Friday, July 22, 2011

eBook or Print? WCI Contributors Weigh In.

by Women in Crime Ink

Many contributors here at Women in Crime Ink are multi-published authors, so we were sad to see the remaining Borders stores close this week. This brought us to the discussion of whether or not the eBook would truly be the demise of the print book, or publishing industry as we know it. Could it really be the end of the modern reading era or is it simply the beginning of a new one? Our contributors offered their thoughts on their own preference of reading eBooks or sticking with traditional print.

Robin Sax: I am sad to see the "real" book market go as I will always love the feel, touch, and collectability of books. However, as an author I see huge opportunities with eBooks allowing readers more accessibility, quicker, easier with more profit to those who work tireless to write stuff for us to read and enjoy.

Holly Hughes: I mourn the loss of the written page. It is the end of an era. It reminds me of how we lost the art of letter writing. A handwritten letter from a loved one has so much more sentimental value than an email. While I understand the convenience of eBooks, the typed word on a computer screen doesn't evoke the same sense of adventure as turning a page, or carrying a dog-eared book in your purse for those times when you have just a few moments to spare. I think we run the risk of losing a generation of readers who can't afford electronic gadgets but happily visit the book exchange for those fifty cent trade ins.

Dr. Gina Simmons: I love my Kindle.  I no longer have to drag a heavy bag of books with me while traveling. Instead, my kindle serves as a bookstore and library at my fingertips. Sometimes it frustrates when I can't find the book I want, or I forget to recharge the battery. On those occasions I reach for a book. I love exploring bookstores like Morton's in Victoria, B.C., or Bookstar in San Diego. I'll miss the excitement and feel of discovery that comes from picking up an amazing book, like White Oleander by Janet Fitch, in an old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar bookstore.

Anne Bremner: I spent my youth going through sections in the library by author and reading everything they wrote including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Mann, Eric Hoffer, and Ernest Hemmingway. I also loved the one book wonder authors like Harper Lee or Margaret Mitchell. My parents had an ample library which I went through as well. I love the smell of books, to get lost in a book, to dog ear a book, and even to write in a book. I still read all the time. Reading. Books. I will never give them up. 

Susan Filan: I love books, the look of them, the feel of them, the feel of the paper as I turn the page, and the evidence of a good friend digested as it sits on my desk or shelf, testimony of something good I learned or felt while reading. eBooks, while as thin as a clipboard and as portable, just don't do it for me yet. But I have a Nook and an IPad and am in training for the day when I can no longer indulge my love affair with books and still need to read anyway. 

Dr. Michelle Golland: I love the touch and smell of books. I will miss those experiences because frankly using my sons Nook has been very convenient. I also think it promotes even more reading for my son being able to instantly buy a book and dive into the experience. 

Pat Brown: When Kindle first came out, I thought it was a great idea, but probably not for me as a reader. I like the feel and look of books. Also, the original Kindle screen was dark and I didn’t like the background not looking white like a page. Then, they fixed the contrast and I thought, well, maybe I will get one for traveling because it might be nice not to have to tote books around with me. Also, you can never run out of something to read with a Kindle because you can have so many downloaded to it and buy more on the road. I also liked the long battery life so I could read as much as I want in places where I have no access to electricity or batteries. So, I gave in and bought one. Now, I love it.

Why? I don’t need glasses when I read it. I can carry it in my purse and always have a book available for unexpected waits. It is cheaper than print books, so taking a chance on a lesser known author or a questionable book is not such a gamble. The only thing I don’t like it for is nonfiction because I like to abuse the heck out of these books with my pen circling stuff, underlining it, and scribbling notes everywhere. I know there are ways to highlight things in Kindle but it doesn’t work for me. Also, I like to be able to flip back and forth or search easily for something I want to reread and the Kindle sucks for this. So, I buy fiction but not nonfiction in Kindle; in other words, only things I will read straight through and be done.

Having said that, I still by hardbacks and paperbacks of certain books I see and want or feel like having in my hand. I also buy copies of my favorites on Kindle for my library. As an author, I love Kindle in that I can print my own work as an eBook in between my books with publishers and get something I would like the public to read out there instead of waiting to go through the traditional channels. My first eBook on Amazon, The Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has done well and I am able to get it to people for a low price.

I hope the eBook world and the print world can continue together. 

Donna Pendergast: I remember walking into the original Borders while in college and thinking "What a wonderful place." For a girl who grew up with her nose in a book this was heaven. Endless aisles of adventure just waiting for a taker. So many books and so much promise, I could have looked for days. The loss of Borders and all it signifies breaks my heart. I understand the convenience of eBooks but nothing can match the look, the smell and the magic of a real book.

Cathy Scott: I grew up in a family with five children who read books and didn't watch much TV. Lining the long hallway of our home were bookshelves, regularly replenished by our mother with publishing clubs' latest books, as well as Reader's Digest condensed versions. We seemed to be the only kids on the block who had two full sets of encyclopedias, so neighborhood kids would often use them to research school term papers. I still love holding a book in my hand, but, at the same time, I'm excited about eBooks and the endless possibilities of having our works read in a variety of ways. I wish, when I lived at the beach in the 1980s and early '90s, that I'd had a Kindle or Nook when I'd spend hours on the sand, reading the latest novel, true crime book, or the Sunday paper (it's not fun chasing after runaway newspaper sections on the beach). I don't think new publishing is the demise of books; it's a new way of reading, and I embrace it. 

Stacy Dittrich: Technology is moving forward faster than I can embrace it. Because I grew up with books glued to my hand since age three, I am digging my heels in before purchasing an eBook reader. I love the fact that I can reach for a book from my shelf and still a few grains of sand remain in its pages from when I read it on the beach. I love the fact that some of my books are held together by scotch tape from years of repeated reading. And, I love the fact that if someone walks into my office, and they view the books that line my shelves, they are seeing all they need to describe who I am. Yes, I will purchase an e-reader in the future. But, as an author and avid reader, I’m going to ride out the print era as long as possible.

We'd like to ask our faithful readers... what do you prefer?


Anonymous said...

I always said I'd never get an e-book reader because I love the feel of a book in my hands, I love the smell of the pages and the act of turning the page. I just felt old fashioned that way. Well -- that was UNTIL my hubby brought home an iPad, and as I figured out what to do with it, I discovered I could use it to Kindle. Consider me CONVERTED. :) I have read MORE since I began Kindle-ing than I ever did before. I am not sure why that is, perhaps it is the ease of it all, having an entire bookstore/library at my fingertips whenever I want. I still love a good book -- but nowadays I'm most likely reading it thru Kindle. :)

dadgum said...

Books. Always.

None of my 7 adult kids owns a Kindle reader, and all are avid readers. We spend a lot of time in used book stores, but will miss both local Borders, as well as other book shops that have closed. We love the relaxation, and the feel of a well-bound book in our hands (just be careful with the antiques!).

Anonymous said...

I share the overall view expressed by the Women in Crime dignitaries that it's sad to see the book go. Like ms. Bremmer I too have fond memories of cruising the libraries as a teenager and if I was rich I'd love to have a large room in my house dedicated to a personal library.
However the sheer information density of e-books - you can basically have the collected works of an entire physical library in a portable electronics device - makes the transition unavoidable.
Another plus is, that the bar for publication will be lowered. An e-book is inexpensive to publish and print, meaning that the main focus will be on the author rather than the publisher. Basically, if you can write a book you can get it published. Maybe that will cause more potential authors who has something to say but wasn't able to negotiate the "publishing-hurdle" to get published. So I'm optimistic...

NCfarmer said...

My children grew up with a home library, allowed to read whatever they liked..when we moved across the country, we moved over a ton of books, lol. E-books would have been easier and cost effective, but what a loss it would have been!

Nothing compares to reading through an early 19th century Pilgrim's Progress, or the beauty of a set of hand-tooled leather Elbert Hubbard.

E-books certainly have a place(especially travel), as do CDs and iPods, but I prefer vinyl sound any day (the Victrola when power is out..) For those who work with computers all day, a book is essential. Besides, you can't put your bookplate, or a note to a loved one to cherish in an e-book!

No, I am not an older individual, just well read..

Crime Kittehs said...

I will miss places like Borders as a good place to meet because you could get coffee and then read magazines and hang out.

I have bought the majority of my print books online for years now though and have never switched to ebooks yet. I don't think print books will die out any time soon.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd ever give up the feel and smell of a new book for the kindle. However as I've aged and my thumbs have become spots for discomfort from arthritis holding a hard bound book has become uncomfortable. The size and weight of a kindle is easier for me the handle daily. I still have all my books all over the house but now only to look at. I do love the ease of the kindle and the number of books you can keep on hand and at the ready for spare moments to read and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I have been out of work for three years. The only time I get new books is when the thrift store has some for 8 for $1. I wouldn't mind a kindle but someone else would have to buy it for me.

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