of a sort which would allow me more of that of having something I can hold without the gear required for a laptop or my computer and avoid the crippling weight of a big ol' bag of books in an rpg game.

Now as for reading materials of the non rpg variety I still tend to buy paperbacks. I've got a shelf stuffed full of books that I still need to read through at home. This does also include graphic novels, just love being able to look at pretty pictures without having to worry about electricity/internet or parking myself in front of my computer. Also books can survive the day to day bump and grind of rough use easier than a electronic device.
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Re: Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby Lupis on Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:21 pm

Printed, paper books certainly excel in one aspect: it's harder to let friends borrow books in electric format than it is to hand them a physical book and just ask them to give it back when they're done. I love printed books, but on the other hand...

I guess I'm going to be the oddball, here. I've got a tablet, and I find it wonderful for reading e-books. Like Gorble said, I have my RPG books on there, all in one place, ready to go, so I'm not breaking my back hauling all the references around that I need in a backpack. And when it comes to RPG's, I can have my character sheet on there as well, even a dice roller, all in one package. When you want a new book, too, instead of going to the bookstore and searching through aisle after aisle, you can just hop online to the store, look up what you want, buy it, and it downloads in a matter of seconds. Also, the books are often a buck or two cheaper online than they are in print. Given that I tend to be an eclectic reader, and I might not know what I want to read throughout the day, having my entire library at my fingertips is wonderful.

As for the battery life issue...I can run my tablet all day and not run out of juice. The heavyweight in that department, however, is the old-school Kindle. I still have mine, despite getting a newer tablet, because the battery life on the Kindle is absolutely amazing. It will last two weeks of daily use on a single charge. Add on the fact that it has free 3G access and an internet browser, seriously...all you need to do is write "DON'T PANIC" on the cover.
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Re: Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby Daggertooth on Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:57 pm

...am I suppose to call these things tablets or e-readers...or do they have another generic name?

I like the idea of an e-reader for RPG stuff. I just started Pathfinder, and though I don't know if I'll keep it up, I did purchase the core rule book. Figured buying the paper book would show my support for the local game store even though it cost $50.....the digital cost $10 and as far as reference and searching, well I'm guessing the e-reader's search feature would be much easier than scanning through an RPG book, realizing that its in one of the expansions, then go with that.

I guess I'm a little old fashioned. A person asked if I knew if a plant was edible and I grabbed a book that happened to be sitting next to me to look it up. Most people would probably go to Google and get the same result faster. I wont deny that it would be lighter to have all my plant ID books in tablet form....especially my comprehensive dichotomous key of all North Western United States plants. I love that book, but man is it heavy.

The kindle sounds amazing....I love the idea of a battery that lasts two weeks. Whats the lifetime of that battery? Seems like every battery will slowly hold less and less charge and eventually die. I suppose I could purchase some sort of solar panel attachment that'll keep it going, probably weigh less than all the books too.

One thing I'm a little wary of is the ownership issue. I have no idea if that has developed at all, but last I checked there was a big deal about not actually "selling" the e-books. Publishers were scared to death of someone downloading the book then "sharing" it by just sending it to all his friends. Maybe put it on one of those file sharing sites that are popular. Though this is similar to libraries and a friend lending a book to a friend, it has much wider implications and could really hurt sales. I don't know how/if that was resolved, but I do remember talk of a lease program with regard to e-books and that you don't actually own what you paid for.

shadowsmyst wrote:I for one though, still plan to print dead tree comics. >:) There will be graphic novels, I swear.

I think there will always be a place for this. Its just nicer to have something to show for your purchase, something to have on your book shelf, and something that you can be happy owning.

There are some who'd say that paper books is killing trees and not environmentally friendly, but they would be wrong. I'm actually curious about how much carbon is stored in all the libraries in the US. I would bet its more than all those countries complaining we pollute too much. In fact, I think if the government was serious about carbon credits and carbon storage, they'd be better off supporting the local library than paying land owners not to cut down trees. I better stop here...I could go on a real boring rant about all that. Over all, I think the e-reader = green is a bit silly, but I've heard a few people make that claim.
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Re: Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby Suicidal Lady on Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:34 pm

While I understand the uses of E-readers, I will never be a fan. I know it is a way to get textbooks cheaper, have more books in a smaller space, and can help people who have terrible eyesight and arthritis read again, but they are not for me.

I want the actual physical book. I like holding it, feeling it, SMELLING it, seeing the wear and tear on it. Many of my books have small marks on them and I can remember exactly when and how they got there. I also mark many of my textbooks and at least date my other books so I know when I bought them, and for what. I am a very visual person, so if I need to recall information, I can tell you what physical location in the book it is at. I never remember page numbers, but I always know where I am at from the thickness and how the paragraphs actually look on the page. I do not got the same thing from e-readers. I have a very hard time remembering things from pdf or e-book files. I have a few online books, but I have had to print out each and every page so that I can actually take in the info.

Plus, I want to have a huge library. I worked in a library for about 4 years, so I have somewhat of a book fetish. Especially for old books. If it is leather bound, gold leafed, and smells musty, I want to curl up with a blanket, some chai tea, and never put it down. I feel more relaxed and happy when I have bookshelves filled with books. A tablet does not do it for me. I feel completely different about owning an e-book, and don't really have an emotional attachment to them. I can tell you I honestly feel affection for my physical books.

Also, not to sound all 1984, but I want something physical so things don't get changed without me noticing. I cannot for the life of me find the article after 20 minutes of searching, but one of the ebook companies released a book, and the publishers got all up in arms about it. Even though many of the ebooks were sold, the publishers won their lawsuit, so the next time people updated their e-readers, a new update checked for the ebook, and REMOVED it from the ereader. Yes the people were reimbursed for the lost book, but holy f***ing hell, that freaks me out. I don't like the idea that just by updated my ereader, I could suddenly have the info changed. It's not that I believe it is going to actively be done, but it is freaky. It reminds me of when the Guantanamo Bay papers were released. If you downloaded them RIGHT when they were released, you got a very different version from when you downloaded them a half hour later, then a half our after that, then a half hour after that. My european history teacher gave us all printouts of the original release, then showed us how things were removed, altered, and blacked out during the day. And the altered ones are what are considered official, so the original releases no longer are considered the "valid" ones. That just concerned me and made me so aware of how easily digital information can be altered, and you have to take the current version for the factual, correct one.

Paranoia aside, I do think it is good to get information out there more easily, and ereaders do a pretty good job of that. I will just never use them, and I wish more people still liked phyiscal copies of books.
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Re: Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby ShadowsMyst on Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:33 pm

I think tabletop roleplaying is a special case in some ways. It can be incredibly handy to have a tablet or laptop so you can search the Pathfinder SRD, but there's also something very nice about being able to hand the book to the players ( I forbid electronics at the table, so people don't get distracted), and having my books all tabbed with stickynotes for the stuff I want to reference fast. its sometimes WAY more convenient to flip to a sticky note than try to search the SRD or remember the page to jump to on a PDF.

I agree as well with SuicidalLady, the prospect of having the digital information altered is high. Very 1984, with information being written and re-written without your awareness, or deleted entirely. I remember the article she was talking about. I believe it was on the Kindle that it happened. A book is static. That information is stated down, unless someone physically steals the book, its yours.

And I also have a deep appreciation for the beauty and craftsmanship of printing. Its not often you get to see truly gorgeous printing, but some of those old books were works of art.
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Re: Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby Daggertooth on Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:52 am

I can understand the lack of affection for digital books. Paper books hold some sort of power over me. Almost as if they had some sort of inherent sacredness to them. For instance, I've been working on downsizing what I own. One item I threw away was a book. Felt guilty doing it too, as if it was undignified and that I should have found a more humane way of dealing with the book. This was just a white elephant gift, a book filled with pictures of dogs in costumes....nothing I really cared about, yet I felt guilty discarding it. I can't imagine getting rid of the books I actually care about.


The 1984 bit is unnerving. I already mentioned I distrusted the whole digital stuff because I wasn't sure if I actually owned the book or if the publishing company considered it "indefinitely lending" the book to me. I had wondered if they could just take the book back....I had no idea they could just as easily edit content and mess with information. Makes sense, just hadn't considered it.


I suppose my big worry is that paper books are becoming obsolete. That there are only a few of us who care about paper books and that as time goes on and the world continues to digitalize, the demand for paper books simply wont be justification enough to make them. I suppose the fact that big name bookstores are struggling and going bankrupt is a sign of the times. I mean if bookstores can't survive...

Another sign of the times....A gal on my facebook asked if anybody had any opinion about the kindle. She had about a dozen people chime in about how they loved their kindle. To my surprise, at least three of them said they never bothered reading until they got a kindle. I don't understand it...but I suppose thats the direction things are going.
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Re: Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby Talexis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:40 pm

Personally, I like the idea of the ebook, especially for educational purposes on the basis of saving money. $60 to utilize a textbook that rents at 100 and owns at 250 that is not major-essential is definitely the way to go in my books, although if I had the choice not based on financial reasons, I would always take the book. It's just simply different, opening up a large textbook and poring through it compared to swiping around a 9 inch screen on a device that is 10mm thick as opposed to a 10 inch by 13 inch book that, when opened, doubles its width and its thickness varies from 5mm(just cover) to 2-3 inches.
The only thing that'd sway my mind here is if the book version was interactive, in the sense that if you're doing a problem, you can find similar problems/run through the generic problem step by step, or if it is based in the sciences, delve further into certain areas or click on a picture to have it play a small editorial type video on the topic. That might be worth it, although it'd be more akin to purchasing a dvd, but maybe then the cost of the ebook would be more justified should the makers want to raise the price sometime.
..
As for pleasure type books, I'm split down the middle on the topic. What I'd really like for book-makers to do is include a small coupon for their site to receive an ebook version for an e-reader, so you could have both copies. I love books, but when you read, the purpose of reading is to enjoy the characters, the world, and the storytelling. I initially read my way through the Mercy Thompson series on my laptop, which was a first for me, and I've got to say, it wasn't a bad experience; rather the opposite.
I realized that when I get lost in a story, I always have a subconscious nag that reminds me how far I've gone through the book, just because the amount of book in my right hand is now lighter than the amount of book in my left. Reading through the ebook version, there was little to no nag on "Oh man, I've passed the halfway point," or "Crap, there aren't many pages left, but the story is so good!," and I was totally immersed in the world of the story. Of course I was sad by the end of the book just because I'd read through the book and was left wanting more from the author, but it was amazing to go through the book not knowing whether the book was half done or almost done based on the amount of pages read. Granted, it does take a little bit of time to ignore the page number on the e-reader, but I think you get my point.

The cost issue does annoy me a bit, though I don't really have any idea on how to come up with a suitable decision, so for now I'll continue to buy books because they're the ole standby that'll never let you down. It'll irk me if in the future books become commodity items to just have on a shelf while you read your e-versions, akin to, say, the collector's edition of Star Wars or something, but that's only because if they do, then the price will probably go up because of limited distribution or some other wacky reason.
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Re: Paper Books vs E-Books

Postby Jae87 on Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:28 am

I prefer paper books to e-books; I can't stare at a screen for that long. However, I much prefer audiobooks to anything else. When reading I get a bit of ADD, and so the person reading it keeps my interest. Also, I can "read" while driving, so it's a time-saver.
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