20 Feb 2011

Ebook Versus Hard Copy.


“You can’t beat a good hardback book,” the sceptics will say before they’ve even picked up an e-Book.


But are they indeed correct, after all?
Libraries are stacked full of hard backed, crinkly paged, shiny covered books so to the borrowing public they’re readily available for free – all you need is a library card and to remember to check the books back in before you get fined (been there, done that, bought the T-shirt and matching mug.)
Hopefully one day in the not too distant future libraries will be stocked with eBooks. Perhaps as an on-line archive, rather than the buildings they are today.
It’s not too far fetched when I recall memories of my childhood public library. It was a one storey library with a modest children’s and adults selection of books (and later on they dug deep and added in a teen section.) They didn’t have any computers until around 1999 when they added one little dinosaur of a PC that you had to reserve lest it be taken pretty swiftly.
You could hook up to the Internet, if you were lucky. And had the patience of a Saint.
The Millennium Bug phenomenon had been and gone for two years before they added a computer suite; fully equipped with top of the range computers pre-loaded with Windows XP (totally retro now, of course) and this new fangled thing called “Broadband Internet.” It was Heaven sent at the time where it wasn’t too common to own a computer that didn’t run off an Operating System circa-2000 or to still be hearing that shrill sound Dial Up made – perhaps comparable to the sound a robot might make if it were possible for them to suffer death by Samurai.
My point is: technology is like art. It is fast paced and ever changing. One minute there’s Andy Warhol at the top of his game and the next it’s Damien Hirst…or whoever’s the new kid on the block these days. Technology moves in that same, sneaky way. It has to if change is to be made in the World.
From the quill to printing press. From printing press to typewriter. From typewriter to PC.
These advancements in technology have also meant that there are advancements in how books are presented to us, the consumer as we receive the end product, after all.
To the paying customer, who is shopping for a gift for themselves or for others, price will sway the decision (after all, I can’t recall the last time I heard of someone receiving a library book as a gift.) For a popular hardback copy of “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” it will cost £9.71 for the hard cover and £2.74 for the eBook version (check it out).
This isn’t just the case on popular titles but with savings made on printing, ink and shipping eBooks shape up to be the “New Book.” The future of books, if you like.
So, let the sceptics be. There will always 
be sceptics. 

But why not give an eBook a 
shot and see if it’s for you?