Now some people may disagree with me, and that is fine because this is my opinion on the matter of paperbacks versus e-books.
Ten days ago I published an e-book on Kindle, which was a great accomplishment for me. I never published anything before and this was a big project that I put a lot of time and effort into. The issue I had was I didn’t feel like I had completed my long-term goal of publishing. In my mind putting my book on Kindle was just like posting a successful post on my blog. You edit it, upload it, and watch the reports come in regarding your readers.
Although that was a great feeling that people were finally reading my book, it didn’t feel like I had completed the task I set out to do.
Now ten days later I’m holding my paperback and I’m getting the feeling that I finally reached my goals. When I held my paperback in my hands, saw my words on physical paper pages and I couldn’t help the over-follow of emotions running through my mind.
But why did I feel so much happiness and pride when I got my paperback, and not when I published my e-book?
I started thinking about this and all I could come up with is the physical sensation.
When you publish online you don’t have the book in your hands. With e-books it is uploaded to the world, but it isn’t a physical thing. All your book becomes is more zeros and ones in the matrix that is the interwebs. Although this is a great accomplishment you don’t physically feel like you completed anything because you physically have nothing to show for it.
When you are holding your paperback, that is exactly what you are doing. You are holding a piece of work that wouldn’t have existed if you didn’t create it. That book now takes up space on someone’s shelf and has a physical place on our planets surface. Unlike e-books that take up space on your e-reader or other electronic device. You can’t hold zeros and ones… well not really… but you can hold a paper version of your book.
That got me into thinking why do I need a physical version to feel like I’ve completed my goal as an author. Maybe it’s instilled in us that writing in from books and if your book isn’t written on paper it isn’t real.
Most of my life I grew up with paper books. There are still store dedicated to the physical book and shelves filled with physical books in our houses. We’ve read famous authors from paper and learned most of the knowledge we know from paper. So, maybe it is something on a subconscious level that paper/ physical = real. That e-books aren’t real in our minds because we can’t physical hold them and they haven’t been around for long enough to consider them real… that I need to hold my words on paper and see my words in ink for me to feel like I accomplished something.
Does that mean as time goes on and technology is used more than paper books that those more use to e-readers will not need the physical book to feel accomplished? That I don’t have an answer to… but would be interested in finding out the answer one day.
In a way there are probably already people that don’t need the paperback like I do. People who fill like they succeeded in their goals by publishing online and don’t need to feel paper in their hands.
I – apparently – am not one of those people and I’m all right with that. 😛