e-books vs paper, what’s your take?

e-books vs paper books
I am of course still partial to paper books since I prefer text to be set with type that communicates the work. Also, current consumer screen technology resolution is still inferior to paper. That said, it might be a while before there’s a serviceable format available for e-books.

So what’s your take? Are you an old school bibliophile? Do you care what type a text is set in? Is resolution an issue? Is print dead?

For those of us that want to self-publish, Lulu offers a great service where you can create your own book in both print and ebook formats. They also offer marketing services which is practically unheard of with publishers.

Posted by on January 24, 2009
Filed Under Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Typography | 9 Comments

  • http://www.tahitianpearljewels.com TahitianPearls

    I use both. There are times when reading a PDF file is convenient (short e-books, reading on a plane come to mind), but nothing beats falling asleep with a good printed book.

  • http://peepcode.com Geoffrey Grosenbach

    Context: I currently make my living publishing PDFs for computer programmers.

    That being said, I think most ebooks (and ebook reader devices) barely provide what would pass as a rough draft of a printed book. Most ebooks have yet to take advantage of the strengths afforded by the medium:

    * Color at no extra printing cost
    * High-resolution vector graphics
    * Searchability
    * Hyperlinking
    * Assembly via a dynamic workflow

    They rarely take advantage of the baseline feature set of printed books either:

    * Good typography. See “Detail in Typography” by Jost Hochuli. Appropriate use of small caps, leading, text figures, ligatures, etc.
    * Contextually relevant use of margins and page size.

    Amazon chose a nice typeface for the Kindle but dropped the ball by providing little more than plain text for publishers to craft their texts. And the rest of the screen is cluttered with administrative debris.

    I use a Sony Reader to conserve paper for personal documents but can’t recommend it as a general-purpose reading device either.

    A device is not immediately better because it’s electronic. I hope that in the future we’ll see devices and documents that start with the best qualities of printed books before adding other features.

  • http://twitter.com/cupcakeand Brooke

    I just started using Stanza, the ebook reader, on my iPod Touch. Its great, you can change all the text styles, font size, color, font family, you can even change the background color, so if you prefer to read lighter text on a dark background, you can. I’ve tried out books i bought in their format right from the store the app is linked to, as well as books from a pdf that i converted, and .lit files i converted, all are working fabulously. no scrolling, 1 page on the screen at a time, tap the sides of the screen to go back or forward a page, unless you prefer to scroll, you can change those settings too.
    im very excited about it!

  • http://rosendorf.us Theodore Rosendorf

    Thanks Brooke. Stanza looks pretty good.
    Link: http://www.lexcycle.com/

  • Amanda Wray

    I love reading tomes, but the drawback is that they are really heavy and ungainly for comfortable bedtime reading. I’m looking foward to getting a Kindle. In the early days of computers, there were no opportunities for graphic design, but I’m certain that in time e-books will incorporate design in ways that will go beyond what the printed page can accommodate.

  • http://elizabethauthor.wordpress.com Liz M

    I love books. Not just reading them, but the book itself. For me the aesthetics — thickness, cover type, smell — are a part of the reading experience that you can’t get from an ebook reader. And I LOVE displays of books on shelves. That said I read fanfiction online, and wouldn’t be adverse to getting an ebook if I was researching something and needed information quickly. And I did an internship at Random House in the publicity department where I just thought it was a waste how many copies they print out to send to journalists for review, a lot of which probably won’t be read, when they could just send the journalists a PDF or a file suitable for an ebook reader. Not to mention the shipping materials needed to send them are a waste. Ebooks have their uses but the idea of printed books becoming obsolete is horrid to me.

  • Village Idiot

    I like killing trees so I have to say real books.

  • Stephanie Murphy

    I completely agree with you. I’m 22 and am a book worm– as you say, there is nothing like cracking open a brand new book and smelling the ink and paper, or retracing the creases in a well-loved one. But I waltz into Waterstones or WHSmith sometimes and get lost in the amount of titles that I want to buy — and I simply don’t have the space (or the money!)… so I’ve decided to buy a Kindle, to read the book I want to read, but buy the books that are special to me. You cannot, for instance, hold the magic of a collection of Lord Byron’s poems in an electronic device– that is meant as a book with pages, to be looked through and kept as a romanticism.

  • Modern killer

    duh.….. Of course Tecnology