Recently someone posed a question about ebooks vs print books.    They were running out of subject lines to catch our attention, and “Good morning, m’dears” didn’t sound very catchy.  The brain buster of the day is: which do you prefer, ebooks or traditional books? (I know, such a mind bender, huh…) Seriously though, which do you prefer and why?

Me?  Different formats for times and places, whatever works is great.   With a house already packed to the gills with print books, it’s nice to enjoy alternative formats that can be accessed wherever we are in the world.  It is so convenient!  Boredom has finally met its match.

Just before sleeping, there are print books. (Wouldn’t want to fall asleep on top of an electronic device and break it!). In the car there are books on disc.   Now we have new toys, the iPad and iPhone, and the world of electronic books has opened its door. Free iPhone and iPad apps are available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, epub, and other readers, so an iPad owner can download books in almost any platform. Moreover, with ereaders we can often sample a portion of the book free to glimpse the author’s style before making a purchase decision. This is a very accommodating feature.

Yes, it’s a tempting new world.  The iPad tucks nicely under a pillow, in a bag, or inside a folding chair for an outdoor concert. While writing books on the computer, one can watch streaming video movies on one device and check email, social media, and other functions via smartphone.   Or watch a movie in bed and pause it to fall asleep reading a book.   Just be careful not to stay up all night exploring the incredible array of friends and activities associated with ebooks.

I have published in print books that make wonderful gifts and will last as long as they are loved.  Owners often display them face out on the shelf, something we cannot do with ebooks.  Besides writing, I edit ebooks, including some for print authors. Indie authors are an active group, and social media author groups are rapidly growing. It’s an exciting world where author and reader alike can catch a wave that is growing. Along with the books, we’re drawn heavily into a variety of emerging social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Be aware that ebook layout differs from print.  For one thing, due to the wide variety of readers and the ability to view in one- or two-page spreads with variable size type, the book may vary in length and the layout isn’t always guaranteed.  Chapters may not start where planned.  Pictures designed to display across the page from a poem may not.  Tables of contents may spread across three pages instead of two.  Careful consideration must be given to these features when designing an ebook.

Whether you like print books or easily accessible ebooks, there is a plethora of new resource material  entering the market.  It is a great time to be alive.

Personally,  I like to snuggle up with a print book on some days and read using the iPad on others.  Which do you prefer ~ print or ebooks?