Susan Vaughan here. I posted this a few years ago, and am wondering if there’s still a debate.
I bought my Kindle several years ago because it was the only way I could read some authors’ books. But I was quickly hooked by the ease of reading on the device and the speed of purchase to download. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint, impulse buying is costing me more. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on print. There are certain favorite authors I absolutely must read in print, and I love browsing a physical bookstore. I read both forms, often different books on the same day. Most of my books are in both print and digital, and my newest series, The DARK Files, is so far only in e-book form.
Considering my habit, I wondered what others thought. Writers are voracious readers, so I posted my question about print versus e to a few writer groups. I had no idea I’d receive so many responses—over two dozen. I should’ve known.Most replied that they read both print and digital. Author Terry Shames (The Last Death of Jack Harbin) says, “For me, it isn’t versus; it’s plus.” She likes print and e-book for publishing and for reading. “I’m published in both ‘e’ and print. I’m happy that my readers have the choice.”
Nina Pierce (In His Eyes) adds that she likes the value of offering a full-sized novel at a reasonable price, but does like to offer her books in print “for readers who enjoy holding a signed copy in their hands.” Marnie Graff (The Green Remains) still wants a print book to hold. “There’s something about…the paper, turning those pages.” But she also reads e-books. “On a recent trip to England, I could carry a dozen books…and actually stow clothes in my suitcase.” Now here’s a summary of other responses.
WHAT READERS LIKE ABOUT E-BOOKS: –Normally cheaper to buy. –I can change the font size to suit me. –It’s easier to carry an arsenal of books, especially for vacations. –Access to reading wherever you go. –Books are easier to read when I’m eating. No having to use one hand to keep the book open! –An e-reader is great on the treadmill. I don’t have to hold a book open and can turn a page with a touch. –My keeper shelves are full, but my e-reader never fills up. –I read faster and buy more. –One-click purchase, immediate gratification. –If my novel has a “disturbing” cover, I don’t have to worry about fellow commuters seeing it.
WHAT READERS LIKE ABOUT PRINT BOOKS: –There’s something about the texture of a book that can never be replaced. –I love physical books especially for non-fiction. –I love holding the printed page in my hands, the smell of ink. –I’d rather browse a “real” bookstore than an online one, although I do both. –Highlighting passages on a Kindle is just not the same as on a print book. –When I read an excellent book on my e-reader, I purchase the print book to keep. –I love having signed copies from some favorite authors. –I get a certain pleasure out of having a “keeper” shelf that houses my absolute favorite fiction reads.
Janis Patterson (Beaded to Death) says, “You can’t compare them. It’s like planes and trains. Both will get you there (i.e., deliver the story) but the experience is different. It all depends on the circumstances.”
I’m glad to see that at least so far, it’s not an either-or issue. Many readers read both, as I do. Some publishers and retailers are going further by bundling print and e-books. They offer an e-book of a given title at a reduced price when a buyer purchases the print book. Author Thonie Hevron (By Force or Fear) sums up future possibilities. “One thing is for sure: publishing is on the move and changes are the new rule. I don’t think there is any final outcome to the industry. It will keep evolving, morphing into whatever the reader finds most suitable at the time.” Evolving is right. Today e-books can be enjoyed on almost any digital device.
I’d love comments here on print versus e-books.