#PinkHeartPoll: What's Your Favourite Book Format?
We're talking about our favorite ways to read at the PHS this month. EReader, paperback, audio book-what's your preference?
Donna Alward - I Heart Print (with a caveat for travel)
The digital revolution has been amazing for the publishing industry. Never has getting your romance fix been easier—you can one-click buy and be reading two minutes later. You can pre-order your favorite author’s next book, and on release day it shows up on your device. Want to try a new author? Excerpts and first chapters are available for nearly every story. And if your appetite is voracious, forget about cramming two or three books in your handbag. One e-reader/tablet/iPad/phone is all you need. BOOM. It’s there. No bookstore in your town? No problem. Can’t get out because of weather/health/any number of problems? All you need is an internet connection. I read faster when I read an ebook. And it’s perfect for travel, and sitting in airports or on planes.
One of my biggest complaints is going to a bookstore and wanting a book and it not being in stock. I can go to Amazon and have it on my computer in a few minutes, or at my doorstep in two days. But that’s a whole other article…
But… despite the fact that my readers love buying my stories in ebook, I’m one of those print lovers. Maybe it’s because I’m a very tactile person. I like holding the book in my hands. I like how the print looks on the page, and the feel of the cover beneath my fingers. The sound of the paper as I turn a page… even the barbaric way I dog-ear the corner to mark my place (yes, I’m barbaric. No apologies.). It’s… substantial.
It could be that there’s simply an emotional relationship between me and a physical book. When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time in my room or on a sofa in our sunporch, book in hand. I read new books when I could get them and re-read over and over again in between times. There’s something comforting in the habit of snuggling up with a blanket and a book that feels relaxing and indulgent. It’s pleasurable.
And I think that’s really the difference. As an author and an editor, I read books or work with words all day, and I do that on a computer screen. And I love my job, I truly do! But if I’m going to wind down at night or on a Sunday afternoon, I don’t want to do that with more screen time. It’s a mental shift from monitor to paper, from work to pleasure/fun. And so while I do read digitally occasionally—if I can’t wait for a book, for example, or if the book is out of print or not available in paper—probably 75-80% of my reading is print.
I know I can’t be the only one. So while digital is definitely strong in the market, I truly don’t think print will ever go away—as long as there are people like me to keep it going.
Jill Kemerer - I Heart Paperback
I’m pushing a loaded shopping cart through the grocery store, and I’m getting excited because the final aisle I approach contains the magazines. I glance at the periodicals with celebrities and decadent recipes on my way to the paperback section. For just five dollars, I can buy hours of entertainment. Will it be the one with the cover of a cowboy holding out flowers to a pretty girl? Or the book with a puppy romping near a set of twins and an adorable couple looking on? Maybe both! For that price, I don’t mind splurging on more than one romance novel.
Paperbacks have always held a special spot in my heart. When I was a kid, I’d pick them up for a dime each at flea market. During college, I made a weekly trek to a used book store for a bag full of them. I still routinely check the new releases at my local library, and, as mentioned above, I buy paperbacks on a regular basis. I love the smell of the paper, the weight of the book in my hands, the portability—I can pop a novel in my purse—and the ease of the print on my eyes.
Sure, I read many books on my phone, and I’m thankful for apps that allow me to read digital books, but my preference will always lean to paperbacks. I retain the story better, and if I can’t finish the book right away, I’m more likely to return to a book sitting in front of me rather than having to remember that it’s loaded on my phone. Most of all though, I love revisiting a beloved story years later, which is simple to do if it’s on my shelf, and I always pass paperbacks on to friends and family.
Vanessa North - I Heart Kindle
When I was a kid, I was always the kid with a big book under my arm. In high school, I kept a spare book in my backpack in case I finished the one I was reading before the afternoon bus ride home. Even in college, when I worked two jobs and had a full course load, I kept a bookshelf lined with romance novels for whatever downtime I could muster.
I’ve always been a reader—but my reading life changed when I won an iPad in a giveaway contest and discovered ebooks six years ago. At the time, I was already a longtime Amazon shopper, so I immediately downloaded the Kindle app and hit the ground running. Since then I’ve bought more Kindles than I can count on one hand. Only two were for me, but I’m not above stealing my kids’ when mine runs out of battery. They’re easy to use right out of the box, intuitive and lightweight—and inexpensive too.
But the real appeal of the Kindle for me is the Kindle document library. Every ebook I’ve ever bought, on Amazon or elsewhere, stored in the cloud and accessible from my Kindles, my phone, my now-ancient iPad, my laptop—wherever I may be and whatever device I’m using, I can read anything in my library within minutes. Stuck in a doctor’s waiting room? I have my entire library. Waiting for a parent teacher conference? I have my entire library. Sitting at my regular Thursday watering hole with a friend, trying to remember “who wrote that book--?” I can look it up right then and there—because I have my whole library. In my kitchen, needing to look up a recipe? All my cookbooks are in there too.
Do I still treasure my hardcovers and paperbacks? Of course! And I still keep a book shelf of my favorites. But these days, my Kindle library is my go-to for literally everything literary.
Ali Williams - I Heart iBooks
I love books, no matter what format they're in; but recently I've developed a real love for the iBook format.
This is threefold:
1) Ease. I can read a book on my tablet or my phone or my laptop - and each device will pick up where I left off. As an app, it does't take up a huge amount of space on my phone, and I can easily open ePubs that people send me to read; plus I'd rather read fiction on my phone as it's small and incredibly portable!
2) Academia. iBooks have the best note taking system that I've found in an electronic format. Unlike the Kindle app - which allows you to highlight, but is a bugger to find again after - the iBooks app has tabs where you can switch to see sections you've highlighted, and notes you've taken - complete with a location. When I'm reading academic research, I like to be able to switch between all three modes of the book easily - especially when writing up notes.
3) Comics. Perhaps this is more to do with the resolution of the iPad/iPhone/Macbook, but comics are so much clearer and easier to read with the iBooks app, than in any other digital format. The colour is always spot on, and navigation is really simple. (Though I do prefer reading comic books in trade paperback format if I have the option!)
But also, I like the convenience. Theres something really handy about always having a book at my fingertips - and that doesn't matter what format it's in!
Ali is an all round romance nerd, who is currently working on a PhD proposal in Popular Romance Studies. For more information about her and her writing projects, check out her website, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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