BTT: Electronic vs Paper

This week’s Booking Through Thursday is unusual. Rather than asking a question that’s book related, Deb gave a link to a Time Magazine article and asked us to talk about it.

The article is “Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature” by Lev Grossman, and it tackles the state of the publishing industry nowadays, how its being changed by the growth of ebooks and portable ebook readers.

Here’s my take:

I already aired my views on ebooks on several previous BTT entries, but I’m always up to sharing my thoughts about it.

I read ebooks. In some ways, it’s preferable to regular books because based on the price of each title, it’s cheaper. All I have to do is search and I can get it in less than a minute. I read ebooks on my laptop, or on my Nokia N92 with MobiReader when I’m commuting to and fro work. Thanks to it, I’m able to read approximately twenty to thirty books a month.

However, in a nutshell, I’ll pick an actual book over an ebook. There’s nothing quite like the feel of holding the book in your hands, thumbing through the pages, sniffing its smell. And I don’t know about you but I somehow like the idea of reading a book during a busy commute. It’s kinda like telling the world, “Hey, I’m reading this!” and you can tell a bit about people with what they read. For example, in the past few months I’ve been seeing a lot of kids reading Twilight books and I figured these kids were just riding on the bandwagon. I was the only one who read something else (Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book) and felt smug about it.

Somehow, it just won’t feel the same if I’m using an ebook reader, never mind if it’s a Kindle (I’m willing to bet that half of the people I commute with don’t even have an idea what that is). Sure you have a fancy piece of technology, but people don’t know what you’re reading. Besides, after staring at a computer monitor or my phone screen for lengths of time, my eyes hurt.

On the publishing industry, well, I can’t really say much about it because really, I don’t know how it works. Personally, I don’t think that it will go down just like that. Sure anybody can go and publish their own stories and sell it to the world, but how many can claim that it was well written and well presented? I’d read a friend’s book, sure, but I won’t g buying someone’s book off the Internet just because it’s there. I agree with Trish on this one, anyone can publish, but not anyone can hit the jackpot.

Besides, I think that in the end, even if you self-publish, nothing still beats having a publisher at your back to help you promote and sell your story right?

Where I live, I can safely say that the publishing industry is thriving. There’s a couple of bookstores (mostly big chain ones) that’s always full of people and I see patrons leaving the with a lot of purchases. Also, there’s a market for local authors, those who write various genres (both in English and the vernacular, Tagalog): romance, horror, humor and even some branching out to sci-fi and fantasy.

Traditional publishing isn’t dying, for me. It’s just changing.

You can read the comment on the page as well.