Although I couldn’t manage without my practical ereader (Kindle Keyboard 3G) and downloaded ebooks, I still love physical books. The cover, the colour, the weight, flicking the pages and smelling the paper – mmm! See a pile of books and I’m instantly lost.
Apart from the sensory feel of a book, all the elements are there in the order you expect; the cover, title page, perhaps with an intriguing or intricate graphic, a little piece about the author, some background to the book which sets the tone. Then off you go to turn the first page.
With an ebook, I’m abruptly into the story, which is good in one way, but I often find myself clicking back and looking first at the cover image, the dramatis personae, any notes before starting, but that’s me. However, for sheer practicality and the ability to instantly access reasonably priced stories anywhere in the world wherever you can get connected, the ereader is unparalleled.
From a commercial point of view, a paperback is a useful marketing tool even though it is more expensive to produce. Many competitions and book reviewers specify paperback only. And a physical book can be taken to book fairs and put into book professionals’ hands.
But something I’ve noticed when offering INCEPTIO or PERFIDITAS as a prize in competition, is that unless I’ve specified the prize is ebook only, winners always opt for the paperback in preference to the ebook. Readers have told me they connect better with the story when holding a physical book. And I do sell quite a lot of signed copies, at book events, fairs, fetes, lunches, on the airplane or in a café.
And let’s not forget, books on shelves are beautiful things.