The Sloppy Sentamentalism of the Anti-Ebook Crowd

tumblr_mqr0j979nC1s538hbo1_500Owning 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.

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Author:

Also known as The Dancing Writer, she is currently working on The Stars Trilogy, among other works.

17 thoughts on “The Sloppy Sentamentalism of the Anti-Ebook Crowd

  1. I totally agree with you. I love the heck out of my Kindle, and I’m getting a Paperwhite as soon as I finish act 1 of my current draft (I was going to buy one anyway, but since I’m taking forever to move forward with the draft, I figured I might as well bribe myself in the process). I never understand reading eBooks until I got a Kindle but to me, reading a Kindle is just as good an experience.

    Like, I get it if you love the smell of books or the sound of pages turning. I mean, I don’t personally get it but I get that some people do. Personally, I love the ease of holding a Kindle and the fact that I can carry a zillion books at once way more than those things.

    As far as advertising what you’re reading, I never really enjoyed that aspect of books. I’d be trying to have a relaxing meal or break by myself, outside or in a restaurant, and invariably, someone would walk up to me and ask, “What’re you reading?” or “Is that a good book?” and pull me out of it. This never happens with my Kindle. 🙂

    1. What I love most about my Kindle is that I can sit or lay in any position without having to flatten the book to make it more comfortable for me to read. It’s also light and slim and, as you said, can carry an entire library. I just also love that e-books are often cheaper. They really are. And there are no taxes. NO TAXES!

      1. Yesssss to all of these. The awkwardness of large books in bed or while eating always drove me a little nuts. I cannot waiiiit to earn my Paperwhite (I have one of the early Kindle keyboard models, which I got for cheap shortly before they stopped making that model).

  2. As far as novels andshort story anthologies go, ebooks are almost certainly better. Some kinds of reference works haven’t – in my opinion – made a good transition to ebooks. Mostly this is an interface issue. It’s hard to simulate holding your thumb on one page while flipping back and forth with another section. And there are some kinds of scanning that are easier in paper books. But this is mostly for reference or technical books. For novels or short story anthologies, I agree with you 100%.

    1. I definitely agree with that. I wouldn’t want my textbook on an e-reader (although it might be more convenient) just because of the interface. Highlighting on Kindle, IMO, hasn’t been made easy enough yet, and I tend to mark up my textbooks.

  3. I read so much more now that I have a Kobo ereader. Why? Because my town is small and has one tiny, crappy bookstore. I guess I could go peruse the book section at my local grocery stores or Walmart, but the selection leaves much to be desired.

    Kobo has opened up an entirely new world to me. I can browse from the comfort of my own home. I can peruse genre’s that I never even knew existed. I can find a million authors to fall in love with that I never would have heard of before.

    I love the portability of my Kobo and the fact that I can bring 1000 books with me where ever I go.

    I still love paperbacks, but I really don’t think I could live without my Kobo. At the end of the day though, reading is reading whether it be paperback or comic book, ereader or ezine. It’s all glorious.

    1. Can I get an amen?

      There is just no logic behind the argument that print books are superior to ebooks when individual experiences differ. Some people don’t like reading on a screen, and that’s fine, but don’t make your experience measure out to be the experience of everyone.

      I would feel insulted if someone told me I would love my favorite book (The Fault in Our Stars) more if I had read it in print. Um…no. I cried so hard with this book I had to go to the bathroom to let out my feels. And I read it on my tablet…my distracting, super distracting tablet.

  4. I had resisted ereaders for a very long time, because as you may know, I am addicted to physical books, everything about them. That doesn’t mean however that I do not recognise the importance, ease and practicality of ereaders. I personally read ebooks on my tablet, at present. I have actually found it a very rewarding experience reading in this way, and certainly more convenient than carrying a pile of books around.

    I think that ebooks are great and they have opened up independent publishing to so many people. I like to get ebooks now for the ease,speed and price, and also I cannot always get all of the indie books I want in physical copies.

    They will never replace physical books for me, but ebooks definitely have a place in my reading world. I have a thing for physical books, that is not going to change, but ebooks have an important place too. Just my opinion.

    1. And that’s fine. I just don’t like it when people think physical books are superior. Individual experience varies. My reading experiences has been improved greatly by e-readers, so, for me, I get a lot more out of an e-book than I do a physical book.

      And, like I said, I’m no sentimentalist, so I don’t yearn for a physical copy of the book I’m reading on my e-reader, even if it is super fantastic.

  5. There’s no disdain for e-books here, but I prefer paperback books for right now. The e-readers haven’t felt comfortable in my hands, but I assume they’ll make more comfortable ones in the future. Somewhere down the road I’ll switch.

    As a word of caution, some states require the purchaser to declare online purchases for state use tax. For example, in my state (Ohio) we are asked to claim online purchases on our yearly tax returns. My best guess is that you live in the great state of Georgia. Per their Department of Revenue:

    “Internet, Mail Order and Out of State Purchases: Georgia Use Tax is due on all purchases made through the internet, via mail order, or from an out-of-state company when Georgia Sales Tax is not collected by the selling company. The use tax rate is the same as the sales tax rate imposed in the Georgia county of delivery.”

    https://etax.dor.ga.gov/compliance/usetax/ut_overview.aspx

    In technical terms, you’re not out of the taxation forest. It is based somewhat on the honor system, and in that regard, it’s more a matter of honesty.

    1. Kobos seem to be just as popular as Kindles now. B&N is giving up on its Nook in favor of producing an ereader that is simply for reading because the Nook can’t compete against Tablets.

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  7. I agree, Amber. When I bought my basic Kindle e-reader I paid about $75. It was the best investment I ever made. It paid for itself just through the free e-books & stories I downloaded from Kindle, let alone the awesome prices of many e-books. I am a bit o’ nostalgic however, plus I’m an impulse buyer when it comes to books. *blush* So the book stores still make a little money off of me, as I enjoy the feel of a good book in my hand with a pretty cover. LOL. And I love the idea of signing a book for my reader, or the idea of saving trees, even though many publishing companies are going with recycled paper. There are some books I will still continue to buy in paperback, those being books I might refer to later such as “how to” & cook books, or maybe writing books or I enjoy books on Wicca, etc. There are no book stores really close to me now that Borders is out of business. the closest is Barnes & Noble – about 7 miles, and a Half Price Books about 10 minutes away but they don’t have a cafe. Borders really soured me when they closed. There was no reason for them to do that & when I heard from their employees, management included, that many people found via email that their jobs would be gone in a couple weeks, I was furious and couldn’t believe I supported them to begin with. But the one near me had great employees. I was sorry to see them go.

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