Books versus eBooks

My Opinion

We have all heard in the media about the rise in popularity of eBooks and the widespread sales of eBook readers such as the Amazon Kindle and just how convenient they are. I do not dispute this. What irritates me is the assertion that eBooks are going to replace proper paper books in the future and that bookshops will become only purveyors of antiques.

I am well-renowned via this website as being a BOOK collector, particularly on themes such as TV Series and TV Sci Fi Series, comic strips and Disney novels. I pride myself on a substantial collection which I enjoy having and sharing via this site. So imagine my dismay when some publishers decide to publish some books in eBook form only. In my opinion, by publishing in electronic form only they are denying a very large proportion of the population of ever owning the proper books for their collections - particularly, for example, where the collection might be part of a fan-based one centred on a specific TV show.

One such TV show I am referring to is 'The Sarah Jane Adventures', the hugely popular spin-off series from the BBC's 'Doctor Who' which has a massive following amongst the young and amongst seasoned fans. Novelisations of many of the episodes were published by BBC Books (as an imprint of Penguin Books) until 2010. Then in November 2010 the last two were published as eBooks only…

"Death of the Doctor" and "The Nightmare Man"

Surely restricting sales of a book to only those who have eBook readers, not only reduces the author's potential royalties, but also dishonours the memory of Lis Sladen (who tragically died at an unfairly young age in early 2011) by denying her hundreds of thousands of fans the chance to own and treasure a real book in the series, a series that has ended before its time.

I am not saying eBooks should be abolished, I am saying that books should ALWAYS, first and foremost, be BOOKS! They should be offered both as real books and eBooks simultaneously much like DVDs and Blu-Rays are issued at the same time. People should have the choice of format, not be told they cannot. As a collector myself, I feel it is impossible to own and 'treasure' an electronic file.

Another annoying feature of the eBook phenomenon is where some publishers now release generally as an eBook and then offer (usually only via their own websites) the option of 'printing on demand' so that you can indeed buy a proper book. Whilst this is helpful for those of us who collect actual books, the problem with this option is that you are then tied to the price set by the publisher and cannot enjoy competitive pricing via the likes of other online retailers such as Amazon or Tesco. You would also have to know about that option!

My example here is the Stargate TV show books published by Fandemonium Books. Up until the time of writing a total of 35 proper books had been published across the three TV series...
Stargate : SG1, Stargate : Atlantis and Stargate Universe
All these books, in addition to being available via their website, were also available on Amazon and other online retailers… until now! From Stargate : SG1 No 18 (Transitions) onwards the books are released as eBooks with print on demand only available via their website and you have to pay the postage to send it to you (Amazon have free postage!).

"Stargate : SG1 No 18 - Transitions"

If any publishers refer to my site, I hope they see this article - I know I am not alone in feeling this way about Books vs eBooks. Publishers - please take note : we also want books to be published as BOOKS. Give us back our right to CHOOSE the format of our reading material!