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The pBook vs eBook: Dial D For Dilemma…

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“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” Sydney J. Harris

Writing Challenge: Dial D For Dilemma...

The pBook vs eBook: Dial D For Dilemma…

Paperback — nothing beats opening up a brand new book or rummaging through a bookstore. 75.77% (294 votes)
ebooks — you can get new books in a flash and bring multiple reads with you everywhere you go. 24.23% (94 votes)
Total Votes: 388 ( Results of WP Daily Post Poll)

Writing Challenge: Do You Prefer pBooks or eBooks?  The written word has had a long and varied history. Whether we look at the earliest scrolls from the 2nd Century AD or the oldest surviving book – the Derveni papyrus from 340 BC, or the modern day ebook first published in 1971, what stands out is that the written word is here to stay. The dilemma is in deciding if we prefer to read pBooks (physical copies) or eBooks (electronic copies). I grew up in a household filled with books. They were a lifeline in a sometimes challenging world, and I passed on the love of books to my kids. I love reading and I love books.

Naturally, the joy many of us derive from reading begins with the hard/soft copy; it speaks to the tactile sensation we get from holding a book, the thrill we feel leafing through the pages, marking where we stopped, smelling it, sharing our books, and/or creating a library of books we plan to donate or give away some day. I have an extensive library of books from around the world, and I still buy physical copies of new, used, and collectible books. But, I am not adverse to eBooks and have some in my collection too. When I checked the WP poll above, 75% of WP readers still preferred reading physical copies… However, I must add that a decent number of WP Bloggers left comments that they liked both and would have appreciated a third poll option which wasn’t provided. So where do you stand on this topic? pBook or ebook?

Somewhere in the world there is an epigram for every dilemma.” Hendrik Willem Van Loon

Writing Challenge: Dial D For Dilemma...

The pBook vs eBook: Dial D For Dilemma…

1971: Project Gutenberg is the first digital library
1990: The web boosts the internet
1993: The Online Books Page is a list of free ebooks
1994: Some publishers get bold and go digital
1995: is the first main online bookstore
1996: There are more and more texts online
1997: Multimedia convergence and employment
1998: Libraries take over the web
1999: Librarians get digital Ebook History by M. Lebert

Do you love the convenience of eBooks, or the texture of paper? When I read the Daily Post prompt, my first thought was “Why choose?” I like both; hence the dilemma. When we consider the history of the pBook and hold it up to the genesis and rapid growth of the eBook, something becomes apparent; the eBook has the potential to become a strong contender as the preferred choice of the future. Why?

For starters, aside from its tactile limitations, it offers a number of conveniences: eBooks save shelf space, we can download hundreds of books on an eReader and travel with ease, we can delete, replace and purchase new eBooks from the comfort of our home, and because there are no physical stores, the pricing is cheaper and time/cost of travel is eliminated. Finally, the ebook has given many people a quick way to become a published author. If you never imagined getting a traditional publishing house contract, the eBook will make your publishing dream come true pretty quickly. So what’s the beef? More below!

“There is no dilemma compared with that of the deep-sea diver who hears the message from the ship above, “Come up at once. We are sinking.”” Robert Cooper

The pBook vs eBook: Dial D For Dilemma...

The pBook vs eBook: Dial D For Dilemma…

2000: Information is available in many languages
2001: Copyright, copyleft and Creative Commons
2002: A web of knowledge
2003: eBooks are sold worldwide
2004: Authors are creative on the net
2005: Google gets interested in ebooks
2006: Towards a world public digital library
2007: We read on various electronic devices
2008: “A common information space in which we communicate Ebook History by M. Lebert

What’s the beef and what about the future? The challenge for many of us is that we grew up with a certain norm; physical copies of books. We prefer pBooks for the reasons stated at the beginning of this post, and, because many book lovers still cherish the feel and smell of a book, we automatically reach for a pBook. Humans are creatures of habit and it takes time to convert people to a new order or idea; especially when the idea has to do with our reading preferences.

Another important point to remember when we discuss pBooks is that we have universities and archives around the world with important historical records; books made of  paper, clay and other materials, and they would not be exchanged for the cold touch of an eReader. That said, the eBook has created a window of opportunity that will continue to have an impact on the world of books… Dilemma or not, it’s here to stay.  What are your thoughts? Stay Inspired. Have a blessed day and thank you for stopping by! :-)
*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs. Thank you all for your patience! :-)

Happy 2013! This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap – How do you prefer to read, with an eReader like a Kindle or Nook, or with an old school paperback in hand? Take the poll and then explain your opinion by blogging about it on your site.

Positive Motivation Tip: A book, a kindle, a nook a day might keep the doctor and a wasted mind away.  Give someone a book today! :-)

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos:  Amazon Kindle, Book collage,  Philosophy  books, via Wikipedia,

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

71 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/02/2013 7:49 am

    I have to say, I prefer a book. I don’t read fiction, so I’m constantly ‘flicking’ between pages to compare/study pictures and facts. It is SO tedious on any of the devices, and you can’t do it two or three books at a time…..

    That probably says a lot about me….. 🙂

    • 05/02/2013 7:55 am

      Muvofelt, when in college, I would have three or four books open at once to complete a report. I also left them open on the desk over the weekend and their batteries didn’t die…well, no batteries, you get the point, yes?

      • Will permalink
        09/02/2013 8:03 am

        Batteries are of scant concern. Kindles use next to no juice unless the e-ink display is refreshed, so leaving them ‘open/on’ over the weekend won’t even tickle the battery.

      • 09/02/2013 2:35 pm

        Sha’tashari and Will TY you both for your spirited feedback on this subject! I’m delighted with the responses from both sides of the fence as it gives more insight into why we do or do not prefer a particular form. There are pros and cons for both and, at the end of the day, we do get to choose which one is more gratifying to us. It’s all good. TY both. 🙂

    • 08/02/2013 7:04 am

      Actually, it might give the designers ideas… and they could develop an eReader that has a split screen like a TV, so you can read more than one book at a time. 🙂 TY!

    • 17/06/2013 11:58 am

      TY Nuvofelt, and for the life of me, I don’t know how I missed commenting back. Thank you for your feedback and my apologies for the oversight. I must have clicked on another reply and left a response. I love books very much too and I hope we will always have that option. TY! 🙂

  2. 05/02/2013 7:53 am

    I like your post, but I cannot agree that e-books are here to stay. Technology moves so fast that it will seem like a blink of the eye as history records it.

    • 09/02/2013 2:43 pm

      The eBook has been around since 1971 and it continues to evolve in design and concept. I agree that technology moves fast but not always radically. When something appears that is practical/simple, user friendly, and with great functionality, it lasts. Like the computer, TV, and telephone, the eBook will continue to be improved, modified, and reworked but it’s here for the long haul. TY for your comment Sha’tashari! 🙂

  3. 05/02/2013 8:44 am

    Love your title. I’ve been in publishing for 10+ years; I live with books everyday, almost every waking minute. I love books and have for as long as I can remember. I love the feel and smell of them, I love the paper and even the typeface. Then the iPad came out and I fell in love. Prior to that, I wouldn’t even look at the Kindle. I felt as if I was cheating, loving the iPad and loving books. But as much as I love the ease and convenience of an eReader, I can’t give up books.
    The same discussion happened with CDs and records. The CD or eBook tries to duplicate the user experience but it can go only so far — it can’t duplicate human emotions or sensations. Something is sacrificed and it’s left to us to determine which has more personal value. What are we willing to trade for convenience and portability?

    • 09/02/2013 2:52 pm

      Marcia, You raise great philosophical questions. What are you willing to trade? is it even worth that much focus to consider it as trad-able? Honestly, the way I see it is that both are here for the long haul and we won’t have to sweat over it. If the day comes when our local libraries send out notices that they are converting to an all digital online library only then we’ll have a problem. That day might come in some communities but books will continue to be bought and sold; especially if more effort is made to save trees, use recyclable paper and other nature protecting options. TY dear one! 🙂

  4. 05/02/2013 9:14 am

    The printed word, any day 🙂

    • 09/02/2013 2:54 pm

      Aye dear one! You are a member of the paper club, I understand. 😆 I’ve been shifting over the years, and while I still buy, read and collect books, I can understand the thrill of the pBook and the eBook for both sides. 🙂

  5. 05/02/2013 9:48 am

    I agree. I like both.
    eBooks has their plus points like the convenience while pBooks have the personal feel as we can touch, smell, and feel the book.

    • 09/02/2013 2:56 pm

      I’m a 50%ter too. But, I’m still waiting for Apple to send me their sample eReader for review. 😉 TY!.

  6. 05/02/2013 9:48 am

    love those paperbacks…holding them…reading them…giving them to others to enjoy…even the smell has me…Will I change…I hope I don’t
    have to…but, I have moved on to other things …so time will tell…

    • 09/02/2013 3:01 pm

      I hear you Marilyn and you know what? You don’t have to change if you so choose… There are happy readers on both sides. 🙂

  7. 05/02/2013 10:06 am

    I adore the Gutenberg Project! I have gotten many books for my new ereader from them. I do, however, spend most of my reading life with my paper books.

    • 09/02/2013 3:05 pm

      Good for you… I like that approach anyway.. maximize your enjoyment on both sides or one side… It’s all good. TY! 🙂

  8. 05/02/2013 11:10 am

    I love books. I love visiting the libary and book stores and discovering new books to read. My favorite books reflect the “love” of being read and re-read with creased pages and loose bindings. I don’t own a Kindle or an ipad so I can’t really say if that I wouldn’t like reading e-books but I can never imagine giving up real books.

    • 09/02/2013 3:08 pm

      Hi Freedom! TY for stopping by… I have a kindle for pc and have some books I’ve read on it… I buy books and I’m fine with the choices available… I won’t give up one for the other. 🙂

  9. 05/02/2013 12:35 pm

    I will always love a paper book. I know that will always be my preference, simply from the love of the books themselves! But I also enjoy my Kindle and the Kindle apps on other devices. There are times I am glad to have a larger library with me, or even for reading in bed sometimes. I think in my life there may be room for both! I know how much money I spend on both. LOL!

    • 09/02/2013 3:10 pm

      I hear you Deb! I’m with you on that note and will use which ever one offers immediate access. There are times when each serves a richer purpose and I’m happy for it. TY! 🙂

  10. 05/02/2013 3:04 pm

    I love the Robert Cooper quote – very funny indeed!

    I’m on the fence here. I like both pBooks and eBooks. I’d never get rid of my physical ‘library’ because I love having a wall full of books, but I’m not adverse at all to downloading an eBook. I’ve learned so much from self-published authors and there are some fabulous ones out there that I never would have seen or known about if I hadn’t spotted them online. 😉

    • 09/02/2013 3:13 pm

      True Dianne! I was thinking of that as I wrote the post too. Frankly, I think there is room for both forms and as long as we are not forced one day to choose sides, I’m cool with it… TY! 🙂

  11. 05/02/2013 3:47 pm

    I embrace a lot of new technology, not the least since I am a photographer and work in a field that has seen an incredible development over the last years. But when it comes to books, there is only one thing for me: The real thing. I can see the advantages with ebooks, not the least when travelling, but I still like the feel of the paper, the physical evidence of written creation and being able to browse through page after page.

    • 09/02/2013 3:15 pm

      I hear you Munchow and you are not alone. No worries, you will continue to have your books; perhaps made of more recycled materials as the years go by. TY! 🙂

  12. 05/02/2013 4:15 pm

    I like to use an eReader when I’m travelling, or reading somewhere while I’m waiting (doctor’s offices, etc), and sometimes I like to have it because there are books I want to check out but am too cheap to pay the paperback price for.

    But, mostly, I still love the feel of an actual book in my hand. 🙂

    • 09/02/2013 3:20 pm

      Yeah and same here too… I think the point of this exercise was to have us think about our flexibility level and our willingness to shift gears if needed. Not a bad idea at all. We are creatures of habit so it doesn’t surprise me at all…. and that is why marketing companies thrive. TY! 🙂

  13. 05/02/2013 5:03 pm

    I definitely prefer books. There’s something about flipping the page and holding it in my hands. Great post, Eliz! 🙂

    • 09/02/2013 3:22 pm

      Yes, I hear you and I enjoy a good read too. Would you consider the other if that was all the little Island you land on has? 🙂 TY! 🙂

  14. 05/02/2013 5:38 pm

    I like both. I use both. I prefer turning pages and holding the book with two hands. I like the convenience of downloading to an iPad and having books, along with games, email, documents, etc all in one place. I’m conflicted! But then, if you know me, that’s nothing new. Decisions, decisions. 😉

    • 09/02/2013 3:23 pm

      You cracked me up Gemma! I’m conflicted! I like that. 🙂

  15. 05/02/2013 6:58 pm

    I still prefer paper books, holding them, making short notes with pencil on the side, underlining lines that I liked, I even love the smell of a book.

    • Will permalink
      09/02/2013 7:53 am

      You can underline things you like in e-books too, but it’s even better because all your highlighted phrases are collated for later review.

    • 09/02/2013 3:26 pm

      There is something nostalgic and even romantic about notes and paper. I have a friend who no longer writes on paper .. She types her ideas and creative expressions right into her computer. So much changes as time goes by…. TY! 🙂

  16. 06/02/2013 7:41 am

    Interestingly enough, Eliz, reading all these posts about pBooks vs. eBooks makes me want to buy a Kindle. I just found out that you can get one for 69 dollars. As usual, I love how you give some history in your perspective.
    Interested to see what that poll will look like in 2 years.

    • 09/02/2013 4:40 pm

      TY! That sounds like a deal… go for it. About the poll, I’d be curious too. 🙂

  17. 06/02/2013 8:28 am

    I’m planning to get a kindle soon. I read digitally on my laptop all the time, but nothing beats curling up with a real book. I don’t think they’ll ever go away.

    • 09/02/2013 4:42 pm

      Books won’t go away and neither will the eReader. I believe there are enough readers for both to keep them going 😉 TY!

  18. 06/02/2013 9:06 am

    I live in an apartment with 3000+ books and love them all. They surround my life with the world of everything – past and present. I read my pbooks at home and on public transportation. When I travel, though, I find ebooks to be so convenient. I can travel for as long as I need to and have as many books as I want with me 🙂

    • 09/02/2013 4:43 pm

      Great and that works… I feel that having options is a good thing. We get to choose and that’s great. TY! 🙂

  19. 06/02/2013 6:36 pm

    I love both. E books for travel, but the p book to pass on the legacy of the importance of the written word in our home.

    • 09/02/2013 4:45 pm

      Yes, the legacy we pass on is important and nothing beats picture books for kids… All in all, there is room for options. TY! 😉

  20. 07/02/2013 2:17 am

    I like to read bloggers online… with my ultra-book (easy portable PC)

    • 09/02/2013 4:47 pm

      Good for you! is that what you are doing in your gravatar? TY! 🙂

  21. 07/02/2013 5:01 am

    I love both. I like having hundreds of books taking up less space than the size of an average paperback, but there’s nothing like the feel and smell of a hard copy in your hands.

    I miss being able to look back to find something – with a book, I always have an idea of whereabouts it was and that makes it easier to find.

    However, in our small house, having all those books to hand instead of in the loft makes me so happy.

    One thing I do, though, is bear in mind that, when the end of the world comes, there will probably be no electricity, so I make sure I have hard copies of all my favourite books. Just in case. 😀

    • 09/02/2013 4:49 pm

      You are so funny Tilly! I hope the world never comes to an end… But they both offer options we can enjoy. I agree. TY! 🙂

  22. 07/02/2013 5:10 pm

    Prior to buying my Samsung tablet, I never had this dilemma. At some point I was already transitioning to loving ebooks but, I figured why choose? You can have the best of both worlds. Some books I can only get as electronic copy, while some books have only the pbook version. I like the convenience of ebooks, but I love the tactile feel and smell of pbooks. Whichever form I choose, I only know that I love books, no doubt about that. 🙂

    • 09/02/2013 4:51 pm

      I’m with you on this too… Whatever works to get us access to a book is fine with me… I can be at peace with that. TY for stopping by both blogs… Will be catching up with you too. 🙂

  23. ropcorn permalink
    08/02/2013 5:25 am

    Though eBooks are great and I do read them, when I am on the beach, by the pool or in the sun somehow there is nothing better than a pBook. 🙂

    Thanks for another great post, Eliz! Happy Weekend to you!

    • 09/02/2013 4:47 am

      Good point about the sun!

    • 09/02/2013 4:52 pm

      TY for your feedback and enjoy your poolside reads… Sounds wonderful to me… We just survived a snowstorm. TY! 🙂

    • 13/02/2013 7:57 pm

      TY Ropcorn! I can understand that option but won’t you be worried about wet paper which wont happen with an eBook? 🙂

  24. 09/02/2013 4:47 am

    Someone said to me, or I read it, I can’t remember, that as a traveller on public transport, they preferred the pBook – knowing what another traveller was reading became like a shared secret. Now he never knows what people are reading!

    Personally, I think I like pBooks, although I did get quite comfy reading on the iPad.

    Certainly eBooks take up a lot less space!

    • 09/02/2013 4:56 pm

      Yes, Robyn, the eBook does make transportation and storage a thing of the past… But the feel of a book is still enjoyable… Both have merit. TY for stopping by. How are the book sales coming? Must help once I get back on track here. 🙂

      • 09/02/2013 7:24 pm

        I have no way of knowing until Amazon report to Bookbaby, which is probably at the end of the month, but in the first couple of hours on Friday night 20 people told me they had bought the book.

        Thank YOU for the wonderful review!

    • 17/06/2013 12:00 pm

      You are welcome! Best wishes always. 😉

  25. Will permalink
    09/02/2013 7:58 am

    I must be one of the few people here who doesn’t really like the feel and smell of paper books. The grainy feel is irritating, and the smell is distracting. I love it when the book is worn and the scent goes away. Furthermore I find it tedious propping the pages apart. Having to constantly hold two pages apart with my fingers so I can read gets… fatiguing after a while. I don’t mean exhausting – I mean it just gets tedious. With an ebook I don’t have to hold the pages wide apart to read. It’s just… on the screen and ready to read.

    The whole concern about people knowing what I’m reading doesn’t bother me. I’m not a narcissist so I harbour no secret hope that people sitting opposite me on the train are peeking at the cover of my book, in an attempt to discern what I’m reading. In truth, I’ve found the lack of artful covers with ebooks isn’t a problem at all; It prompts people to ask me “what are you reading?” – which in itself shows far more interest in what I’m reading than a mere glance at the cover ever will.

    • 09/02/2013 4:58 pm

      TY Will for your feedback and insights on the subject. I’m glad you added your voice and shared your experiences as it helped balance the playing field… Do you blog? Do come back and share your website so we can support you too. TY! 🙂

  26. 09/02/2013 5:17 pm

    love your coverage on both types of books…after fighting to keep my “i love my paperback books only” attitude, my recent purchase of a Kindle has revolutionized my world. not only is it portable & lightweight but the dictionary is readily available with just one click. i think it would be a great technology to help students struggling in reading and vocabulary. <3

    • 13/02/2013 8:00 pm

      Great point Sunshine. If kids can get access to new words right away and reading is portable, I see it as a plus. TY! 🙂

      • 14/02/2013 9:53 pm

        you’re welcome, Elizabeth. Happy Valentine’s Day to you. ♥

  27. 10/02/2013 9:30 am

    I’m late on this discussion. I read ebooks, newspaper, magazine and articles on PC. But, the other day, when I was reading an art book, I was grateful for pbook.

    • 13/02/2013 8:12 pm

      There you go… lovely. A book still has cachet and will remain popular perhaps until all the trees disappear or we learn to truly use recyclable materials… in the coming years. TY Amy! 🙂

  28. 25/05/2013 12:26 pm

    I still prefer paper. I love flipping back and forth to review a reference, I like scanning the titles on my shelf. I guess I’m just an old dog.

    • 17/06/2013 12:05 pm

      I love technology but I do love paper too and have written many a blog post in long hard before adding it to the site… Yep, there are at least two people in the world who still do that. TY dear one! 🙂

      • 17/06/2013 12:06 pm

        I have to smile at that, Elizabeth. I hope you are well.

      • 17/06/2013 12:14 pm

        TY Naomi! Working my way back… Your kind thoughts are appreciated.


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