Monday 6 October 2014

Book Formats- Any Preference?

Books have been around for a long time, and I think we'll still have them in one form or another for a long time to come.

Yet every reader will have a preference: hardback, paperback, audio or e-book. Maybe even a mixture of them all.

Book reading and buying has undergone massive changes, and no doubt there will be more in the future.

The history of reading still visible - above a modern store
in Milsom Street, Bath, Somerset
Different formats co-exist and the reader can choose them all, if they want to.

Perhaps the more forms of technology we have the more our book purchases get diluted (as far as the various gathered statistics are concerned); so maybe the decline in purchases in one format or other is due to what the data covers.

Before the arrival of e-books it was a simple choice: hardback or paperback?

While audio books existed in some form they weren't covering mainstream fiction until the late 1980's. I still have (somewhere) cassette tapes of poetry from the 1970's...

Audio books have continued to develop in the background while the 'battle' between paper and e-books has developed.
I've noticed there are less abridged versions available now- books that were abridged was the main aspect that put me off buying audio fiction in the past.

A recent survey by Nielsen's claims that paperback/hardback sales outsold e-books in the first half of 2014.

As this appeared on the Publishers Weekly website at the end of last month, I'm assuming this is sales in the US market. But it could be an indicator of the future situation in the UK in 12-18 months- only time and the book buying public can decide.

(And of course it doesn't cover self-published work which continues to grow.)

You can read the start of the Publishers Weekly article here.

Book buying is a very personal thing.

Whilst I buy quite a few e-books now, I do still buy paperbacks (my favourite authors) and the occasional hardback. I'll even admit to having bought a paperback copy of a few books after reading the e-books- though they tend to be reference books.

Space is a major issue. Homes are smaller, and I'm sure we'd all love to turn one room into our own personal library, but that just isn't possible for most readers. So we either buy e-books and limit solid copies to favourites (whatever your criteria of choice) or find other storage solutions.

 Many give books away when they've finished with them- go into any charity shop in the UK and you'll find lots of paperbacks for sale...

The most important thing is that readers are still buying books, and while people want books they'll need writers to write them.

So are you a digital convert, or a paper book stalwart? Or like me, a mixture of the two?


Anonymous said...

It's great to have the choice, isn't it? For holidays, I like my kindle - so easy to pack and with a wealth of reading material. In bed, I like a paperback - not too heavy, easy to plonk down when I'm getting heavy-eyed and it makes a great coaster when a morning cuppa gets delivered!

Patsy said...

I wasn't sure if I'd get on with a kindle, but after the first few pages I tend to stop noticing what I'm reading on and just concentrate on the story.

Carolb said...

Have to agree that travelling is when e-books are the best option, catchingcottonclouds.

Carolb said...

That's an interesting observation, Patsy, and thinking about it, yes, you don't pay attention to how you change page- you just want to read the story. :)

Maxi said...

I like a mixture, just like you. My ultimate preference is a hardback because, although not the most practical, especially for reading in the bath which I often do (bit heavy), I think they bring such a sense of having a real treat. Of course, I have a tonne of paperbacks too, and some on Kindle. There's a history of the Bronte sisters which I'd like to read at some point, having been to Haworth, but it's huge! I think I will probably go for it on Kindle just to save getting a hernia! We've also got a few on audio which are great for the car. My husband isn't a great book reader, partly due to time, but he recently got himself the Hitchhikers Guide Trilogy of Four (got to love Douglas Adams for doing a trilogy of four!) and has been listening to them when he gets the chance. I think it's great that there are different formats because different things appeal, and work for, different people.

On another note, don't you just love seeing old signs like that on buildings, giving a hint of past times :)

Carolb said...

I know just what you mean about hardbacks, Maxi. :-)

Douglas Adams is great. I bought my husband the paperback set of four a few years ago.

Every time I see these old signs on buildings I can imagine how everything around would have looked. No matter how modernised old buildings are, these signs still speak to us.