In 1999, Simon and Schuster was the first company to ever publish books in both hard copy and electronic books. Ever since, the debate of books vs electronic copies has been somewhat heated. Every time that I see the subject brought up by a literary website or Facebook page, I cringe a little. However, I can definitely see the upside to posting such a debate if the site wants to engage its readers in conversation but I just wish that people didn’t get so aggressive about it. Is there anything that the internet won’t fight about? (No. The answer is no. The internet and its many patrons will literally fight about anything.)
I’ve seen arguments made on both sides. Everything from “I don’t want to have to deal with my books battery dying” to “printing real books is killing the rain forests! All of that paper so that we can read it once and it sits on a shelf for eternity!” There are pros and cons for both formats but in the end we all read the same story, right? Let’s just be friends guys. Who cares how we consumed the words strung together to make up the books we love? Let’s just talk about them together!
I personally was quick to jump on the ereader train. The fact that I can carry my library with me at all times makes me feel like I’ve always got a friend close by. (Even if that friend is a homicidal maniac trying to outsmart the police – as it so often is right now. Reading a lot of thrillers these days.) I love that my new kobo is waterproof and I can take it in the bathtub with me without fearing with everything I have that it will take a swim and I will have to start my collection all over again with a reader that is foreign to me. I had a kindle for years and that opened me up to the world of Kindle Unlimited, where I found authors just starting out – I even made a few friends with it. Now, my ereader gives the me ability to carry around the advanced reader copies that I get from Netgalley so I can enjoy them on my lunch at work.
That being said, I also enjoy the feel and smell of a physical book. If I read a book on my kobo that I absolutely loved, 9 times out of 10 I will go out and purchase the hard copy so that I can easily share the story with my word nerd friends. Physical copies are much easier to share – especially since those people who are on team “real book” have a tendency to turn their noses up at electronic copies. Not everyone is like that mind you – just a year or so ago my sister got a kindle paperwhite for Christmas and as far as I know she loves the thing – after having been anti-ereader for years. My mother too got herself a kobo and then upgraded to reading on an iPad mini. It doesn’t have to be one or the other – it can be both!
These may be the rantings of a half asleep word nerd at seven in the morning – but I wish that we could put the debate to rest and move on to the next book. E-books are not going to drive the book stores out of business. Most of the big chain book stores sell their own version – indigos kobo, amazons kindle and barns and nobles nook. Who cares how you support your favourite authors? All that matters at the end of the day is that you read the book, you put a review somewhere, and you told your friends about it. Although reading is a solitary activity (for the most part – reading parties are very much a thing and exceedingly awesome) sharing a book you love with someone you like is one of the best feelings in the world.
In closing, read on word nerds! In any format you choose! There is no winner or loser in this debate!