Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Book Confessions: Are Print Books More Valuable?

Are e-books worth less than print books? 
I came across a couple of comments recently that got me thinking once again about my attitudes to e-books and print books. I don’t want to go into the pros and cons of each again as this has been covered numerous times by bloggers far more eloquent than me. I am a fan of both – I adore my kindle. It was the best birthday present I ever received. I have over 100 books waiting to be read on their and I especially treasure it for Netgalley books which is how most of my review books come to me. However, I tend to only read one e-book for every two print books. If I really like an e-book, I try to get hold of a copy of the same book in print…why…?
Kindle Books vs. Paper Books?
I place far more importance on a physical book than an e-book. I have to think carefully about spending more than £5 on an e-book but for a print book I don’t hesitate. I’m not talking about the cost placed by the publishers or shops on a print or e-book, but rather the ‘value’ I personally place in having a physical copy of a story I love that won’t get wiped or mistakenly deleted. The physical book is forever, while an e-book is less tangible. But why do I feel that way?
It is exactly the same story, the same words whether on ink on a page or e-ink in a screen. The same characters, the same thrills, the same emotional highs and lows. Yet, the paper book is more real than the e-book. Perhaps it’s because there weren’t any e-books when I was growing up (in the same way I still buy CD rather than downloads) and when people say ‘book’ to me, I immediately think a cover with 300-odd leaves between them. E-books are great to experiment with for new authors and novellas – I love catching up with some of favourite authors in between big book releases, but all of my favourite authors – both new and old have an actual book on the my cramped bookshelves. I guess feel more emotionally attached to print books than I do e-books.
So I was wondering if anyone else felt the same way and why? Or do you disagree? If you love an e-book, do you then buy a paper copy? Why? Do you place less ‘value’ on e-books than print? After all the same amount of thought, editing and hard work by the author goes into each. Let's discuss! 


  1. i feel the same for me a print books is precious, i tresure them if i really love a book or an authors i can event try to get teh different edition so see if i can spot any difference but an ebook....i don't know of course they are a lot of work behind it's creation but nothing sentimental in my opinion, too easily destroyed ( by accident or not), not always compatible etc so definitively print book have a greater value

  2. I'm with you, times 10. I like ebooks just fine, though I am virulently anti-Amazon. But I'm also a book collector-cum-hoarder. I also collect signed books, which often have an actual value appreciation.

  3. If my harddrive crashes all my books would be gone...and that way yes I feel print is more valuable. And technology changes so fast, who says my grand children will be able to read my books

  4. I love my kindle, but I still prefer physical copies. Of course, I never buy ebooks, I get them for free, win them, get them for review. For me, however, I'm not really sure that it's about the greater value. I simply like knowing what my money goes to and being able to hold what I buy. It's the same reason I never download music from iTunes or anything and instead buy CDs.

  5. I like the feel of a book. The way you hold it in your hand. The way you can browse them on a shelf. The fact that it is easily lended out if you love it. I also like the convenience of the ebook. So, 3 to 1. I guess physical books win for now. :)

  6. I love my ipad, I love being able to store hundreds of books on it and be able to read any at the touch of a finger, although the majority of my ebooks are review copies, or free/cheap ebooks I have picked up. Like you I prefer to have an actual physical copy of a book, and if the price of the ebook version is a lot cheaper then the physical one, and I need to read it right now, ill buy it, but if its more than £4-£5 then ill buy the physical book. If there is not much difference in price between physical and ebook then physical wins every time.

    I also think about stuff like having no electricity (thanks to shows like Revolution) if all power was lost and we relied on ebooks, there would be no books left to read, which is sad and really far out in thinking, but it's best to prepare for the worst ;).

  7. I'm like you - right now I'm starting to value my Kindle more and more - I used to have the kindle keyboard one you have in your picutre - in fact I still have it...but I got upgraded this past birthday to the Paperwhite. I LOVE it...but like you I only read one book on it for every say 5 books I read in print. I prefer to buy my books in print because they are MINE! They are on my shelf and they aren't going to be snatched away from me for any reason. For some reason I just feel like it's better when I'm in a room surrounded by books. I tend to only buy books on the kindle if they are 2.99 or less. I can't help it!

    Also - if I don't like a book after I like to donate it or trade it to the used book store for credit. If you don't like the ebook - you get no return back on it. You can't donate it, you can't trade it in, you have nothing. In those cases I'm even annoyed that I have to go through the hassle of deleting it from my kindle. Know what I mean?

    I'll always prefer print books but I definitely value my kindle more and more only because now publishers are doing weekly and monthly deals where they cut down the prices on a ebook for a short amount of time.

  8. I feel pretty much the same way. I vastly prefer physical books to e-books, though I won't deny that e-books have saved my sanity in recent years, with the ability carry around an entire library at one time. And even though I read far more e-books than print books, I still feel the urge to buy the print copy if I really liked the e-book, and will justify spending far more on a physical book than I could usually see myself spending on an e-copy. I don't know entirely why. Familiarity may be a part of it, since I grew up with a novel in my hand on a nearly constant basis, so they feel more like "real" books to me, even though the content's the same. There's something comforting and appealing about a nice heavy book in my hand, and it's very different from the appeal of a whole library in my other hand.

    So I suppose to me, print books are worth more than e-books. But I think that's a very subjective view rather than an objective one, since I admit that what I'm paying the money for is what's inside the book's covers and pages, not the pages themselves. I imagine that to many people, their view would be the very opposite.

  9. I feel the exact same way as you. Whenever I read a book and end up loving it, I just have to buy it in print. I don't know why but it's probably because of what you just mentioned. I do love my Kindle and I use it regularly (especially for reading NetGalley books) but still, it's not the same as reading actual print books, is it?