…and why it’s completely pointless.
I was always aware of this debate long before getting an e reader, but only after getting it and discussing its usage with my peers did I realize how pervasive it was. Not too long ago I was reading some blogs about reading, and when the subject of eBooks and e readers came up, I noticed a clear line in the sand being drawn by the commenters.
The discussion changed and now people were talking about how they ‘don’t’ use e readers, or that they will ‘never quite paper books’. The overall tone was terse, but it’s understandable that there will be those who prefer one thing over the other.
What truly amazed me was the implication that this is the end of paper books completely. ever. For all time.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even with the ‘relative’ cheapness of most e readers now-a-days, it’s not going to ruin book sales. After all, books are things.
We like things. In fact, we love things. All human history has been the pursuit of things, the struggle to craft things, or to steal other people’s things. I have yet to meet anyone who owns an e reader but doesn’t already have shelves full of physical books, (which I am now calling pBooks, as opposed to eBooks.) and they have not sworn themselves off pBooks. Neither have I, but then again I might be a minority in all this. I sure hope not though.
In the end, all that matters are the stories, not what they are written on.
E readers wont hurt the market… but eBooks could. There is a second facet of this debate. The downloading of eBooks for free. I’ll be honest, myself and most others I know have usually gotten eBooks for free. With such things as Project Gutenberg, and various…less legitimate sources, it’s beyond easy to acquire almost any book for zero cents. If there ever was a problem it lies there. To get a book without any cash going to the creator is wrong, and I don’t have an answer for how to fix it. Are people who only buy second-hand books also at fault?
As time went by I’ve tried to build a personal ‘moral system’ in which I can justify owning a hard-drive full of eBooks and still give my tithe to the hardworking writers. If I enjoyed what I read, then I bought a pBook version from my local Chapters. But its not a perfect solution, and most likely a very flawed one.
But what are YOUR thoughts on the matter? Is there a solution that pleases everyone? Am I far from the madd(en)ing crowd, or one of the many making it all worse?