Are you #TeamDigital or #TeamPaperback?

Before you answer that, let me make a prediction: You’re probably reading this article on your mobile phone or tablet. If you aren’t, other people likely are.

Let’s face it, that’s just the world that we live in, now. We are living in a time where people have been “raised on mobile phones”.

The book community is torn on the subject of e-books versus paperbacks.

Personally speaking, I am #TeamDigital.

E-book, a stupid product?

That said, this was why I wanted to learn more about why the head of one of the world’s largest book publishers described the e-book as “a stupid product”.

Touching on the limitation of the e-book format, Arnaud Nourry, the Chief Executive of Hachette Livre – currently the world’s third largest trade publisher – was quoted as saying in a report, “The e-book is a stupid product. It is exactly the same as print, except it’s electronic. There is no creativity, no enhancement, no real digital experience.”

Future is digital

The future is digital, and it’s about time we accept it.

Online reading and other reader apps provide people like me with links and search engines, making it really easy to get references. In the case of printed books, I would have to refer to other books or media if I wanted to learn more.

Erin Kelly, who penned the psychological thriller ‘He Said/She Said’, which was a Sunday Times bestseller, strongly disagreed with the claim made by Nourry – that there is “no digital experience” when it comes to e-books. According to her, they’re a revolution.

“Isn’t that the point? If it’s got graphics, noise or animation, it’s no longer a book – it’s a computer game or a movie,” Kelly told The Guardian.

“Just as I write disconnected from the Internet and in silence, I don’t want my books to do other stuff. The beauty of the book, in a world of digital noise, is the purity of the reading experience – and there’s nothing stupid about that,” she said.

Let’s take a closer look at some good reasons why e-books are a better option:

They don’t take up much space – An e-book reader can hold hundreds, if not thousands of books (depending on the size of your memory card) in just a single tiny device. What if you are going for a trip and you want to take a few paperback books with you? With an e-book reader, you won’t have to lug them around while travelling. This way, you’ll have space for more things.

They make it easier to share – It is possible to share specific quotes on the go. It is easier to dissect content and share with others for further discussions. As some sharing infrastructure is already available, it is also easier to discuss the shared content off the e-books. A large number of people have access to shared content. E-books are ubiquitous and can be built upon easily.

They are durable – The e-books will stay as they are without any risk of getting damaged, torn, etc.

They give you easy access to books – You’re just a few clicks away from getting a e-book in your hands in the next few minutes.

They allow you to read the way you want – You can resize stuff and change the reading style that suits you. So, it makes it possible for different types of people to read e-books pleasurably. Also, you will be able to jump between chapters without turning the pages.

Generally speaking, what was mentioned above is fitting if we were solely looking at novels.

What about EZines (electronic magazines) versus printed magazines?

Well, for this, digital is the way to go. Why? Among the many reasons are:

Lowers cost – A paper magazine has to be printed, distributed and finally sold by the newsagents. These three processes, of course, incur a cost. Moreover, unsold copies of the magazine represent a loss for the publisher. Digital, on the contrary, allows publishers to distribute their magazines on the web, without having to pay the commercial mediation of suppliers and sellers.

Global distribution – An added advantage is that not only do publishers don’t not have to pay distributors anymore, but they can also be sure that the circulation of their magazine will be global. There are no geographical barriers or state borders online. Every issue of a magazine can be bought by potentially everyone worldwide.

Convenience for the reader – Buying a digital magazine is way more convenient than buying a printed one. It can be done at home, at the office, on the bus. Pretty much everywhere. And the same goes for the consumption of the product: it can be read everywhere, anytime.

What about comic books?

Interestingly, it’s an entirely different story when it comes to digital comics versus print comics.

While digital comics have grown thanks to their easy access and simply storage capability, the prospect that print comics would disappear from the face of the earth seems unlikely.

“People want to have (the printed comics) in their hands. If you read an issue of Sports Illustrated or Entertainment Weekly, you throw them away after your done reading. If you read an issue of Punisher, Avengers, Batman, Saga, or The Walking Dead you store them after reading,” Chris Coller, a comic book shop manager, was quoted as saying in a report.

At the end of the day, collecting comic books can be very profitable if you know what you are doing. So when it comes to comics, I have to admit that I am #TeamPaperback.

With the Venom movie premiering this week, I have an inkling to get in to the hobby of collecting comic books. Perhaps I should pay a visit to Brunei’s only comic book store, @fanboysinfinite, one of these days? What do you think?

Let’s have a discussion

What are you thoughts on e-books versus paperbacks? Do you agree with this article? Neue would love to hear from you.