Owning paperback books has become a novelty thing for me. The last book I read, Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia, was a paperback, but one I received free from Running Press in exchange for a review. Before that, it was Paper Towns by John Green. Currently I am struggling through the paperback version of Entwined by Heather Dixon. The only reason I bought the latter two as paperbacks is because I was waiting for my Kindle Paperwhite. Reading became way too distracting on my tablet because of the millions of other things that I could do, like the internet and little game apps, so I decided to buy a Kindle to kill those distractions. Otherwise, I primarily read ebook because of the price and how fast I can receive the book. As someone who reads books like candy, ebook makes sense because as soon as I’m done with one book, I can get another without a trip to the bookstore–and without paying taxes.
I still do love going to the bookstore, but it’s more for the novelty experience than anything else. And the only time I do go to the bookstore is when I’m on break at work. I don’t go there anymore outside of work.
There are only two bookstores in my area. One is B&N and the other is The Book Tavern. While I like both and am glad both are here, The Book Tavern is very expensive. Neil Gaiman’s newest book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, is 26 bucks! It’s so short I can read it an hour! So ebook version for me. There are also a lot of other new books there that are expensive, so I didn’t buy any books there when I made a trip on a whim because getting them on Amazon is so much cheaper (which isn’t exactly a good thing, but might as well take advantage of the price cuts while they last, right?).
I am not a sentimentalist. Physical copies of books are cool because people get to know what you’re reading and it’s indirect advertising for a book, but words are words are words, no matter how they are bound. I receive the same experience from a paperback as I do an ebook, despite what studies say about retaining information more in physical copies than in ebook copies.
It’s fine to prefer the paperback over an ebook, but it’s sloppy sentimentalism to swoon over paperbacks.
Ebooks have given new authors a chance. When a small press launches, they primarily sell online and so are contingent on ebook sales to make them money. A lot of small presses do have paperback counterparts, but when I look up the books of new authors who are primarily online, it is their ebook sales that are crushing their paperback sales simply because of price difference. I also think ebook sales crush paperback sales because people don’t have to wait for the paperback to come into the mail. They receive the book in a matter of seconds.
The picture above is very insulting to authors who have made their debut through ebooks. Not all of these authors are going to have paperback counterparts, so people who scoff at ebooks could potentially be missing really good books because they hang on to paperbacks for no other reason than plain nostalgia. Of course, not everyone has an e-reader, and that’s understandable, but it’s ridiculous to shun ebooks and come up with such trite statements as the one above.
So I care about the words of a story. I do not care how they are bound.