Apparently, the physical book is back, but it did ever really go away? In 2016 sales of children’s books rose, as did non-fiction, in hardback and paperback. Readers have given their reasons that they love the smell and feel of a physical book and that eBooks don’t give the same pleasure.
Everyone knows their pros and cons of eBooks and physical books and here are mine:
Physical book pros:
- Picture books with beautiful illustrations that engage a young reader and allow them to read along with Mum or Dad. They can feel the pages and point to the pictures and this helps them to appreciate a good book
- Technical illustrations or diagrams easier to follow for non-fiction readers
- Using a lovely bookmark!
- Cover design (like an album cover; when LPs gave way to CDs and iPod downloads the world bemoaned the loss of the album cover, an art form in itself, so it’s great LPs have come back!)
- Books keep libraries and bookshops in business!
- When you’ve finished with your book you can pass it to a friend, donate it to a second hand book sale or leave it in a hotel library for another guest to enjoy
- They look good on a shelf!
Physical book cons:
- How many books do you take on holiday and will they weigh down your case?
- When the spines come apart, your pages come loose and you end up having to wrap an elastic band around to keep all the pages together! (happened to me loads of times!)
- They can collect a lot of dust
- They are more expensive than eBooks because they cost more to produce
- Costs of self-publishing
- You can take a whole library of eBooks on holiday with you without stuffing your case full of trashy reads and being told at the airport that you’ve gone over your 20 kg case limit
- Easy to operate
- eBooks give self-published authors the opportunity to publish their own books at no cost (after paying for editing and proofreading)
- Books are instantly downloadable, you don’t have to drive to a shop or pay for shipping
- Generally cheaper to buy than physical books
- Gives the reader a choice: physical or eBook?
- You might not have to weigh your case down with paperbacks, but if you forget to pack your charger…!
- eReaders are generally still in boring black and white with no colour, unless you use a tablet, so they’re not really much use for picture books or non-fiction where you want to see colourful pictures
- There’s nothing attractive about an eReader with a cracked screen
- Drop it in water and it suffers the same fate as your mobile phone if you drop that in water
- You can’t borrow an eBook from a library or buy from a book shop
- One eReader on a shelf looks pretty lonely!
- Doesn’t have the feel or smell of a physical book
- You can’t share an eBook with a friend (not legally, anyway!)
- You can’t gift a Kindle book in the UK!
Nah, I don’t think physical books ever really went away. Read the news report here.