A book is an e-book…is still a book
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.
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?
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.
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