Print ain’t dead yet

That’s the news from the BEA — BookExpo America, a giant-ass convention/conference with tons of publishing and book vendors, filled with book freaks, books, and all things books and publishing.

Publishers Weekly notes:

Despite the way e-books dominated the publishing conversation over the past year, it was obvious from the moment one set foot on the volume-packed BEA show floor that the printed book is still very much at the center of the publishing industry.

Check out that article, because it notes that the philosophy of booksellers and book publishers isn’t necessarily that electronic media will replace print, but rather that the two can complement each other.

Case in point. I purchased a Kindle for myself a few months back and what I decided is that it’s not quite like reading a book. It’s a different medium, and that doesn’t make it bad or good. It just makes it different. I appreciate the ease of taking my Kindle on a plane, and having it in my backpack when I’m out and about. I love the ease of downloading titles, and I really enjoy being able to “sample” a title before I buy it. I also like that I can buy things like The Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, Toqueville’s Democracy in America, and Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl for around a dollar.

I also like that I can try writers out for a couple bucks or less, though I would also like an option to “rent” ebooks, too. Hell, I rent movies on Netflix. Why not do the same for ebooks?

Anyway, I like the ease of having a bunch of classics right at my fingertips. But it’s not the same as taking a book to a coffee house, opening it, and reading it. And I still use my local library quite a bit, because I like that my tax dollars pay for books and I can go and check ’em out, read ’em, and take ’em back because I’m in an anti-clutter phase at the moment and I like that anybody can have access to books that way.

So no, I don’t think ebooks will replace print books. Not any time soon. But I do think they can complement each other, and I think that’s a great and wonderful thing for publishers, readers, and authors.

Happy reading, happy writing!

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