Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Print vs. e-books - Kathryn Knight

Gull Harbor became available for purchase in paperback copies today, 10 days before its official release date.  Once I received the email from my publisher, I began notifying the list of readers who have patiently waited for the print version of my second book.  While Gull Harbor became available on Kindle as part of Amazon's Kindle Select Program in February, many people still prefer to hold an actual book in their hands.  I admit I'm one of them, although I do read e-books as well.  And in my opinion, as a life-long reader, the more reading choices I have, the better.

I don't think one way has to be "better" than the other.  For me, the two complimentary.  As long as I'm reading, I'm happy.  And studies are showing that there is virtually no difference between the two methods of reading.  So I thought I'd list my personal pros and cons of print versus digital.

Silver Lake at the local book store (far right)

Print:  First and foremost, reading a bound book has a strong emotional attachment for me.  I've been an avid reader since I was a child, and once that book is in my hands, I feel like it's officially time to relax and enter another world.  There is something very soothing about the feel of a book.  I can flip through the pages, use the bookmarks my kids have made for me, and not have to worry my book will need charging.  There are no messages popping up from other programs to distract me, no temptation to quickly check my email or social media.  The cover art remains easily visible, which often enhances the story.  At home, I love to see my favorite books decorating the shelf.  Finally, as an author, I like print copies because I can sign them for people!

Highlights of Gull Harbor on Kindle

Digital:  There is no argument for me when it comes to travel--e-readers are essential.  I can remember almost filling a suitcase with books for a long trip once in the 90's.  Now the airlines would charge me a bundle for that!  I can store all the titles I want on one device, and download a new read almost instantly.  So it's no problem if I run out of reading material at an inconvenient time--I don't need to run back to the hotel room or to the store.  I particularly love the feature which allows a reader to look up the definition of an unfamiliar word.  Finally, digital books require no paper--a plus for the environment. 

Cost-wise, it depends on how much a person is reading.  E-books are less expensive, and many are offered free at times.  However, the device itself can be pricey. 

I don't think e-books will ever completely replace print books--I think they can co-exist peacefully quite well.  As a writer, I spend an incredible amount of time in front of a screen already, so I do feel more relaxed with a bound book in my hands.  However, I've embraced the new technology and found a number of benefits for the digital platform, even beyond what I listed above.  I'd love to hear comments--what's your preference?


  1. For me, nothing beats the smell and feel of paper books, really. And I like flipping back (and forward) through paper books. Especially when they are translations or older works, or non-fiction, with notes at the end of the chapter or book. Or detectives. "Wait, what clue?" "Where did she say that?" Searching back to such a scene is more work in print, but I find that re-reading in a real book actually takes me back, allows me to immerse myself in the scene again. Less so with digital.

    The weight is a serious problem though. Or maybe my problem is that I can't decide beforehand what I want to read. "Just to be sure, let's take THAT book along as well." Even to day trips, where you already know that there won't even be time to read.

    So, for me, print books is love, digital is convenience.

  2. So nice to see you here Treesong, thanks for coming by! Totally agree with you...your last sentence says it well.

  3. You're welcome. I was just dropping by for the black gold, hot and steamy. Soon I will drop by for a ramble.