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Bulletin Board > Is Paperback A Dying Breed?

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message 1: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2163 comments It seems like an odd thing to think of but are paperback books dying out? With ebook and kindle versions becoming not only popular but the essential new standard it's only a wonder as to what this does for the paperback. Personally I don't think a book is truly a book without being made into a paperback, I mean I get that it still qualifies but I mean where's the satisfaction in just making an ebook? You want to be able to hold your book in your hands, to enjoy it as its in front of you and smell that fresh book smell(given its new of course because old ones tend to smell dusty). So whats everyones take? Do you think paperbacks are slowing becoming extinct or will always have a place in our world?


message 2: by Arabella (new)

Arabella Thorne (arabella_thornejunocom) | 354 comments They'll have a place in our world (At least in mine--I'm 61! so I don't see them disappearing before I shuffle off)But I suspect the expenditure of printing and advertising and distribution---and WHERE will they be distributed will contribute to their demise. I too love to hold a book--though I have plenty on my IPad's Kindle app.
I find the light from the tablet bothers my eyes if I read for more than an hour or so. And if you are laying in bed, the screen flips if you move and that drives me crazy. But digital is the way its going. People slowly slowly gave up their typewriters, electric or not to bow before the computer.
Books, in time will only be collector's items, antiquarians book sellers wet dreams and bragging rights for the very rare.


message 3: by G.G. (last edited Nov 15, 2013 07:36PM) (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 491 comments I have to agree that a book is not a book if you can't hold it, smell it (even the moldy ones smell good! They bring back memories.) I'll do whatever I can to get my book on Createspace, even if I'm the only one who buys one! I NEED IT!

I'm hoping that instead of disappearing entirely, they will be more of print on demand. I think it's a good compromise to give at least the option to have the paper version.

Opposite of Arabella, I have problems reading physical books in bed, I need more lights and the way the bed is, I get the light in my face instead of on the page.
With Ipad, I lock the screen so it doesn't flip and I don't need any light to read so I love it.


The problem with ebook is that I don't feel I own anything when I buy one. That's why I can't push myself to pay more than 2.99 for one as I don't have any problems paying even 25$ for a physical one if I really want it.


message 4: by Arabella (new)

Arabella Thorne (arabella_thornejunocom) | 354 comments Okay....she says sheepishly...didn't know I could lock the screen...
But that being said. I DO agree with you. When I buy something electronic--I don't feel I own anything, either. I have published a novel (The Elf Lord's Revenge) and a novella (I Swear My Roommate Is a Vampire).....and holding them in my hand in print is very satisfying
Buying something electronic is well, like looking at email or PDF instructions, or a blog or...anything else electronic out there.

It isn't tangible/an object to be held except for the device you read it on.


message 5: by Humberto (new)

Humberto Contreras | 66 comments Paper books will be mostly obsolete when 'paper-screens' become a reality. A paper screen is paper with flexible display embedded.


message 6: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Finnish | 66 comments Honestly, I think a LOT has to do with the genre. You'll probably get a different answer depending on the favorite genre of the reader. Personally, I read ebooks--but I also like to have a paper copy. I treat ebooks as a mass-paper edition. It's cheap, I just want a quick read that I'll probably shelve and never see again, and/or it's the easy-to-carry format but I have the "nice" copy on my bookshelf.


message 7: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 144 comments Paperback will not go away. Like a lot of folks, the physical book feels more real and, honestly, is easier to use with certain books -- especially reference books or books like mine that use bibliographies and appendices.

Right now digital has technical issues with trying to read straight through while also flipping to another book section to look at a footnote/end note, glossary entry, or just remind yourself of something you read a few pages back.

Digital works best for books where you start on page one and keep going straight through to the final page and books with very simple, standard formatting. Right now at least, they don't really accommodate any sort of referencing tools. As an amateur historian, that drives me crazy because it divorces citations (essential in non fiction) from the text. A paperback, however, I can just look at that superscript numeral and quickly get to citations and other useful information.


message 8: by Arabella (new)

Arabella Thorne (arabella_thornejunocom) | 354 comments Laurel....that's a really good point and one I hadn't thought of since I have read next to no non fiction on my tablet. The ability to flip back and forth. Exactly. Now there's a glitch that needs to be smoothed out.
( and people wonder why I still hang on to my Encyclopedia Britannica!)


message 9: by Robert (new)

Robert Evert As a reader and author, I prefer paperbacks as well. Still, as somebody who wants more new writers to be able to get published...I think e-books are terrific. And they're certainly cheaper to produce! And then there's the environmental factor.

But I do love the feel of a book in my hands.


message 10: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (sherrithewriter) | 143 comments No, I think they'll always be around. I think it's more likely that hardbacks will be more rare, and have a greater chance of extinction as a result of the rise of ebooks. But I think paperbacks will remain.


message 11: by Angel (new)

Angel Gelique (angelgelique) | 35 comments It's true, there's just something about a physical book that's simply euphoric. Being in a book store is sheer bliss. Yet, I have to admit that I absolutely love eBooks. I use the Kindle app on my iPad and I have literally thousands of books at my disposal. They go where I go and I can easily switch between books (I usually read 3-4 at a time). Also, I love the fact that I can highlight, take notes and even find key words and information quickly with Kindle. I would never dream of writing in a book (except textbooks) so I think that's a great eBook feature that is not an option (at least for me) with paperback books. It's also easy to bookmark pages with eBooks. Moreover, when I open an eBook I've already started, it automatically resumes on the exact page where I left off no matter how long it's been since I last read from the book. So eBooks/e-readers definitely offer some advantages over paperbacks, but the world would be a miserable place without them....


message 12: by Robert (new)

Robert Evert Maybe the answer is for Amazon and Apple to develop an electronic reader that feels just like a real book. I'd buy one of those!:)


message 13: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 144 comments Robert wrote: "Maybe the answer is for Amazon and Apple to develop an electronic reader that feels just like a real book. I'd buy one of those!:)"

In order for Amazon to do that, they would have to completely re work how they format ebooks. My paperback editions are MUCH more accurate renderings of my books. In paperback, you can readily and without ANY PROBLEMS use words from multiple languages and from multiple character types. When I publish digitally, my text gets MANGLED because they can only encode to ONE LANGUAGE for the entire document and using just ONE nationality profile. That means if your text mixes French, UK, American, and Chinese words/characters/symbols, the file converters from Word to epub/mobi/etc spews out gobblty gook! You also cannot insert IMAGES among the text without creating serious headaches for yourself.

In my paperback editions, I can do all of these without any problems -- and do. Of course I wish print on demand would offer the ability to print a regular black/white book with the OCCASIONAL color page (think all those wonderful color plates that used to appear in some paperbacks 30 years ago -- especially for movie or TV novelizations) instead of all/none for color.

That caveat not withstanding though, my paperbacks look MUCH BETTER and READ EASIER than the digital versions!


message 14: by Robert (new)

Robert Evert Laurel wrote: "Robert wrote: "Maybe the answer is for Amazon and Apple to develop an electronic reader that feels just like a real book. I'd buy one of those!:)"

In order for Amazon to do that, they would have ..."


Actually what I was suggesting was to have the e-reader screen in a "fake" paperback book. Imagine taking a book, cutting out a rectangle inside and placing the Kindle/Nook in the hole.

You can still hold a book, but be reading an e-book.

But of course, I'm mostly kidding. I'm just a special education teacher (by day). I don't know a thing about technology.


message 15: by Philip (new)

Philip Dodd (philipdodd) | 65 comments There is an advertisement, currently showing on I.T.V on our television sets, here in England, advertising the Kindle. It includes the voices of children talking about their love of reading books, which is very good, but it shows them holding in their hands a small, thin, narrow, grey slab, a Kindle, not a book. So it looks to me as if they are not talking about books at all. I love books, not just what is printed on their pages, but also their different sizes, weights and cover designs. Even if I could afford one, I would never buy a Kindle. E books are not books as far as I am concerned. Some of the books in my collection I have owned since I was a teenager. They are friends, like the records in my record collection. I could never feel attached to a Kindle. It is an object as cold as a can opener or a kettle. My own book now sits among a row of other books on my desk before me. It was a great pleasure to me to give paperback copies of my book to members of my family and to those who had won a copy as a Goodreads giveaway. If I had published it as an E book, I would have nothing physically to show for it. None of my family have a Kindle. They all prefer real books to E books. So none of them would be able to read my book, if I had published it as an E book. It was comforting to hear a publishing expert not so long ago say on television that he was sure that physical books and E books would survive side by side together into the future. If I only read books on a Kindle, there would be no collection of books in my room, to reveal my love of literature. There would just be a small, thin, narrow, grey slab of cold metal on my desk, and my room would be as impersonal as a hotel room. One thing does not have to make another obsolete. Things can exist together. Books existed long before Kindles and I think they will continue to thrive alongside them.


message 16: by L.F. (new)

L.F. Falconer | 92 comments I, personally, hope paper books never entirely disappear. I see the convenience an e-reader can provide, but nothing will ever replace an "actual" book in the hand. There are places I go where I cannot take my e-reader, but I can take a paper book because it has no electronics. I do enjoy more books because of my e-reader due to the quick downloading of inexpensive or free books, but if I truly fall in love with one of these e-books, I will turn around and buy a paper copy (if one is available. Sadly, too many are not). E-readers have their place, but so do paper books. We'll probably see less paper books being printed in the future, but I don't think they will vanish from existence.


message 17: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 144 comments There's also another issue of ACCESSIBILITY. Granted, I am sensitive to this because I'm low vision and need large print books (braille is very difficult to learn if you have never tried it as I have). So I hope I'm informing everyone on this issue.

Ereaders can increase font sizes, but they are essentially constrained to black/white. Right now you cannot change the text to whatever you see best. Attempts to petition Amazon and other ereader manufacturers remain ignored. Obviously to them, books are just for CERTAIN PEOPLE.

I hope that angers most of you because I do not like being told that since I lost most of my sight to a distracted driver I'm somehow less than fully human or less than worthy of reading what interests me.

Paperback books do not have nearly the accessibility issues that digital books. That is because they've been at the heart of thousands of adaptive technologies for DECADES.

Thanks to my area agency for the blind, I have a camera magnifier I can use on any physically printed media which I can set to the magnification, color combination, and other details optimized for my particular type of sight loss. And it's one of an incredible array of devices a blind or low vision person can use according to whatever works for the individual situation.


So yes, I'm a fan of paperback.

To learn more about ten of the biggest myths about sight loss, please consult
http://voices.yahoo.com/ten-myths-bli...


message 18: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Finnish | 66 comments Laurel wrote: "When I publish digitally, my text gets MANGLED because they can only encode to ONE LANGUAGE for the entire document and using just ONE nationality profile ..."

This sounds like you are doing it the "quick and dirty" way. I use not only images and non-English words in my books, but also tables, and I have no problem with the formatting for the various ereaders. Perhaps try using Dreamweaver (or having someone else who knows it do it for you), not some conversion from Word.


message 19: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 144 comments V.K. wrote: "Laurel wrote: "When I publish digitally, my text gets MANGLED because they can only encode to ONE LANGUAGE for the entire document and using just ONE nationality profile ..."

This sounds like you ..."


I don't have issues with my foreign language characters when I use kindle direct publishing. But kdp only publishes to the kindle store. I use SmashWords for everything else -- and therefore have to make all aforementioned modifications since Smashwords uses its meat grinder.

As for Dreamweaver, I'm pretty good with Photoshop, but I find Dreamweaver very user unfriendly; not a software readily learned by tinkering -- and yes I've tried.

Never heard of it being used for epub files and not sure I would ever want to either. There are much easier ways to digitally publish.

And remember: even using dreamweaver won't overcome the accessibility issues with the devices themselves or with a lot of the software out there.


message 20: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2163 comments Seems everyones in agreement that a physical copy of a book is better than an ecopy. I think ecopies are a good secondary to actual books however it really all depends on the individual.


message 21: by Mark (new)

Mark Alan Trimeloni (markalantrimeloni) | 18 comments Justin wrote: "It seems like an odd thing to think of but are paperback books dying out? With ebook and kindle versions becoming not only popular but the essential new standard it's only a wonder as to what this ..."

Paperbacks or books on paper in general will never die out. I still love the feel of paper in my hands, especially the used books that have been flipped through by multiple readers. Feels like you're holding a bit of history.--mark :)


message 22: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 1 comments I agree, I am so annoyed with all these kids walking around with kindles! You miss out on the expireance when you read on those!


message 23: by Jay (new)

Jay Rivera-Pérez (jrivera-perez) | 21 comments I agree with the majority here. I like the smell of a physical book. There's also the fact that a book can fall and not be as catastrophic as dropping an eReader.

I think that Amazon's onto something with the Matchbook program. While I think that making the eBook free diminishes the value of its sale price, it's a very helpful program for those who would pay more for a printed book, but still want the flexibility of carrying it around with them on an eReader. An author can opt into the program and supply their readers with a very reasonable alternative to the 'either eBook/or Paperback' dilemma.


message 24: by Mark (new)

Mark Alan Trimeloni (markalantrimeloni) | 18 comments J. wrote: "I agree with the majority here. I like the smell of a physical book. There's also the fact that a book can fall and not be as catastrophic as dropping an eReader.

I think that Amazon's onto someth..."


I joined that program and I think it's a step in the right direction. Although, on Amazon I still sell more e-books than paper.--mark :)


message 25: by Jay (last edited Nov 16, 2013 09:22PM) (new)

Jay Rivera-Pérez (jrivera-perez) | 21 comments Mark wrote: "I joined that program and I think it's a step in the right direction. Although, on Amazon I still sell more e-books than paper.--mark :)"

I have actually sold more paperback than ebook, but that's not saying much lol.


message 26: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 144 comments J. wrote: "Mark wrote: "I joined that program and I think it's a step in the right direction. Although, on Amazon I still sell more e-books than paper.--mark :)"

I have actually sold more paperback than eboo..."


J: glad to know I'm not the only one. I give away a lot of digital for R2R -- but when it comes to an actual paid sale, it's usually in paperback for me!


message 27: by Jay (new)

Jay Rivera-Pérez (jrivera-perez) | 21 comments Laurel wrote: "J. wrote: "Mark wrote: "I joined that program and I think it's a step in the right direction. Although, on Amazon I still sell more e-books than paper.--mark :)"

I have actually sold more paperbac..."


I like to tell people it's because I'm so anti-trend. LOL


message 28: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 144 comments J. wrote: "Laurel wrote: "J. wrote: "Mark wrote: "I joined that program and I think it's a step in the right direction. Although, on Amazon I still sell more e-books than paper.--mark :)"

I have actually sol..."


Digital has its limits. It cannot replace paperback. So are we really "anti trend" for recognizing that books are so much more than flickering screens? I don't think so.

All my books have glossaries to them. I also refuse to dummy down my word choices. There's an odd book that too many people keep forgetting exists. It's called a DICTIONARY. Don't know what a "yawp" is (like the spell check on GR which thinks this is not a word)? Look it up; you may actually learn something -- which used to be a cherished facet to reading.

Glossaries are readily consulted in paperback; not so readily in digital (assuming I can/should believe my reviewers).


message 29: by Lance (new)

Lance Charnes (lcharnes) | 326 comments Laurel wrote: "Glossaries are readily consulted in paperback; not so readily in digital..."

Actually, you can include a lookup capability in an e-book with a glossary. I just did one in my latest novel. It takes some coding to make it work, which is probably why you don't see it very often.


message 30: by Lance (last edited Nov 18, 2013 05:47AM) (new)

Lance Charnes (lcharnes) | 326 comments Laurel wrote: "When I publish digitally, my text gets MANGLED because they can only encode to ONE LANGUAGE for the entire document and using just ONE nationality profile. That means if your text mixes French, UK, American, and Chinese words/characters/symbols, the file converters from Word to epub/mobi/etc spews out gobblty gook!..."

Not so, at least for Western character sets. My current novel has a fair amount of Spanish in it, and it converted with the diacritical marks intact in both MOBI and ePub. My previous novel included French, Yiddish, and Romanized transliterations of Hebrew and Arabic, and did fine. HTML supports mixed character sets, but you'll probably need a very capable conversion system to code it correctly for MOBI or ePub.

Laurel wrote: "I use SmashWords for everything else -- and therefore have to make all aforementioned modifications since Smashwords uses its meat grinder..."

Therein lies your problem. Don't blame the e-book universe for your choice of tools. Use a real conversion system (even Calibre will do) and you won't have this problem.


message 31: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Nelson (andrewgnelson) | 10 comments For me, nothing beats the feel of a book in my hands. But I think that is a generational thing. This generation does not necessarily have the same affection that some of us older folks do. I think there will be a place for actual print books for the foreseeable future, but will it continue? My wife has a Kindle and I must say that there are huge pluses in terms of the volume it can hold and the overall access to media. I think if anything is going to save the print books it will be the POD option and not having to do runs in advance and be stuck with them.


message 32: by S. (new)

S. (sthomaskaza) I love paperbacks, and I love visiting used book stores. It's like having a little treasure hunt. But I also think they will publish fewer and fewer paperbacks until it shrinks down to a niche market. At some point everything will go digital. Libraries with books in them will probably become museums. And future generations will look back at us as quaint and technologically primitive.

Maybe they can come up with an app that will make our book readers smell like they just came off the printing press? Or for older, classic books, maybe they can give them a musty smell?


message 33: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2163 comments Imagine if instead of going to a bookstore to get a physical copy of a book one goes to a computer and plugs in an sd card and the book is downloaded? My god! That would truly be the end of paperbacks as we know it.. :O The horror!


message 34: by McKenzie (last edited Nov 30, 2013 10:14AM) (new)

McKenzie Devlin (MKDevlin) | 4 comments Hi, I'm semi-new on Goodreads. Felt compelled to add my two cents on paper vs. electronic. I keep thinking that paper books won't go away. The industry has changed for sure, but it's like comparing this situation to the radio. Everyone thought it would go away. No more radio stations, etc. People would flock to Sirius and iPods, etc. Yet radio is still going strong. I listen to local stations and a talk show every day. And now the media and other says that the PC and desktop computer is going away too. Yet, as a former web designer, I can't fathom this. I need my PC. Gone through tons of laptops and they don't replace my Pc at the end of the day. My kids and I have smart phones, tablets, tons of game consoles, etc. We get annoyed, irritated, frustrated, and crazy with all these electronic devices. As far as books go, no batteries are required, no firmware update, no cracked screens, no lost data. If anything I think e-versions actually cheapen books. Yet it doesn't matter what I think, I have to publish in e-format if I want to be noticed. I still prefer the smell, texture, the 'realness' of an actual book. And wasn't it predicted somewhere that electronic vehicles and green cars would replace all the 'bad' gasoline powered cars? I don't see that happening either. And that the mail service would fold up. We would all get our mail electronically? And greeting cards? Christmas cards? Colleges (everyone would visit a computer, not a campus?). E-books are just another option, not a take-over of the book industry. They are still in their infancy and so therefore, popular, a 'gotta have' device. How can a crazy electronic gadget be the demise for something that has weathered the test of time since the Middle Ages? After all, tablets used to be stone slabs.


message 35: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Peel (shannonpeel) | 34 comments I think some books make good ebooks because of the way they are written, whereas others are just better in print. For a while yet, at least, there is a market for physical books.


message 36: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Wheater (SharonWheater) | 15 comments I love having a book in my hand, I have the kindle app on my phone and tablet but tend to read books in my hand than on the screen.


message 37: by Gard (last edited Dec 01, 2013 06:07AM) (new)

Gard Skinner (gard_skinner) Was the discussion paper vs. digital, because I thought it was PAPERBACK vs. ____. And my take was I see a lot of SF now coming out only in trade paperback. Which makes it hard to place in libraries.

I won't ever know what it meant, but I opted for a publisher who guaranteed a hardcover over a much bigger one with no promise GS might not go straight to trade paper. As nice as they are, covers help sell, and hardcover covers look stunning.


message 38: by Nihar (new)

Nihar Suthar (niharsuthar) | 386 comments Comparing paperback to digital, I think digital is definitely winning. I have sold tons more ebooks of my inspirational book Win No Matter What: A Guide to Hyping Up Your Life - probably because it's much cheaper, convenient, and has instantaneous delivery.


message 39: by Humberto (new)

Humberto Contreras | 66 comments It is all technology. Soon screens will be indistinguishable from paper - or papyrus - and then the look and feel of a book will be faked.

Flexible and better screen, all technology. Books will be collector items.

And 'green cars' will replace the guzzlers. It is all technology and progress.


message 40: by Humberto (new)

Humberto Contreras | 66 comments I'm sure than when printed books were first introduced there was the same discussion.

I haven't seen any books in Amazon that are handwritten.


message 41: by Jae (new)

Jae Holt (jae_holt) | 13 comments There was a servey done recently in the U.K. that asked young adults age 16 to 24 which they preferred more - physical books or digital copies. 62% responded they preferred physical books more. I think this is surprising because when you think of this age group you imagine their electronic devices attached at the hip.

There's more to the survey, and what can be implied by the overall results is exactly what a few of you have said here: there is more value to a physical copy, and an ebook is not necessarily worth getting if it's more than $2.99. I wrote about the findings here if anyone is interested. I also have links to other articles on the topic.

I like to see the titles that people read. You can't see what books are on a person's Kindle, but you can see it on the spine of a paperback. It's fun to see what people like to read!


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