Do You e-Book?

Sarah T. Schwab at Sunday OBSERVER (HERE) has at least one very strong opinion. . . “I dislike eBooks,” she boldly writes.  There it is, in clear black and white print.  Well, actually, it’s on my computer.  Go figure!  It’s a column on the internet declaring her dislike for ebooks.

She points out that Stephen King recently announced he would not be publishing Joyland as an ebook because he loves paperbacks so much.  I hope that doesn’t mean King will also refuse us the audio edition.

This is an interesting turn, because as Schawb points out, King was an early pioneer of the ebook.

I love to have a good hard copy of the text.  I understand those who actually want the book in their grubby hands.  In fact, I even  like the smell of some books.  A paper copy of a book is great for study, since it allows me to highlight and write in the margins.  However, I hold not animosity toward the ebook.  In fact, here are a few strengths of the ebook:


1. Easy travel.  You don’t need a bookshelf to bring your library with you.

2. Quick purchase.  No more long trips to the bookstore, hoping they have your book.  Now we find it on Amazon and buy it in a single click.  Hey, Amazon doesn’t even make you retype your password and buyer info. . . it really is “one click.”

3. No more retyping.  This is especially true of Bible commentaries.  It is nice to be able to cleanly copy and paste from book to word processor without having to retype the whole thing.  I mean, God Bless my PC Study Bible!  Used to be we preachers had to type the Bible passages word for word into sermon notes.

4. The ebook saves trees.  Why does a conservative need to bring this subject to the table?  Shouldn’t the liberal writers be the ones taking this up?  Oh well, I do believe we are stewards of the earth and should manage it wisely.  However, I don’t actually think a few more copies of The Stand in print is going to cause much more global warming.

5. The ultimate concordance.  Ebooks allow you to search them, giving the reader very quick results and the ability to dig through the book on a given subject much faster.  We used to have to rely on others to catagorize subjects in the book, hoping they found the same things as important as we did.  Now we can just type in the search word and go.  How many times does “M-O-O-N” appear in The Stand?  Well, you can find out pretty quickly now that The Stand is an ebook.

6. The ebook is cheaper.  I know, that’s not always the case.  And it opens a can of worms in the Stephen King world, since his books are sometimes the same price as the paper copies!  And, while I’m on that subject – shame shame on those of you who write bad reviews of the book on Amazon because you don’t like the Kindle price!  I thought I would miss the bookstore.   But now I just wander the bookstore aisle thinking, “I’ll bet this is cheaper on Amazon.”

7. Returns are easy.  Buy the wrong book?  Simple. . . you don't have to stand in line and explain why the book was a poor purchase decision.  Now you just fix it with a click.

8. Preview.  I  love this!  Amazon lets you preview the book before buying it. What drives me crazy is that so much of the copyright and opening pages suck up the preview portion.  Sometimes it's 20 pages of copyrights and "this book is for my cat" and prefaces to the introductions, that the preview is only 3 pages!  But still, the preview gives a glimpse of what you are about to lay money down for.

And here’s the deal: I don’t own a Kindle.  I don’t even like e-readers!  But I have the Kindle app on my computer, and it’s pretty handy.

Not only are books by King abudnant in the e-book world.  So are books about King.  In particular, Cemetery Dance has almost all of their books about King as ebooks; Quigley, Lilja in particular.

So tell me. . . what do y’all think of the ebook?

Reposted from July 1, 2012


  1. I've got nothing against e-books, and eventually I will buy a Kindle (or something similar) and will probably use it extensively.

    However, e-books will NEVER replace books for me. I simply get too much enjoyment out of having a shelf full of books. Same goes for CDs, DVDs, comic books, and the like. I've got no opposition to owning them digitally, but with certain things I will always also want a physical copy.

  2. Couldn't agree more, Bryant!

    Seems even when I've bought a audio copy of something, I still want it in print.

    1. Ah, yes, the life of a collector ... I know it well.

    2. I essentially agree with Bryant on this one (further proof of the impending apocalypse).

      While I'm indulgent and occasionally grateful to ebooks, I would make the argument for physical books on the grounds that there is something in the act of reading a physical book that requires more intellectual output.

      Other than that, I can't see why ebooks shouldn't have their value.


    3. Interesting coda to this entry:

      Here's the latest announcement from Kev Quigly at Charnel House:

      "Finally, Joyland is coming to mass-market paperback AND ebook! From today's press release:

      On May 27, Hard Case Crime will publish the book for the first time in the classic rack-sized "mass-market" paperback format typical of pulp crime novels in the 1940s and 50s. The company will also release the novel for the first time in an e-book edition, in April 2014. "

      The full report can be found by logging onto the Charnel House main page.