Have you switched to reading mostly ebooks or do you still hanker for the feel of a bound book in your hands? How would you prefer to have your books published?
by Paul D. Marks
I buy and read both e-books and paper books (in both paperback and hardback). And I’d say I read about ¾ paper books to ¼ e-books. Some books, of course, are only available as e-books so you have no choice. But of books that are available in each format, I’d say that ratio is about 3 to 1.
There’s also a certain immediacy with e-books. You can read in the dark or buy an e-book in the middle of the night on a whim. And there’s also certain kinds of books that I’d just as soon read on an e-reader, like manuals and other such things. One major advantage of e-books is less clutter. We’re running out of shelf space and have books overflowing off the shelves and have even more shelves in the garage. Maybe we should start a lending library?
But despite all the cool things about e-books, I still prefer paper books for several reasons. The main one being the tactile sensation. The heft of them, the smell. The overall feel. All the sensory things you don’t get with an e-book. On hardbacks, I also like to read the jacket copy, front, back and inside. I like reading the short summary of the story, the author bio and whatever other goodies are there. I miss that on many paperbacks as well as e-books.
And lately there have been reports saying that when one reads a book in electronic form readers don’t absorb as much information as when reading traditional books. And since most of us here are mystery readers and writers, check this from The Guardian, August 19, 2014: “A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were ‘significantly’ worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation [sic] on the reading experience.” (itals added)
Both types of books can be easily highlighted. But I also like to write notes in the margins. And it’s much more of a pain to type a note on a Kindle or other e-reader. But an advantage of the e-reader is being able to highlight a word and look it up in the dictionary. That is a very cool feature. But not enough to make me want to read more e-books.
My novel, White Heat, has sold a lot more e-books than paper, though I’d prefer if it was the other way around. Not for the money, but for the feeling (whether real or imaginary) of something solid and permanent. Even though e-books may outlast paper books in the long run, there is something more “real” about a paper book. And when you go to conferences, like Left Coast Crime or Bouchercon, or talks at libraries or book groups, it’s nice to have a paper version with you.
And don’t you love going into a house with lots of books everywhere, seeing their covers and spines and what your friends tastes are (so you know who to dump—only kidding). I’d miss that if everyone had only e-books.
Isn’t it just more satisfying to see a three dimensional book, with a spine and back cover, as well as a front cover. Also, particularly when reading the classics, like Chandler, Highsmith, Hammett, Ross MacDonald, they sort of “need” to be read in the traditional form, sitting in a wing chair with a glass of Scotch by your side.
|Raymond Chandler Paper Covers|
|Raymond Chandler Paper Spines|
|White Heat Ebook Cover|
|White Heat Paperback Cover|
|White Heat Paperback Spine|
|White Heat e-book Spine|
And I’d like to congratulate two of our fellow Criminal Minds on their awards at Bouchercon a few days ago, so:
And to Art, for his Macavity win!