All Book Formats Are Awesome

This article about how readers prefer paper books started popping up in my Facebook feed today, and it includes the following:

A report released Thursday found that 70 percent of Americans read print books last year, but only four percent read exclusively e-books. According to the survey, conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International, the average adult read five books in 2013.

The interesting part about the four percent figure that they chose to emphasize is that it refers to people who read "exclusively e-books" in 2013. If you click through to the PDF report they're citing (E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps), it explains that 28% of Americans read an ebook last year, which is a noticable increase from the 23% who read one in 2012.

I'm not crazy about the first article's ebook vs. paper tone, since my Kindle serves a different purpose for me than print. I mostly buy ebooks of new-to-me authors and fun fluff that I'm not likely to reread. Ebooks are also great for free, out-of-copyright stuff. I've read some amazing old stories, especially memoirs, that I doubt I'd ever have stumbled across in paper form.

I'll always try to buy my favorite books and authors in print editions, but my shelf space is more limited than my reading interests. Paper and pixels both have a place in my 100-book-a-year reading habit, so I get a little tired of media reports that act as if my format choice is part of some competition.

2 comments:

  1. I agree. I was kind of anti-ebook for a long time, mostly because I love my paper books, and every article I read seemed to be pushing the idea that e-books are just better than paper and will obviously be replacing it (I'm guessing the article you're referencing above is in reaction to that idea). But I finally caved and bought a Kindle (because I was starting to see some of my favorite authors release things in e-only - mostly short story collections, but things I wanted to read) and I love it. It's great for travel, for reading on the treadmill (no more running with one hand to keep the pages open!), and for reading at bedtime (because it's light and backlit so I don't bother my husband). But I still love my paper books. For things I really love, I always want to have them in hard copy - especially if there's a chance I'll meet the author someday and can get them signed! And I just love the feel of a paper book, and the cover art. I also find physical bookshelves way easier to browse than my Kindle - plus the Kindle doesn't have the back cover blurbs, so I can't remember what all those freebie books I downloaded way back when are actually about. Anyway, I think there are definitely uses for both formats, and hope they continue to coexist for a long time.

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    1. Exactly! To me the formats compliment each other depending on what I'm doing or feel like reading. My Kindle is the reason I can just take my purse in airports rather than a book-heavy backpack, but I was thrilled to get a batch of 90 year old hardcover adventure novels for Christmas. Books are good, being able to get at them in different ways makes me happy.

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