To ebook or not to ebook.

5 Sep

Something that has made me happy lately has been the price of paperbacks. I know this is a selfish, and perhaps pathetic joy to have, but as a lover of books and reading and as an English Student this is happy, happy news to me! Not to say I don’t buy the majority of my books second-hand anyway (thank you Amazon Marketplace!), but its nice to be able to pick up something that isn’t for a reading list but is an interesting read or the latest must have book (looking at you, 50 shades) for under £4.

I am not naive enough to realise that this doesn’t signal the beginning of the end for my beloved books in print. I don’t own a kindle, although the word yet does attach itself to the end of that claim quite easily. I do admire how accessible they make literature, how anything you want to read is just one click away. Stories are, after all, intended to be told and read and this easy to access element within ebooks and ebook readers does promote reading. It’s like when Penguin and Wordsworth publishing houses brought out their £1.50-£2 paperbacks of classics which were cheap because they weren’t a great quality copy. They contained the words I wanted to read, I couldn’t care less about their presentation. (Actually, that’s not strictly true… look how amazing these look!)

Look how pretty they are…so pretty I had to make a ‘Penguin’ moodboard…

With the loss of a large profit margin and price for the consumer, I ate up these books (not literally, don’t worry) and read a lot more widely and freely that I would have had I had to send five times the price on an individual book. Ebooks have this same quality, particularly when thinking about old ‘books’ that are within the public domain, and hence free, as the rights to their intellectual property have expired.

Another consideration in the decision to ebook or not is the impact on the industry. For someone considering a career in publishing, this downfall of printed material will change that industry, not hugely in terms of publicity but as with most elements of media and sales now, it’ll all move to the ever accessible internet and marketing through that medium.

I do love to hold a copy of a title in my hands, that new (or old) book smell and for practical study reasons, you can’t beat a hard copy of a text. But as the new age welcomes in ebooks and texts in a digital format, I suppose we better move with them. MP3s have become my favourite way to listen to music. No hassle with a CD player and storage, all in one place and I can take it all with me. You could easily say the same about books, but perhaps my little love affair with them will, in a few years time, make me into the contemporary equivalent of that person who still listens to vinyl on their record player. After all, if all books were to become virtual texts rather than tangible objects, we’d have rather empty bookshelves and bookcases, or even book-stairs.

If I miss out on owning one of these due to the rise of ebooks and fall of paperbacks I will not be very pleased.


One Response to “To ebook or not to ebook.”

  1. The Book Wheel September 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    As long as you’re reading!

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