eBooks vs Print Books

eBooks vs Print Books

I have always been a voracious reader. As a child, I consumed every book I could get my hands on and was probably the school library’s most consistent customer. At the age of about 11, I was severely reprimanded for attacking books on my grandmother’s bookshelf that were definitely not age-appropriate. At boarding school, I had enough books confiscated for reading in class or n the study hall to fill a small library.
So it is not surprising that I find myself involved in the publishing business at this time of my life, having qualified and practiced as a journalist and editor in my younger days.
I love books – I love print books. I love the feel of a book, I love it how a book falls out my hands as I am falling asleep. I love browsing through a bookshop – my wife covers my eyes when we walk a mall and she sees a bookshop.
So what about eBooks then?
Well, I have resisted eBooks – they were not quite the thing for me. But I have recently started experimenting and my perspectives are changing. When they first emerged, there were dire predictions that the print book industry and bookshops and the like were doomed, but it has not turned out that way – print books survived the digital onslaught and are as popular as ever. However, eBooks have also gained enormously in popularity and the two now exist fairly comfortably side by side across the world, with most authors and book sale platforms offering both versions to the reading public.
eBooks definitely have their benefits. I was stuck at in a situation recently where I had to wait in a socially-distanced queue for medication. I hauled out my phone and was soon happily reading a novel, and I could have chosen to read any one of about a dozen I currently have in my online library, or if I didn’t like any of them at that moment, I could either have bought another one from Google Play Books or searched for one of the thousands of free books available – all while waiting in the queue!
So yes, print books have their place – and they will always be close to my heart –  but then so do eBooks.
In this Coronavirus world, it has been almost impossible in the first stages of the lockdown to get hold of new books – even the online platforms like Takealot and Amazon have not been able to sell books because the couriers were not working, so one alternative is of course ebooks!
That is one reason I have launched this website – to make the books of the authors I work for available in ebook format on a platform where they will not be swamped and hidden among a million others in those giant online stores.
On a page or on a screen? Most readers have an opinion on this subject, adamantly choosing either reading eBooks or paper books. Both options tell the same stories, but the experience of reading with either is completely different.
So, the answer to the question Print vs eBook? Both are great and have their place!
Oh, by the way, I also recently discovered – mainly because I hadn’t thought about it – another situation where reading an eBook had a distinct advantage. We experienced a power cut a few evenings ago (not loadshedding!) that lasted a few hours from about seven until after nine, and I was quite easily able to read my eBook in the dark, without needing any light at all, and with no particular strain to my eyes. My previous loadshedding reading solution? A headlamp!
The video below gives a great comparison between the two formats, and concludes that each has its place, according to the situation!

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