Books are getting more expensive by the day. Which raises the question of whether to buy a paperback or an e-book. Personally, I’d rather want you to buy my e-books. Here’s why:

As an avid reader – and an author – nothing beats the feel of a book in your hands. The crisp paper, the smell, the accompanying glass of wine or cup of coffee, all add to the reading experience. It feels right to get a book open and bite into a chapter. More than that, I also want our kids to see us reading physical books, treating them with care, experiencing the joy it gave us, and subsequently passing them on to someone else once read.

However, there are some things to consider when shopping for your next book.

Enter the digital age

Cellular phones, crypto blockchains and artificial intelligence all add to the overwhelming effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s clear we’ve entered a technological era that has changed life as we know it. If your children or grandchildren haven’t brought this reality to your household, then you are in for a surprise. Digital assets are stored on clouds, while entertainment can be streamed at a moment’s notice. The same can be said of books.

E-books can be downloaded and read on just about any device, whether Kindle, Apple, Android or generic e-reader. This means you can read books while waiting at a paypoint or bank queue. A reluctance to buy a digital book because you want to have the real thing, is simply robbing yourself of the enjoyment of reading it right away.

The problem of royalties

For those who think they are supporting authors by buying a pricier paperback, think again. Even where indie authors print novels themselves, the process is often time-consuming (lay-out changes, cover designs, etc.) and labour intensive (selling paperbacks from stalls, on social medias, etc). Profits are also determined by quantities, packaging and courier costs of signed copies. If you strip it down to the bone,regardless whether paperback or e-book, there is little variance in author royalties.

Reviews, rankings, algorithms, etc.

Authors had to come to terms with these terms. Because reviews and the number of sales can affect your rank or placement on a best seller list, it’s become important for authors to embrace the complexities surrounding statistical information and other tracking data. Print publishing slows down the reporting process, which slows down reporting, as well as the reviewing process. E-books are near-instantaneous. A reader could download your book before heading off on a holiday and review it before returning home.

Forest for the trees

I hate to be the one to point this out, but e-books are also an environment-friendly alternative. Traditional print publications not only has numerous elements to consider (such as printing, binding, delivering, etc), but it is also a strain on mother nature in the long run. Think about all those delivery trucks delivering books, Sure, a couple thousand books won’t make much of a difference, but a million certainly will. It is therefore important to at least have some books available in digital form.

In conclusion

Authors do not mind which version you buy. They just want the support and, if possible, the feedback or review of their writing. There are platforms like Books2Read, which creates an online store where you can list all your e-books. For instance if you go to my books page and click on purchase now, you will see an e-store that will take you to the Kobo, Nook, Apple or Kindle version of the particular book.

So, next time you want to support an author or want to try a new genre, consider getting the e-book version first.

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