Multi channel inbound marketing

eBooks vs Real Book!

by Adedayo Adeyanju on 19th May, 2011 at 3:22 AM CEST

I anticipate a long, drawn out debate on this topic. I had a tough time with trying to stay neutral and concentrating on doing an exposition of these issues but the truth is that I fear my preference still reeks from this piece. Brace yourself for a long, enjoyable read! 

Perhaps a foundational question to ask is why do you read? If you read simply for the purposes of getting instruction or for pleasure then you will not be much bothered by whether your reading is done on an electrical device or on paper. Most of us have several other reasons for indulging in (or for subjecting ourselves) to reading thoughr. 

If you are reading this I can assume that you know what a book is, so I will not dwell on that :) What is an e-book though? It is simply an electronic device that lets you read ‘soft’ copies of printed material or just electronic text. 

A lot can be said about real paper books. Almost all of the people I spoke with favoured real books because they ‘liked to feel the pages’ or ‘the smell of a new (or old) book is priceless’ etc. An e-book cannot provide any of these sensory pleasures. The fact that e-books can't provide a visual appeal means that you can't physically touch the cover, the paper or get its smell of antiquity. In my opinion that's the biggest disadvantage of an e-book. 

Getting a physical book is also comparatively cheaper than getting an e-book. E-book readers like Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and tablets like Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy Tab have middle-range prices ranging from $189 for the Kindle3 to $199 for the Nook. Other high-end readers include the Sony Reader Daily Edition($299), the Kindle DX ($379)and the 16GB iPad at around $499. You may get a physical book free at some sites called libraries or for around $7 on Amazon. I have gotten popular paperbacks for less in bookstores though. 

One other major advantage that real books have is copyright protection. People can easily share electronic or digital copies of books even though they are forbidden from doing so. Sharing is more restricted with paper based books. The digital versions are more likely to get illegally copied, there are zillions of illegal downloads currently on the internet, in fact that's one of the reasons why some writers such as J.K. Rowling refuse to have electronic versions of their books online. The truth about e-books is you did not actually buy it; you bought a license to read it. 

Amazon's contract says you "may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content" for personal use. But then it goes further and specifies restrictions, saying you "agree that you will not redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, modify, adapt, edit, sub-license or otherwise transfer or use the Digital Content.". Sigh. 

But E-book readers are very cool. They don't take up as much space and the fonts are usually much easier on the eyes. You can even adjust the font type or size and lightning in order to make your reading more engaging. 

Another great thing about them that no one maybe pays a lot of attention is that you can read them in the night without your light on exactly because of this sophisticated lightning system.. 

The convenience of being able to carry over 50 books everywhere you go is amazing. There is nothing worse than having only one book on a long bus trip and finding out that you don't like it. With the e-book reader, you just go to one of the remaining 49 and once you are done…next one please! 

A lot of other options help make the e-book reader a fantastic choice: they are environmentally friendlier. A reader will typically last up to one month on a single charge. The issue of page turning is simpler too; just press a button with a finger or swipe across the screen. 

The advantage of having illustrations in e-books makes digital versions even more attractive than the physical ones. Imagine a cookbook with a picture of every dish and ingredients. The cost would be huge for a physical book but its quite easy with a digital version. How about having multi-media textbooks? With more illustrations and diagrams, animations and web-links for more information, studying physics just got more interesting. 

E-books are amazing, and yes, they will probably become a more dominant reading platform over time, but consider this about a book: It has a terrific, high-resolution display. It is pretty durable; you could get it a little wet and all would not be lost. It has tremendous battery life. It is often inexpensive enough that, if you misplaced it, you would not be too upset. Plus, you can smell it! 

Allow me to borrow from The Future Book: "in a world where the only constant is change, a printed book is a frozen memory of a moment in time. It holds our thoughts, plans, ideas, and fears from a time that has passed and helps us remember how things once were. A book is something we will dust off one day, browse and remember the “good old days.” 

What do you think? What would you prefer - eBook or the real Book?

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Jatin Kataria

Jatin Kataria | Action team | CF Chapters

last para is absolutely correct & tellling my feeling as well... I prefer both.. for Articles, news updates, magazines I prefer E content but as far books are concern I generally prefer printed version (so i can open it any time..

still i always enjoy reading E books & E articles.. :) ---

19th May, 2011 @ 8:33 AM CEST

Chinmay Pendharkar

Chinmay Pendharkar

The environmental factor is pretty critical. Not only do physical books use paper, but also ink, which is polluting in many instances.

Furthermore, how many times does one actually read a specific paper. Most often once, maybe twice for a certain dozen of books, but very rarely more than that. And averaging across the population, it's really insignificant. But there is a significant marginal environmental cost to each physical book. With eBooks, the marginal environmental cost is almost none. Bits are just that..bits..

Finally, what needs to be looked at is the library model of physical book sharing. That really helps to reduce the environmental impact of using physical books, and yet makes so many books available.

In any case, eBook are here to stay and they will become the de facto standard in the future, possibly offsetting physical books just like email did to snail mail..

19th May, 2011 @ 8:59 AM CEST

Sayanee Basu

Sayanee Basu | Action team | CF Chapters

I have to comment on this one. I'm a big eBook favourite! Why? I jave 5 good reasons!
(1) Environmentally friendly
(2) takes up waaaay lesser space
(3) searchable text and books
(4) Portable
(5) I can read it with multiple copies in pdf/mobi or epub in my laptop of Kindle!

The only time I would buy a physical book is for coffee table display, for artistic value e.g. a good book of photographs etc. E.g. WIRED magazine!

Yes, there are values of both physical and eBooks, but when it comes to pure knowledge consumption and reading, I would choose eBooks, while for visual appreciation and display I would choose a physical book. In terms of number, my digital book collection, hence far out numbers the physical ones!

19th May, 2011 @ 1:08 PM CEST

Jovana Djurkovic

Jovana Djurkovic | Action team | CF Chapters

It all depends. I prefer real books when I study for my exams :) but e-content is better for updates, as Jatin alredy said.

20th May, 2011 @ 9:32 PM CEST

Denis Kotov

Denis Kotov | Action team

e-book for me! even though i don't own one ;] however I find ebooks not only environmentally-friendly and portable but cheaper. I mean ordering physical books from e-shops such as amazon are way too expensive at least here in my country because delivering expenses cost the same as the book and books that i want are not available at local physical stores, that's the end of the story folks...

21st May, 2011 @ 11:32 AM CEST



e-books are easily found and you have alot of varities on the topic you want.

21st May, 2011 @ 10:07 PM CEST

Kayode Nubi

Kayode Nubi | Action team | CF Chapters

Wow. Interesting read. I don't want to RT points already made. In my opinion, I think the REAL BOOK is what I need now. I'd believe I'm talking for most Africans or world youths too. This is because it's AFFORDABLE and AVAILABLE. unlike the E-BOOK. Perhaps, in the future when I have enough resources, I can then invest in getting an e-book which actually houses thousands of books.

23rd May, 2011 @ 12:12 AM CEST

Sayanee Basu

Sayanee Basu | Action team | CF Chapters

@Nubi: Yes, I agree physical books have its place in the world definitely! Heard of the world reader program? - an awesome effort to make eBooks both affordable and available.

24th May, 2011 @ 4:55 AM CEST

Adedayo Adeyanju

Adedayo Adeyanju | Action team

Interesting conversation here. I am glad the topic is generating some interest.
@Jatin- i like that you're so old-school, there are only a few of us left here i think. :)

@Chinmay- I agree that if ebooks get to be cheaper and more available especially in developing countries, they will soon become quite dominant. The environmental factor is a very vital one and one that will play a major role in ensuring that fewer physical books are printed.

@Sayanee- Lol. Yes, seeing limited editions of books on your shelf or bedside table does have a certain "high" to it. I never heard of the world reader program before, good work!

@Kedei- Variety, variety, variety is the spice of life!


26th May, 2011 @ 11:38 AM CEST

Adedayo Adeyanju

Adedayo Adeyanju | Action team

@Nubi- well said.

26th May, 2011 @ 11:39 AM CEST

Lyuba Guerassimova

Lyuba Guerassimova

now what I do agree with is that e-books will be getting more an dmore popular for educational purposes in the "developing" world (sorry, i just don't like the word)
1. Someone mentioned newspapers - we talk about books, though. We may read a paper once (well, actually i get my news online because newspapers basically suck and i cannot find objective info easily). But books, they are passed down onto generations! I.e. quite environmentally friendly... Let's think a little about the carbon footprint of e-book readers and compare it to books. Let's think where exactly the resource come from to make the readers (think of coltan in the Congo conflict), let's think how long they last before we throw them out (well, whoever can afford them in first place), let's think what happens to the trash - still believe they're environmentally mroe friendly?
2. Honestly, my eyes are quite sensitive and hurt or sting after reading 1-2 long electronic articles...I realy prefer having healthy eyes to being able to carry 50 books in one reader - let's face it, huge textbooks and many other less popular books won't be available as e-books anytime soon...
3. It's really bad to fall asleep with an e-book reader under your pillow; when you carry it around you always have to watch out so it does not break; you often have to worry whether someone would decide to steal it...
Honestly, really not worth the trouble... But it's your choice, I'm just providing a different perspective :)

1st July, 2011 @ 12:40 AM CEST

Peter Hudson

Peter Hudson

What about both? What if owning the physical copy offered you the option to purchase at a discount (or claim for free) an e-copy? There's a company (full disclosure: my company), called <a href="http://www.eyourboo">eYourBooks< /a> that would allow you to purchase a heavily discounted (or free) eBook version of a real book you own by using a smartphone App to validate the physical book.

9th March, 2013 @ 1:16 AM CEST

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