Monday, July 29, 2013

The Debate Remains: Hardcover/Paperback vs. e-readers

As technology continues to advance, the literary world has changed with it.

From hardcovers and paperbacks to the desktop and laptops to the  Nook, Kindle to Apple, Microsoft tablets, the world has more ways to read now more than ever.

What is your favorite method? electronically or the traditionalism of hardcover or paperback?

Interestingly enough, as I talk to e-reader fans, it's been discovered that some readers can't recall the title or author of the book they're reading! Could it be that they're not holding an actual book and can't see the cover, title, author's name each time they read?  Who knows.

With society's love of nostalgia and comfort of history and things from days gone by, physical books will remain. Look at the success of used book stores across the nation, one in particular, Half Price Books, who buys and sells not only books, but anything printed or recorded. Books, Albums, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, Cassettes and even, dare I say, 8-track tapes?  Yes, at one location this weekend, I saw several and asked, "Do people actually still buy these?"  The response: "yes, mostly from people who restore old cars that have the player still inside.."  Interesting I thought.

Lets look at the demise of vinyl. It died, but as witnessed in the last few years, it's making a comeback. Our love for nostalgia remains.  But as streaming and downloading of movies is on the rise through Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc., and iTunes for music, one can simply walk through a Barnes and Noble  music and movie section and see how our buying methods are changing.

But back to books. Regardless of one's reading preference, there's one experience that can't be debated and will remain:

Meeting an author and a signed/inscribed book.

How does an author sign an electronic book and how does a reader replace the experience of a book signing, visiting with the author and receiving a signed book if they chose to read through an eReader?

You can't.  And I haven't. The pleasure of a book signing remains! Sure you can order a signed book off the web, but....

Can you look in the author's eyes and say, "What's your book about?"  Just as I did this past weekend:

Theory of Remainders by Scott Dominic Carpenter.

Description of book from the inside flap:  A suspenseful literary novel set in the lush backgrounds of Normandy, Theory of Remainders explores the secret ties between love, trauma, and language."

Author bio from back inside flap: Scott Dominic Carpenter teaches French literature and critical theory at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. His fiction has appeared in a broad array of literary journals, and his collection of short stories, This Jealous Earth, came out in 2013. 

Happy Reading!

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