Print Versus E-Book Smackdown!

I’m still–yes, still–thinking about getting an e-reader. As part of my decision-making process, I started thinking of why I would choose e-books over print, and vice versa.

1. A good friend wrote the book. Then I might want the print version, so they could autograph it; particularly if it was their first book, which is special. However…I rarely read short stories, despite having piles of short story collections written by friends, and anthologies in which their stories appear. I recently discovered short stories are a good length to read while on the elliptical. So, if I got an e-reader, I could read short stories while exercising.

2. I want to be prepared for the apocalypse. Print seems safer for that. So the really serious keepers probably need to be print. However, there’s nothing to stop me from also having them in electronic form; for example, my copy of the new Lois McMaster Bujold novel, Cryoburn, has a cd in the back with electronic versions of most of her novels, so even though I own them in paper, I could also re-read them on an e-reader.

3. Some books aren’t keepers. I am trying to get better about not keeping books just because I read them. Some books I am unlikely to read again. Those, I try to give/sell/trade away before I become attached simply from having them around for a while. I wouldn’t have to go through the give/sell/trade process if these were e-books, because they wouldn’t be taking up space, and if for some reason I filled up my e-reader (don’t laugh! if anyone could, that would be me!), I could delete them.

The trick is that I don’t always know which books will be keepers. I suppose I could re-buy an e-book as a print book if I really, really wanted it in print.


About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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10 Responses to Print Versus E-Book Smackdown!

  1. Cara Bristol says:

    This post is so near and dear to my heart! I've been a hardcore (print) booklover all my life. But there are so many good romances published in ebook format that in July I bit the bullet and got a Kindle.

    I absolutely LOVE it. Love it. Love it. Love it. It is actually EASIER to read than a print book, you don't have to try to keep the pages open, the fonts are scalable so you can make the type larger. I now PREFER to read books in ebook format.

    It's kind of like the digital camera. I didn't want one for the longest time. Once I got one, I never wanted to go back to film.

    Although I bought a Kindle and love it, I'm not claiming that Kindle is better than any other e-book reader. I went with Kindle only because I buy a lot books thru

    I wrote a couple of blogs about Kindle, that you might want to check out.

  2. Victoria Janssen says:

    Ooh, thanks for the links, Cara!

  3. Jeannie Lin says:

    One of the best parts about the last e-books I bought was that I wanted them now. I didn't want to wait for Amazon to deliver or to go to the bookstore or library. Some were for reference, some were for pleasure reading, one was even an old print book that I used to own, but can't find anymore and I wanted to re-read it.

    I first started buying ebooks when I was still traveling for work and I'd be sitting in my room and wishing I had a new book to read. And the (usually) lower price points are nice too!

    But I'm like you. I still want my keepers in print format.

  4. Victoria Janssen says:

    Traveling was one of the key issues I was thinking about, too.

  5. telophase says:

    The Kindle was awesome for traveling to the UK: I didn't have to carry any books with me, just a couple of magazines that I bought at the airport for the minutes of takeoff and landing. I didn't have to haul the books around, either. The charge lasted almost the full two weeks, too.

    And as I'm one of those people who always has several books going at the same time, I find the Kindle a godsend because I no longer have the existential problems of "which book do I take with me?" "can I bring two?" and "is my bag large enough to hold them?" whenever I leave the house.

  6. Kate Pearce says:

    I love my print books -but then I got an iPad and over the last few months I've downloaded apps for Kindle, Nook, and Borders to go a long with the iBook store and I am now a convert to reading on my iPad. I love looking for the best prices and the free reads on Kindle and I love just having all those books in one place. And with the flick of my finger I can turn the page and almost feel like I'm reading a print book. So call me a convert!!

  7. Cara Bristol says:

    Building on what Jeannie said, one thing that surprised me was the effect that immediate gratification has. For years I've bought almost all my books online, either on Amazon or And then I wait, 2 – 9 days, for media rate delivery. With Kindle, I buy a book and I get it within SECONDS. I've found I don't want to wait the 2 – 9 days anymore. Besides that, there's no shipping!

    Probably, I will continue to buy nonfiction books in print. When reading nonfiction, I like to highlight. Although you can "highlight" on Kindle, it's not the same as flipping thru a book and looking for those yellow marks.

    Go for it, Victoria. Take the plunge!

  8. Victoria Janssen says:

    I did.

  9. Karla says:

    I saw that you subscribe to my Bodice Ripper blog, so thanks for that! :)

    As for ebook readers…the flibbertigibbit in me wants a new techno-sparkly, but then I remember that I mainly read OP books from the 70s and 80s and that's a slap of reality.

  10. Victoria Janssen says:

    Your blog is awesome.

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