The Relief of Reading a Printed Book

I’m reading a printed book after weeks of reading ebooks with the Kindle app on my tablet.

Switching to print has been such a relief! I don’t have to turn the tablet back on if I’ve happened to leave it for a few minutes, or dart back to flip the page back to prevent the device shutting off while I’m making that sandwich. I don’t have to check the battery level or remember to plug it in.

Ebooks are compact and convenient, no question about that, but print books provide a less demanding reading experience. Open or closed, they sit there obligingly, waiting to be read. Several times since I switched back to print, I’ve returned to the book after getting a cup of coffee and experienced a pleasant surprise when I realized I didn’t have to turn on the reading device and key in a password in order to continue reading. (Okay, I know you can set up your tablet not to require a password, but I chose not to do that.)

One problem with printed books is disposing of those you no longer need, often after a single reading. (I’m trying to reduce the amount of surplus stuff in my house, even books.) There are many good ways to dispose of unwanted books — give them to friends, donate to the local library, contribute to community book sales, etc. But each of those options requires more effort than pressing a “delete” button.

This is where borrowing books from libraries is a great choice. Read it and return it. If I’m reluctant to part with a library book after I’ve read it, that’s a sign I should buy myself a copy.

Am I going to restrict myself to reading only in print? No. Many indie-published books are never going to show up at the library. The best way to experience them is via the ebook format, especially when trying out books by authors new to me. As with books from the library, if I find one I really love, I can always order a printed copy — if one is available.

Which tells me that for indie authors, it’s important to make their books available in both print and e-format. It’s even worth the agonizing effort of formatting a Word document to create a professional quality printed book. If you want to do that, this free resource created by fellow WordPress blogger Meeka may be helpful.

What about you, fellow indies? Are your books available in both print and ebook form? Do you read in both formats or do you prefer one or the other?

84 comments

  1. Audrey, like you I swing between both! I bought my kindle following diagnosis of an eye disease and itโ€™s a wonder! I do use a paperwhite kindle though and would not be able to use my iPad or such, too cumbersome. Yet I return happily to printed books often. You are right to remind indie writer to publish in that both formats … to reach audiences on both! Happy Reading, Audrey! ๐Ÿ“–

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love books and don’t often read kindle books. These days I often read a review of a book online than search for it on the online library catalogue. I then get the book I want sent out to my local branch. If it’s available it usually arrives within a couple of days. Because the reviews I read are about writing on subjects I’m really interested in I catch up on the latest books really quickly. Of course visiting libraries is also a treat and I find books I didn’t know existed. It sounds wacky but I have been to three different libraries in the past week! I will have to restrain myself this week and stay home and read though I did go online earler this evening and order two more… I’m a hopeless addicted when it comes to books. I’ve just started a new hobby of scouring second hand book shops for old classics I either read years ago and loved or have always meant to read… oh dear… hopeless ๐Ÿ˜

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    1. Libraries are a great public resource and in my experience they are expanding their offerings to meet the needs of the present time. But then, I worked in libraries for more than 30 years, in the realm of cataloguing. Used bookstores are also wonderful as places of serendipity. Many of the too many books in my house came from such bookstores.

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      1. 30 years cataloguing would be an interesting career. I did a few months of basic cataloguing as a volunteer some years ago. I loved it. And yes, libraries are a great resource. My branch is part of a larger city network so I can get most things I want. More esoteric ones will have to wait till I get up to specialist bookshops in the state capital later in the year. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  3. I read both e-books and print books. I just love to read but there is something about opening up a printed book. Borrowing books from the library is good too if you have one near you, and what about those wonderful Little Free Libraries. Authors do get paid for having their books in libraries.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Darlene, in Canada authors are financially recognized for contributing to libraries. And where I live there are many Little Free Libraries. As a former librarian, I often think I should have one but we haven’t as yet built one. It would have to be nifty-looking; that seems to be part of their attraction.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reading through the comments, it sounds like everyone is a fan of both types of books. Me, too. I got a waterproof Kindle for Christmas, so I do like the benefit of reading e-books while soaking in a hot bath and not worrying about dropping a paperback into the water!:-)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A waterproof device would definitely be needed for reading in the bath. I would never try that with the tablet — it’s slippery enough without soap and water, and definitely not waterproof. I did drop a paperback (ironically, it was Beth Chatto’s The Dry Garden) into the bath once, but was able to dry it out successfully. There are pros and cons for both ways of reading.

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  5. I’m about 50/50 on books versus ebooks. I go back and forth between each medium. Two big reasons I like ebooks — (1) the number of books you can fit on a small device make ebooks a better travel option; and (2) the ability to read no matter the lighting.

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        1. The only times I think audiobooks might work for me is on a long drive or flight, or if I was doing something manual like knitting or embroidery. But I don’t do those things, and haven’t been on any long trips lately. Otherwise, I think I would find audiobooks too slow.

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  6. E-books have one advantage over print – they usually are a whole lot cheaper. And you can increase the size of the print. However, on the Kindle it’s very difficult to browse and if you lose your place, finding it again is well nigh impossible, especially is the formatter doesn’t provide a linked ToC. And I rarely get rid of any print book so I have absolutely no shelf space left.
    But let me just mention that all my books have print versions, so if you really enjoy print more, feel free to invest! Heh heh
    And BTW, This is Read an E-Book Week on Smashwords, and all my books are half-price …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed on ebooks being a bargain, and I do increase the font size when I read. I also like the handwriting feature on my ancient e-reader — you can scribble a note and the reader creates a list of notes for later reference. I used it to catch typos in my own books. And I bought a print copy of the first book in your Ki’shto’ba series. It’s that kind of book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I wondered who bought that. The print books rarely sell, so it was a welcome surprise. You get the bonus of the back cover illustration and also the map, which I never include in the e-book because I never have figured out how to do it. I had trouble in the beginning figuring out what to put on the back cover, and then one of my indie contacts suggested that I could put a color version of the map on the back cover, so starting with v.3, that’s what I did. So there are several advantages to getting the paperbacks.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, it’s always a thrill when a printed book is bought, maybe because it rarely happens. As to maps, someone involved in publishing a series of fantasy books recommended an online mapping app called Inkarnate. She said it was developed for gaming, but produced a great looking map of the fantasy world. (It’s the Song of Narne series by Bill Fitts, by the way.)

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  7. I read in print book format. Although I’ve read a few short stories or portions of non-fiction books in e-book, I’ve never made it through an entire novel in that format. As Liz mentions, my work is done online, so I enjoy switching to a regular book that I can hold!

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    1. I still spend a lot of time with my laptop (reading and writing blog posts, mainly), but when I read for fun, whether ebooks or print, I do it in different surroundings. Sitting up in bed with tea at hand is best!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I also still buy and read printed books, Audrey. LIke you, though, I also buy a lot of Indie books as kindle versions. This is largely due to the cost of couriering the books to South Africa. Amazon will no longer use our deficient and defunct postal service as to many books are stolen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s terrible, Robbie. Postal service is something we take for granted. I have heard of parcels left outside being stolen, however. Police have even started using “bait parcels” in some places to catch thieves.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I tend to be a dinosaur, but I still prefer the satisfaction of physically turning a page. It’s the same thing with newspapers. That approach is about to get tested. Our local paper just notified us that due to a shortage of delivery drivers, they are now going to send the paper via snail mail. Our mail doesn’t come until later in the afternoon, and I’m a creature of habit. I always start my day with my coffee and paper; I don’t like this development. I also like to get the local news in a timely fashion, so it looks like I’m going digital.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only newspaper I read is a small local one that comes twice a week. If I had to read it online, I probably wouldn’t. Printed books are much easier to flip through to check back about something. I tend not to even try doing that with ebooks.

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  10. I’ll never buy a paper book again. In fact I own only a few right now, gifts from folks who have not seen the light.
    One of the reasons I only read e-books is my local library allows me to checkout books online, downloaded to my kindle or tablet.

    E-Book benefits: dictionary lookup, search, instant access to complete personal library, instant access to purchases, deep discounts, self-made books from GDocs (to .mobi or .epub), white paper PDFs and .DOCx import (if your not using Calibre e-book manager you’re missing out).

    Paper books might look good on shelves, but they’re a bear to pack, move and store.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The bulkiness of paper books is the biggest problem. I do buy the ones I really like, though, for reading by torchlight after the apocalypse. In which case the ones I don’t care about could be used for fuel or other purposes.
      I’ve heard of Calibre but so far haven’t found a reason to use it.
      One of the downsides of ebooks is you can forget you own them unless you make an effort to review your ebook library. I think this may be why many free ebooks don’t get read. People download a dozen or so at a time in a joyous blur and forget all about them. If they were sitting on a shelf or getting in the way piled up somewhere, they’d be instant reminders of their existence.

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      1. I read a number of tech papers, how-tos, that I put on my kindle, Calibre is a necessity for that. I also assemble mine on other’s writing into ebooks I upload to read, Calibre is instrumental there too.

        A stack of books is a reminder though, you’re right. A solar panel -> USB 5v output is a prep’er’s information requirement.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I generally prefer printed books to e-books. I’m sure we never evolved to stare into a light-source for starters! That said, there’s certainly a convenience to the e-book (and price) which appeals – I have Kindle on my phone, and if I get a few minutes spare can always read a few more pages. Like you, I don’t see the e-book/print issue as either-or, but both.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Agree completely. Unless your ebook is a ‘hot-to’ or a reference work with gazillions of live links that need regular updating, it makes sense to have a print version too … and it costs nothing but your time to do the formatting.
    What most readers don’t know, I suppose, is they are only ‘leasing’ the ebook. as soon as the provider goes away, the ebook goes away. A print book you own, and can be read long after the zombie apocalypse makes all the interwebz-y things go away. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you Audrey for the wake-up call for both the topic of reading and that of formatting one’s own works.
    Reblogged Meeka’s original post.
    And there’s a trove of good advice on yours to, so this get’s reblogged too!
    Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for the mention, Audrey. Always happy to help Indies.
    I have to admit that my own return to print books has kind of stalled. I was happily re-reading favourites from my home library when I became addicted to a series of books written by Kristine Katherine Rusch. So it’s back to my Kindle. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cycle through the different modes myself — Kindle books on the tablet, other ebooks on my e-reader, and print books. Haven’t tried audiobooks yet; I think they’d be too slow, but if I ever need to spend a long time on some tedious manual task, I might try them.

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        1. I always feel like I’m being read a story with an audiobook. I grew up with audiobooks so it’s always been enjoyable for me. That said I always find it strange to say that I’ve ‘read’ a book when I’ve only listened to it. Have you never tried an audiobook then?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Actually, I haven’t. The closest I’ve come is listening to readings from different books on radio years ago. I did enjoy those, I recall, but I think I would find audiobooks too slow. Maybe if I did a lot of long drives or flights. (Not now, of course.)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’ll admit that it’s different from reading a book but it’s still enjoyable. I often put one on whilst doing housework, makes it less monotonous when Stephen Fry is reading Greek myths ๐Ÿ™‚

              Liked by 1 person

          2. No, never, but I do play MMOs and some of them have ‘voice acting’ as well as sub titles. I read fast so I’ve already read the whole while the actor is still droning out the first sentence. It’s just not pleasurable for me. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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  15. My books are available in both formats, and I read both, but after reading ebooks for long stretches then switching to print, I find myself tapping to turn the page instead of turning them manually, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Good point, Audrey. Some of my books are available in print, but all are in ebook format. I borrow a lot of books from the library, but I really enjoy finding new Indie authors, which are usually in ebook format.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I use the tablet only for Kindle books (with the Kindle Reader app) because I don’t want to buy an actual Kindle Reader. I actually prefer my ancient Sony e-reader. It’s lighter and doesn’t need charging as often, but it doesn’t do Kindle books. I use it for ePub ebooks I buy from places other than Amazon.

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  17. I have mine in printed and ebook varieties and have to say that getting people interested and excited about my print editions is considerably easier than it is with their digital counterparts. (I do mainly write kids’ books though, so perhaps that’s a factor too.)

    I’m still on the fence about ebooks as a reader. I love the convenience, but the experience of meeting a new book in a book shop/ library creates a sense of a relationship with it. I still haven’t experienced this with an ebook.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s easier to feel you have a relationship with a physical book, because it’s, well — physical. Ebooks are just text on a screen. (My apologies for the late response; a few comments went to spam and I just found them.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s no problem. Had WordPress do that to me too.

        I enjoy reading ebooks but often forget that I have read them. Without the cover reminding me I can easily forget whether I’m on book two or five of a series. It blurs together more.

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