December 28, 2012

On Ebooks, Hardcovers, and Paperbacks

As you may very well know by now, I love to read. It was in the past 5-10 years however, that I not only became interested in reading but books. This blog post is my write-up on books (hardcover, paperback and ebooks). 

Now, I will not say which of the three (hardcover, ebook, paperback) format I prefer the best, or which is the worst, but merely provide my thoughts on each of three, with hopefully as well-balanced view as I can.

First up, is hardcover. 

Most likely the oldest format of reading. The most attractive, and (usually) the first edition that book is in when it's released. It also the largest and therefore most cumbersome. Not ideal for travelling or essentially reading away from the home. You do get a nice looking book, with the text in a good trim, and if there are many maps in the book, looking at them is often easier in hardcover size. With the proper treatment and care, hardcovers can last quite a few decades (basically if you're not rough on them). 

Next, is paperback

I'm talking about the 'mass market' / 'pocket book' type size here. The smaller ones that are cheaper, smaller and more 'common' than hardcovers. They usually get released about a year (sometimes more) after hardcovers do. The waiting can be a pain, though you get a book that is about 1/3 the price of  hardcover, and easier to transport. Sometimes the text (maps, as well) can appear to be 'squished', where sometimes the small trim size doesn't exactly work. It could be the font. It be the sizing job, too. Also, paperbacks aren't quite up to the quality of standard that a hardcover is, and won;t last as long. 

Finally we have the ebook.

The newest addition to reading...and possibly the best all around. I mean, just take a look on the bus, for instance. Ebooks definitely 'caught on'. They are the most convenient. You get books as soon as they are released (like a hardcover), they're about half the price of a hardcover, the file sizes are often small, and since it's digital, you don't have to worry about 'damage' to an actual book. Since it's digital, you don't have a book to buy. you just need to worry about the size of the reader itself.  

Depending on the reader, or the format of the file, you can also change the font size and font itself. Those worried that ebooks will replace 'real' books fear not. It may eventually happen in the future. However, with online shopping, don't we still have shopping malls?
Of course, owning ebooks is like owning music downloads - showing off your 'library' isn't quite as impressive. Also, should you meet an author, there won't be anything to sign. finally, you don't have to worry about books being 'out of print' or 'sold out'. On the other hand, not every single book in existance has an ebook counterpart. 

So where do I stand? Well, let's see:

hardcover: I get it as soon as it comes out, looks great on my shelf, and should I want an author to sign it; perfect. Books I love and don't plan to part with, etc I get in hardcover. Also, if I can't wait for the paperback. My Tolkien books, Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire and the first two books of Ken Follett's Century Trilogy I have in hardcover. Also, any new Stephen king book (except for Wind Through the Keyhole, I have the Dark Tower books in paperback, and will get that one in that format also.)

paperback: I get paperbacks mainly because of cost and space. Most of my books are in paperback; either because that's the only format readily available, or I just want to read the book. All of the Wheel of Time books I have in paperback - I like them, they're great fun, but not my 'favorite'. Plus, when I started getting the series, there was ten of them. So naturally paperback was the way to go. Since I'm that far into buying the series, with each new book release, I just wait about a year and get the paperback for an eventually matching set. Also, with Stephen King's older books, I'll get them in paperback format.

ereader: when I said that my 'book' buying will decrease by about a third, this is why. I can foresee buying more ebooks than paperbacks. My hardcover purchases will stay about the same, but the only paperbacks I foresee I see myself getting is: the final Wheel of Time novel, the remaining books in Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight series, whatever books will remain in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories, and older Stephen King books that I want to get. Off the top of my head, that's it. I got my reader in November, approximataly about a month ago, so any books that I want to read (and I don't have others in the same series, such as Wheel of Time or Dark Tower) I'll get in ebook format. The Outlander series? Sounds cool, I'll get the ebooks; for instance. 

As you can see, as a reader, I'll get all three types of books / reading methods I named above. However, in about...five years, if things stay as they are with reading technology, I'll most likely only get ebooks and hardcovers, with most of my books being the e version.

As long-winded as they have gotten, I hope that you enjoyed reading, and that I presented as best as possible, an un-biased opinion of all three formats. 

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