What, you thought we weren’t going to let the rest of the Writer’s Bone crew respond to Dave and Matt’s debate on e-books? Do you know how much we love writing and reading our own prose? Come on, get your shit together, it’s Thursday already! Look for Dave and Matt’s rebuttals later this afternoon.
Sean Tuohy: Let's get this out of the way: You love books. I love them. Daniel loves them. Most people love books. They are great. How many early memories do you have involving reading a book and learning about the world? A lot I hope.
So, why the fuck do you care what form they come in? They are books. Printed or e-book, it does not matter what form they come in as long as you can read them and enjoy them. The fact that we can sit down and read a story and learn something or enjoy ourselves is amazing. How great are our lives were we have access to tons of information in the form of words? We have a power to slip to the world of storytelling and live there.
Just the idea that your brain is able to look at lines of random words and form them together inside of your head and that gives you knowledge is jaw dropping. There are people who live in this country who never get to enjoy what we get to enjoy. The idea of cracking opening a book or looking at an e-book reader is terrifying to some because they don't know how to read. Yes, this being the United States, a superpower, and people still don't know how to read.
Instead of bitching about how e-books are awful or how the printed book are no longer needed, how about we spend more time spreading the good word about books. Read to a group of kids, give books out to strangers, or sit with some blind old people and read to them. We have a fantastic ability to love reading, something that is slowly dying away in our world. Please, let’s use the gift we have and share it with others.
Lindsey Wojcik: I do not currently own an e-reader, however I wouldn't be opposed to consuming content on one. I do enjoy packing up a physical book and taking it along with me to the park, beach, or in my bag while I ride the train to work. There's something about the smell of the pages—new or old—that draws me to read from good, old fashioned, printed books. I also get pleasure out of breaking in a new book by folding pages over, breaking in the binding, and marking my spot with a bookmark—which is usually an old photo or ticket stub from some event I attended that brings back warm memories every time I open the book. Could I do that with an e-reader? I'm not sure, but like I said, I'm not opposed finding out.
Daniel Ford: My brothers and I gave my mother a Kindle for her birthday a couple years ago. You'd think we had given her a slab of gold. She was always a reader, but now she could download free Kindle novels to her hearts content. She's embracing technology at a younger age (if I had written anything else, she would have murdered me) and its added something to her experience. Her Kindle was also a comfort to her when she was visiting my sick uncle in the hospital. The argument that convenience isn't a good enough reason for e-books to exist is a flawed one because ask someone whose life is defined by inconveniences. There were times my mother didn’t have time to go home and grab a few books before heading to the hospital. And she was spending enough time there that she was finishing them at a fast clip. She could just throw her Kindle in her bag and it was one less thing she had to think about. A small (book) light in the storm is better than none at all.
The amount I read print books and e-books has increased exponentially because of my Kindle. I not only read a lot more, but I read a wider variety of content. Before the Kindle, I had to be selective when buying books because, well, I decided to be a struggling writer for a living. Now it's cheaper (and sometimes free) for me to expand my horizons. Also, reading is considered cool again. Is it a shame an e-reader had to be the one to bring about that? Of course. But I’m glad it did.
Finally, Amazon has given voices to writers we may have never heard of before (like me eventually). Some might be good, but legit authors have embraced the e-market such as Bob Mayer and David Morell. Andrew Klavan said on the podcast we're experiencing a revolution in reading and writing. He's right. And revolutions are meant to repeal us forward, not keep us in neutral.
That being said, there is nothing classier, sexier, and more majestic than a full bookcase showing off the books you've read (or that you have yet to read). Plus, when you move, your friends and family need something to do, right? Complaining about moving books is a national institution, so who am I to go against that kind of tradition?
Hassel Velasco: I do agree that too many people are turning away from actual books, which is a sad fact. But it's also fact that most e-readers and their stores make books cheaper and more accessible. More and more people are turning to e-readers to avoid the hassle of driving to a library or book store, not to mention how easy it is becoming to share these books. I may be part of the problem. I just shared The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to my 11-year-old sister who lives 3,000 miles away so now she can comfortably read it on her iPad.
All in all, I do have a great solution to this issue. The same way DVDs and Blu-rays now come with digital downloads, why not make paper books that have digital downloads? I don't know, just a thought.
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