Eight Misconceptions About eBooks
Reading will hurt my eyes. eInk technology is designed to alleviate eyestrain. Because it refreshes only when the page is turned, there is no constant motion as there is with a computer screen to cause eye strain. It can be easier on the eyes than a paper book, particularly the thin pages of the mass market.
It’s too expensive. It doesn’t have to be. With the arrival of digital libraries, one can have the freedom of the ebooks without the cost. There are other, hidden costs with paper books. First, there is the storage issue, a bookcase that runs around $200 can store a few hundred books. An ebook reader can store 1,000s. One reader mentioned that she had to downsize her book collection with each move. It was the ame for me. One of the driving factors for buying ebooks was the fact I had culled my paper book collection ruthlessly to prepare for a big move. Over time, I’ve rebought many books that I had purged and frankly spent more money replenishing my book collection than the cost of an ebook reader. I’ll never have to do that with ebooks.
Further, you can read on your computer, smartphone, and other multifunction devices. My first ebook reader was a PDA. You can get these from eBay for under $100.00
I’ll miss my paper. There is tactile feedback you get with turning a page, but I don’t miss paper. I don’t miss the mess, the towering to be read pile. I don’t miss the unwieldy nature of the hardcover or the tight bindings of the mass market.
Authors won’t make as much. Currently, ebook royalties for print authors are higher than print royalties thus ebook sales often can generate more money in the pocket of the author than a print sale.
It will mean the end of books. Again, we have to decouple the Digital Presses like Ellora’s Cave and Samhain have been in business several years (EC almost a decade) and their authors have made money and the presses have continued to put out books. EBooks are just a different method of delivery.
Digital books means an increase in piracy. Not releasing a print book in digital format does not prevent it from being pirated. Case in point is the Harry Potter series. Scholastic and JK Rowling has refused to release an ebook version of the books. This doesn’t prevent the spread of digital copies. Within a few hours of the last book’s release, a team of pirates had scanned, ocred, proofread and released a digital copy onto the internet. John Grisham has so far refused digitization. No matter. His books are also downloadable.
Geographical Restrictions mean less books internationally. Overall, no. No bookstore can stock every book that is available in ebook format. There is simply not enough physical space for such a huge inventory. Bookstores have to pick and choose. The benefit of an ebook store, even with geographical restrictions, is that more books can be made available to an individual readers. For example, there are a number of Harlequin books that are available virtually worldwide in ebook format but not in print because those books are not in print anymore (particularly the category books). There are definitely problems with the geographic restrictions but on the whole, there are likely more digital books available in ebook format to all readers in more places than there are print books.
Ebooks will destroy reading culture. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly what the reading culture is. I don’t attend a book club but I have been to library events and lectures by authors. My ebook reading device has never prevented me from interacting with other readers or with other authors. Ebooks don’t reduce my ability to be part of a reading community. You can even stand in line to get something signed by a digital author as many did at the RT convention. (I confess that I find the quest for the author autograph to be somewhat of a mystery).