Are you an ebook convert, or do you prefer to stick to printed books?
I’ve never owned, contemplated owning nor as much as physically handled an e-reader.
Being an English Literature graduate and having been in publishing all my working life, I guess I’m not naturally drawn to reading a good book on a screen.
So when I read that sales of consumer ebooks fell 17% last year, to the lowest level since 2011, while printed book sales reached a five-year high, I did an imaginary high kick. Despite what the doom-mongers say, print is not dead after all!
The analysts are putting the decline down to ‘screen fatigue’ – with people looking at so many throughout the day, be it laptop, smart phone, tablet or smart TV, a good old-fashioned print book provides a welcome reprieve.
But for me it runs deeper.
Nothing beats that feeling you get poring through the pages of a good book, putting it down and picking the story up from where you left it. For me, the same applies to magazines.
If it’s really good, I want to share it with my friends and family. Hopefully, I’ll get it back eventually, so I can put it on the shelf along with my other well-thumbed, dog-eared favourite reads.
Some books I even get quite sentimental about – especially the ones I’ve scrawled in while studying.
I just can’t see how you can get any of that joy from an e-reader.
It doesn’t seem that there’s even a cost benefit either. The e-reader device itself comes in at around £100 or more, plus the ebooks you download on it.
Not to mention that there’s the risk that it can break – being an occasional bath-time reader, mine would definitely get water damaged.
Of course, I do see the merit in e-readers, too. When a friend went back to uni to study zoology, she raved about how hers saved her from lugging heavy textbooks about.
And if you’re a fast reader heading on holiday for a couple of weeks then you may not have enough luggage space to store a few good reads, whereas an e-reader is pretty compact.
Plus, provided your wi-fi isn’t on the blink, you can buy an ebook and start reading it there and then. You don’t have to wait for it to be delivered or visit the bookshop. Although, in my opinion, you’d be missing out on that wonderful experience, too.
So, are you in the real book corner or a fan of ebooks? Are you surprised that sales of ebooks are declining?