Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Today is Writer's Wednesday here at my blog(s), and finally it's April! I had quite a crazy March, so I'm glad to be in the springy-est month (not a word, I know) of the year. It's also Camp NaNoWriMo, which has me even more excited; I love participating in any NaNo that is thrown at me.
Please check out the Crimson blog for some exciting news, and the Wednesday blog post! I've added a page to my other website, also a blog, where you can see updates on one of my most exciting Crimson projects -- a Peter Pan story! I'm working on it for Camp, so please stop by, or you can follow my progress on Twitter or Tumblr, if you'd like.
Also, today's Crimson post is: "Working With Your Limitations".
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I have been debating on what exactly to put in this post for a few weeks, ever since I decided that I wanted to write it. It's still a bit controversial of a topic -- books versus e-books (is there a difference? Read my "How Do We View E-Books? Readers Versus Authors" post), which is better, and all that, but that's not truly what this post is about.
I'll say this up front: I don't hate e-books; I'm sure I've said it before. I don't like them nearly as much as paper books, and I hate that authors are expected to charge practically nothing for them, but I don't hate e-books themselves. They are good for a lot of people -- my brother included, who needs larger print (and we all know how expensive large-print hardcovers are). But, paper is still important, and I don't think (hope) it's going anywhere.
Why is print "important", rather than "traditional", or "more enjoyable", or any other set of words? Well, not only does it mean something to a lot of people, but it is also better, like e-books, for some people, myself included.
How is this so? I imagine it's not hard to wonder why print is important to some (quiet a few) people. It's in many ways easier to manage, it never goes anywhere, you can smell the pages, the ink, the nostalgia. Print books can be written in or highlighted (I know e-books can, too, but you have to admit it's much uglier looking, and not as personal as hand-done highlighting, where you might miss words, or not have straight lines, or accidentally highlight something and then realize its importance), and a used book at a store can already have writing in it, and that is something to be cherished -- because a book with writing in it was usually loved, and was a big part of someone else's life. Print is more romantic than text on a screen, and a bit more can be done with it -- fonts, pictures, cover detailing, and other little extras that e-books simply don't and can't have. E-books are rather plain, like the documents writers use to write their stories, unembellished.
Growing up, we only had print books; e-books have not been around that long, not when compared to print. All of my life, I wanted to be an author, and I wanted to hold that shining, brand-new copy of my book -- not someone else's -- in my hand. And I can honestly say that while finishing up an e-book is an accomplishment, and makes me happy, it's not nearly the same as getting a paper copy; as I said, an e-book is little more than the Word file, or Scrivener file, I used to write the book in, hardly personal or extraordinary. I hope that print never goes away, because it would be like losing a part of myself as an author, and I hate to think that years from now, new authors might never know the joy of actually holding their books in their hand -- not on a screen that does a million other things, but in book form, in a form that houses their story and their story only, that makes them seem infinitely important.
But aside from that, let's look at the "importance" of the paper books. I said above that they are better for some people, and I stand by that. I can't pretend to know how anyone else reads, unless I ask them, but I know how I read. Due to various medical issues, it is hard for me to look at a screen for a long period of time -- to edit this post through more than once, even; I print pages out to edit them, and don't look at the screen much while writing. I have to take regular breaks from the computer, though some devices are better to look at than others; the doctor told me this would happen. So, reading an e-book is difficult, because it takes a long while to get through chapters, with me reading a bit, then going away, then reading a bit, then going away; even those ink screens don't seem to help too much. Not to mention that some e-books aren't justified text, which throws me off even more. So long as your text aligns at the left, where your eye finishes "reading" that line on the page, I am fine -- if it's not aligned, with words in zig-zag formation along the left, then it's hard to read, and to comprehend as well; I suppose my mind is so used to the text aligning that it thinks if it's not aligned, it's a new paragraph.
Now again, not everyone reads like me, and not everyone is going to have these issues -- but someone else does; I can't be the only one. Just as others need audiobooks, or simply prefer audiobooks, I need paper books. I am glad to see that audiobooks are growing, and that more Indie authors are creating them especially (I'm working on that), but we need to accommodate the people who need print, too. It's terrifying to think that if print goes away, I really won't be able to enjoy a book anymore, at least not nearly as much.
I'm big on including those with disabilities, because I have them -- that means in writing, and in the ways that we read. Not everyone is the same, we all have different likes, dislikes, and different limitations, and I think we should all be considered. I look forward to a future where print books, audiobooks, e-books, and maybe even some new type of book can work together and co-exist.
What type of book do you prefer, and why?