This discussion comes up more often now that I have books for sale in both formats. For me, it’s not an either/or dilemma. I love my paper books. I love the way they smell, the heft of them, the feel of paper. I love beautiful cover art and the way books look on a bookshelf, ready to pluck off like ripe fruit and enjoy.
I also love my e-reader, but for different reasons. I love that my e-reader is light-weight for when I’m travelling. I love that if I wake in the night, I can open my e-reader and neither its light nor the rustling of paper will wake the Cave Master. I love that if I fall asleep reading, it won’t break my nose. I love that I can touch a word and instantly get a definition. It’s lazy, I know, but you can’t deny the convenience, and with an e-reader, you never need to worry that someone is judging you by your reading choices.
There are pros and cons to both formats. You can underline passages in your paper book, but if you’re anything like me, you’d never put a mark in your beloved book, let alone dog-ear a page. E-readers make it easy to bookmark and find passages.
The author in me also likes that readers who don’t know my work might take a chance on me and buy the less-expensive ebook format. That’s not a bad thing—I do it myself all the time. And, if you aren’t familiar with the publishing business, you might be surprised to learn that I earn more on a $5.99 ebook sale than I do on a $24.99 trade paperback.
But regardless of its conveniences, E-ink will never replace paper books, at least in my world. In fact, I just purchased a brand new hardcover of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, a book I’ve already read twice in paperback. I don’t even have the bookshelf space for it, but when I love a book, I want to hold it, smell it, caress its cover and feel the paper beneath my fingers.