This debate has been done and redone and done all over again, but with camps insisting on their end of the balance, I’m just going to put my two cents in (one cent in both) and walk off. Let us start by looking at the points of both traditional and electronic publishing, shall we?
- There is a physical form to the book. You can flip through the pages, peruse the words, browse through it, admire and play with the cover, and go to a physical bookstore to purchase them.
- Electronic form usually saved in a device (laptop, Kindle, iPad etc…). Space is not an issue here and you can always update your editions without worry of what to do with the older version.
- Depending on the bookstore, they can be quite pricey, ranging from $15 to $30 for fiction novels.
- Cost of downloading the eBook itself is not high. Most fiction eBooks do not go beyond $20.
- Opportunity to indulge in immersing yourself in the bookstore scene with your nose in a book.
- The indulge factor here is highly dependent on the individual. Some find it more immersive and spot the opportunities to be more interactive in e-Books.
- Certain level of satisfaction if you manage to collect a series of a certain cover design or edition.
- Because e-Books can be downloaded with different editions, you may acquire collections faster, albeit only of the digital kind (galleries?).
- Counting on the world’s most powerful graphic card – Imagination. But it also lets you watch as the characters slowly unfurl and grow at your own pace. For some, flipping the pages is part of the reading experience.
- e-Books do not have the physical pleasures of the pages, the smell, and any design elements to the book itself. However, this can raise opportunities for more interaction and/or focused reading in an e-Book.
In a very practical sense, e-Books just seem like that something that will just wipe out the entire generation of the analog book. Strangely, that’s what they said about television and radio as well.
I’m not here to take a side. In fact, if I may digress a little, I’m convinced that one day, I’m going to be trampled by either an apologist or a militant (or both) because I don’t incline to any side totally. I’m just here to offer my views on either side of the coin.
As you can see, both traditional and electronic publishing have their demerits and their opportunities, most of which dependent on the reader. You will have the reader who wants all his/ her favourite books in one single device because they don’t have space to spare, and you will have the reader who wants to sniff the pages. Either way, I find that people arguing on both sides seem to paint the picture that the particular audience on their side of the argument seems to outweigh the other side dramatically.
I have no idea on statistics and the amount of people who want their books in a device or the number of people who want to stick their noses into paper. What I’m saying is this – traditional or electronic, writers are using either to get their stories out.
So in my opinion, neither of them are nor should be dying. Instead of fighting over which triumphs over the other, perhaps what they need is a perception change.
For example for electronic publishing: Interactive e-Novels? Links to references? Collaborative works?
What about traditional publishing?: Collectors’ Covers? Book Art? Book Doctors?
As with any suggestion, these things will take resources. If you’d ask me though, I’d say no guts, no glory. Why not? Go for it, things can be worked out on the way, that’s how you grow right?