More and more people nowadays are downloading their favored media content onto their computers, tablets, or phones. With videos, movies, and music that makes complete sense. The age of VHS and records has long since passed. But have any of us stopped to think what the Kindle or Nook is doing to the future of literature. I know some have. Have you?
I, personally, love both. Sure, it can be tedious to carry a book around with you everywhere you go. One more thing to toss in that briefcase, book bag, or in my case, a diaper bag. They can take up valuable space, while a simple app on your favorite phone can bring you the same book at a fraction of the price. No worry of paper cuts or smeared ink. No pages to be weary of tearing. Then again, there’s no feel of the actual pages the author slaved over in infinitesimal detail. No smell of the freshly minted page when you first pick up a book. No spine fold holding your spot when you fall asleep reading your favorite at night.
I guess anyone reading this can tell I’m torn between the two. I think that is the reason places and companies like Amazon will let you download the electronic version if you can prove purchase of the hardback book for a fraction of the e-book price and sometimes even for free.
The argument of the e-book vs. paper argument should probably be heard from an author’s point of view. E-books are notoriously more affordable, therefore more are sold, but with the lower price comes lower royalties for their creators. The mystical world you love to engross yourself in was devised by one, sometimes more, people and due to the advance of technology the authors only receive a small percentage of the actual value of the book. Granted they receive more royalties in the sense that more are sold in electronic format. So financially, an author loses while they also win.
Now one more facet of the e-book/paper book argument is quality. While I’m a huge advocate of self-publishing, the ease of creating an e-book has opened the door to any Tom, Dick, or Harry with a slight knowledge of computers to publish anything they may please. There are no editors to verify the spelling, punctuation, or grammatical qualities of these so called manuscripts before they are posted. Some programs have a verification process to ensure nothing too risque is posted and at the same time provides a simple spell check. However, if the author chooses to do so, they can bypass the errors and publish anyway. So as a reader, you have to rely on the capability, knowledge, integrity, and diligence of the author. I don’t know about you, but I know for a fact I’m not perfect and am relatively certain not everyone on the internet is either.
The flip side of that argument is agents and editors at big publishing houses are overrun with submittals daily causing numerous authors of quality to be always rejected or ignored.
Where do you stand? I think until paper is considered outdated and thereby old, ancient, or antique like Pong, Atari, or 8-tracks I will continue to use both with equal fervor. I love quality literature no matter the format.