I'm trying to think of something special to write about... and coming up blank. But, just so it's on your radar, next week's postings might be switched up a bit. We'll see.
Now, about today's topic. I'm specifically talking about printed books you'd find on a shelf and digital titles you'd find on, say, a tablet (an eReader like the Kindle or a multi-purpose device like an iPad), though I'm also going to touch upon comic books.
The boons of digital works are the ease in which they travel (you can carry hundreds of stories to the beach, as opposed to the one or two printed works) and the space they take up (which is really no more than the size of the device you're reading them on... which is probably useful for a hundred other things. You miss out on the new/old book smell, but you also never lose a book to old age or damage. Pricing is generally standardized, with there sometimes being special sales or even free items. If someone doesn't want to be bogged down with hundreds of books to store, move, or organize, digital books are perfect.
There is, however, one final thing that I think really puts printed works over digital. It is much, much easier to lend your favorite book to a friend or family member with a physical item. It's not impossible with a tablet (you can add them to your account or share the physical tablet), but it is much more difficult and less secure. The worst that will happen to your printed work is they don't give it back and you're out a couple bucks.
Well, unless you lend out books like me and you're out a couple bucks times a bunch of books...
Winner: Printed Novels! By the way, this is 100% opinion, in case you decided to skip the text above!
|A physical collection vs...|
|...A digital one.|
I will say one thing for digital that it trumps printed comic books in a way that doesn't necessarily happen with novels: it is MUCH easier to find a complete series/run or buy in bulk on a digital outlet. I own the entire series of The Invincible Iron Man (up until 2009, I think) on a disc that would have taken me ages (and a good amount of cash) to collect.
Winner: Printed Comics, though digital has a strong pull on several aspects. I would personally read a digital comic book, where I probably wouldn't read a digital novel.
I want to make a small note now that I've shown my colors as a print elitist. As a writer, I find digital releases have the potential to be much, much more interesting than printed works. I'm writing one story on a blog, which will allow me to play with user comments, internet links, and order of reading. Another story I'm writing has a Wiki component I'm creating alongside it. The digital version allows me to me a bit more interactive with links and the like, where it's much more difficult to recreate similar interaction on printed media.
Until I see more novels actually making use of digital capabilities, however, I feel print remains superior. I'm hoping we see more and more interactivity with novels in the future, though, and will personally write things that work best digitally.
I'd really love to hear your thoughts on Digital vs Print, either on some key points I've overlooked or on some titles that make Print or Digital versions stand out. Leave a comment below!!