TODAY'S QUESTION: Do you prefer print books or e-books?

Monday, April 18, 2011 | 10:28 a.m. CDT

E-book sales surpassed paperback book sales for the first time ever in February. They are now the best-selling format in all categories of trade publishing in the U.S.

E-book sales were $90.3 million in February, according to an Association of American Publishers report.  This marks a 202.3 increase increase in sales from the same time last year. The report attributes much of the rise to holiday gifts. The report is made up of data voluntarily submitted by publishers, not book retailers.

Paperback sales amounted to $81.2 million in February. Adult hardcover, mass market and paperback book sales combined were $156.8 million, down 34.4 percent from last year.  

There is a variety of e-reader devices available, including Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Apple’s iPad.

According to a news release from Amazon, the company sells 115 Kindle book for every 100 paperbacks.

Do you prefer to read books in print or on e-readers? Why?


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Polly Brown April 18, 2011 | 3:04 p.m.

Books in electronic formats are subject to degradation and corruption. Plus,even before they have time to degrade, the technology for reading them may actually vanish as major changes occur, i.e. 8-tracks, phonograph records at 78, 45 and 33-1/33 rpm, video cassettes, etc. I have print books that have "lived" through 100 years of media changes, but are still readable.

(Report Comment)
Robin Nuttall April 18, 2011 | 5:04 p.m.

I actually do both. I have a nook on which I read ebooks. And I also still use and buy old fashioned text as well. And go to the library.

I have the nook because the Kindle is proprietary. With the Kindle, you must go through Amazon. The nook allows you to purchase and download books from almost any resource (I usually use epub) and the DBRL has Overdrive, so I can even get electronic books delivered to my nook without having to leave my computer chair.

Some advantages to e-readers like the nook are:

1. I can read outside even on a bright day with no glare.

2. I can change font sizes.

3. I can lay the book flat, so it's very easy to read while eating supper.

4. Books are cheaper than they are in print.

5. I can load my nook and take one single device on trips instead of weighing my suitcase down with books (I'm an avid reader and can go through 3 or 4 a weekend on vacation).

6. Electronic is more environmentally friendly than paper. In addition to "saving the trees," paper inks are highly toxic to the environment, then there's the cost to ship books across country, power for warehouses, etc.

7. I can lend books on my nook.

Disadvantages are that though I can lend books, it's only for a couple of weeks. And if I want to give the book away, I really can't. Also, even though usually a dollar or so cheaper than paper, ebooks are WAY more expensive than they should be. Printing and shipping books is hugely expensive. Electronic is not. Publishers are going the wrong way with DRM as well. What is particularly infuriating is that publishers are going back to old books long in print and jacking up their prices too.

But overall, I am very, very happy to have a nook.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 19, 2011 | 12:31 p.m.

Print. Books don't crash, and they don't become unreadable because the company that published them goes out of business or changes its licensing terms.

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane April 19, 2011 | 12:57 p.m.

E-books are great for fun reading & when I find a book I love I buy the print copy for my collection of favorite reads. The best format I've found lately for my lifestyle are audio books. Nothing beats listening to a great story in the car, at the gym, or doing routine tasks!

(Report Comment)

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