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Behind-The-Books Blog

A book is an e-book…is still a book

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Ever since e-books came to the fore, there has been a tendency to define them against their physical predecessors, to suggest that digital is a logical progression and, most commonly, that the two formats are mutually exclusive.

format war

Like a lot of book-lovers, I confess to being e-book sceptic when digital was on the rise. I dug my heels in, thinking that digital was an abandonment of everything that print stood for, that I would never succumb to the pressures of the digital age…and then I thought: why does this have to be an ultimatum? Why can’t one enjoy the benefits of both print and digital simultaneously?

print wins

I will always nurture love in my heart for the printed word. Like most bibliophiles, I appreciate that sense of nostalgia with print, that literal feeling of entering an alternate space, of possessing another world created and contained in ink and paper. Also, the journey of discovery through a bookshop and the conversations with booksellers is not something that can be easily replicated online. Indie bookshops, after all, are thriving and continue to open. Yet one cannot ignore the evident positives of digital publishing. In an oversaturated market, debut writers in particular can struggle to break through. Personally, I am more likely to take a punt on a new writer through digital than print. The demand for instant access, for whatever reason (one cannot exclude the possibility that one is physically unable to access a bookstore), is another nudge towards choosing digital: find book, buy book, read book. No delay.

book friends

We need to end the print vs digital argument and think about how both work together. I think the rise of digital has helped us as readers to understand what is important to us and we make our choices accordingly. From a purely objective standpoint, as long as people are reading, does it matter how? If digital has helped to facilitate this, then how can that possibly be negative? The most important thing to remember is that whether physical or digital, a book is a book.

Kelly, Publishing Executive


Pete Weston Says:


Very nice piece. As you say a book is a book no matter how you read it. If I’m in bed or at home I prefer printed books but if I’m on holiday and lazing by the pool I don’t want to take four or five heavy books with me so the Kindle app on my IPad is perfect. If I’m at work I like audio books.




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