There’s only one way to find out: FIGHT!*


Last year, Wave did a mini-poll about print vs ebooks and the results are here:

So, a eleven months on, and I’m interested to see how things have changed.

I don’t think my opinions have changed all that much. I’m not a fan of ebooks for a couple of personal reasons.

  1. As a writer, I lose hundreds and hundreds of dollars in royalties from piracy. (Which is a post in itself and not something I want to go into further here)
  2. As a reader, I don’t have – nor can I afford – an ereader, and the type I’ll need (shockproof, waterproof) won’t be available for a good while yet.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against ebooks.  I totally “get” the convenience of ebooks. I do. And for those of you who love them, good on you! (As long as you are legitimately buying your books of course)

When I went on my round the globe world trip, I would have loved such a device, because I had to take Lord of the Rings with me, and that was the only book I had with me for months. If I’d had an ereader, not only could I have taken 100s of books with me, but I could have added new ones as I went. So I’m not dissing the convenience of them, believe me. I’m just an old fogy. I freely admit it. I – and many of my peer group and age group – feel the same, we LIKE paper. I like the feel of a book in my hands, the smell – everything. There’s something almost ritualistic about a new book – a new release – specially if it’s a book that’s the first of a series by an author I haven’t read. And getting George RR Martin’s newest, or Jim Butcher’s or Terry Pratchett’s or Charlie Cochrane’s – well, it makes me giddy.

I would use an ereader if I had one. One of these days I will get one, when they are a LOT lot cheaper (I’m talking £20 here.) It will happen – once upon a time (not so long ago) a DVD player was £300 – now you can get them for £20 or even less brand new. So – it will happen with ereaders, and then I’ll get one – with the amount of reading I have to do for Speak Its Name and Jessewave’s Reviews – I need one – I HATE reading at the PC. So I’m not “anti” the technology, not at all, it’s just for the two reasons above that I prefer paper.

Talking of copyright protection – can someone explain in simple terms that this bear of little brain can comprehend – what is so EVIL about D.R.M? I see so many bloggers saying how evil it is, but I must have missed the memo as to WHY it’s evil.


Here – for your AMUSEMENT (and not to enable you to throw cabbages at me) is my list of Why I Prefer Paper Books.

A paper book doesn’t need installing or converting or downloading
A paper book -read in public–is its own advertisement
A paper book doesn’t require you to be a tekkie to understand how it works
A paper book can be given to your elderly aunt without you having to explain it 100 times-she’ll be able to use it without you having to go around every time she needs to read it.
A paper book doesn’t get corrupted
A paper book doesn’t cut out on you or crash in the middle of a storm.
A paper book doesn’t become unreadable if you drop it in the bath or onto the pavement.
A paper book can still be read in candlelight when there’s a powercut.
A paper book will not break or damage you if you fall asleep in bed when reading it. It will still work when you wake up in the morning, because its batteries won’t have failed.
A paper book can be borrowed at a library for no charge
A paper book can’t be destroyed by a virus
A paper book’s ambient light won’t damage your eyes.
A paper book can easily be read in broad sunlight
A paper book produces no radiation
A paper book can be read in large print without the words scrolling off the page
A paper book won’t get you mugged (unless you are very silly about a rare first edition)
A paper book’s illustrations don’t take up loads of memory
A paper book won’t jam and refuse to scroll just when you get to a juicy bit.
A paper book won’t cost you £100 for a new one if you spill your wine on it it
A paper book won’t have Amazon turning up on the doorstep and demanding it BACK.
A paper book is more portable than a laptop
A paper book is cheaper than a reader or a laptop.
A paper book smells and feels nice.
A paper book has pages.
A paper book can be passed on to a friend or a charity without breaking the law.
A paper book can be given to a library.
A paper book can be used as emergency toilet paper, firelighters, fuel. (only recommended for Twilight and Deathly Hallows.)
A paper book can be used as a cupstand.
A paper book won’t run up your electricity bill.
A paper book can level up an uneven table.
A paper book can read without having to pay your cable company
A paper book is pretty and looks nice on shelves. It’s a decoration in itself.
A paper book isn’t destroyed by dust and spiders.
A paper book can be used to practice deportment
A paper book can be utilised when you are a published author with lots of books, you can line your books up behind you for publicity shots and interviews
A paper book can be autographed.
A paper book is replaceable individually. When you lose a book. it’s just one book. lose an ereader and lose 10000 books.
A paper book is covered by household insurance.
A paper book is fun to read together in bed.
A paper book can be a source of prestige – huge glossy hardback “coffee table” books to show off to your friends.
and finally…

A paper book can be thrown at a cat.

I know – I’m a troglodyte.  I YEARN for the kind of money where I can have a house with a library.  With books from floor to ceiling.  And even then I’d have to have books in every other room in the house too.

I’ve asked Wave to put a new poll up about ebooks and print books and we’ll compare the figures after a week and see how they stack up against last year.

So, now I’ve made a complete caveman twit of myself – what’s your views?  Have you converted entirely to ebooks?  What do you see as the next innovation?  What happens if the format starts changing as rapidly as it does for games and digital music?  Will you be prepared to KEEP buying that copy of Bareback in every new format?  Do you like paper over digital? or Vice Versa? Or do you maintain a mix?

This isn’t about ONE being better than the OTHER – just seeing how people are moving with the times. There’s no wrong answers here.

Once again – thanks for listening to me burble on. Sorry I missed last week but I was very very unwell.

*You’ll not get this reference.


  • “what is so EVIL about D.R.M?”

    1) As you yourself point out, “What happens if the format starts changing as rapidly as it does for games and digital music?” Twenty years from now, we aren’t going to be using the same e-readers. Without DRM, one can change an e-book one owns into the next generation’s technology format. With DRM, one can’t do that.

    2) ePub e-books with DRM are usually tied in with Adobe Digital Editions. I hate Adobe Digital Editions, not only because it doesn’t do the sorts of things I want an e-reader to do, but also because it doesn’t allow me to choose my own typeface. I’m partially sighted, so this is a big, big issue for me.

    3) From a purely ethical stance, I object to a publisher telling me that I can only read an e-book on the devices that the publisher considers proper. If I buy an e-book, I want to be able to read it in whatever fashion I want. If I can’t do this, then I don’t truly own the e-book.

    4) As various people have pointed out, DRM doesn’t stop piracy, because it can be cracked. And if there’s a print version available of the book, piracy is even easier; I could scan, OCR, and post online a print book in one hour flat. DRM simply stops honest readers from buying e-books, because they hate having to jump through hoops that they wouldn’t have to jump through if they bought a print book.

    If publishers are absolutely wedded to this useless method of combating piracy, I suggest they switch to social DRM.

    To answer your original question, I like both e-books and print books. I’m partially sighted, so it’s easier for me to read electronic text, but I continue to buy print books from my favorite authors.

  • I currently live in a country where customs had someone use a black marker to color in her wedding pics because she had a sleeveless wedding gown and her shoulders and cleavage was visible. When I was moving I had to cover most of my books with brown paper to hide any ‘pornographic’ pics, i.e. any skin showing. Bringing porn or religious(bible) or political material is punishable by death by beheading.
    So ebooks have been my savior. It’s the only way I can read esp m/m books. If my kindle was discovered I would probably be thrown out of the country. I am sure even in other countries that ebooks are the only way some pple can read banned material by the govt.


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Erastes is an author of gay historical fiction. Her novels cover many time periods and locations. She lives in Norfolk UK with demanding cats and never seems to have enough time to serve them.
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