Do you love reading or do you love books?

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I listened to a fascinating report by “On the Media” about the status and future of book publishing.

Colin Robinson, of OR Books, claimed that now was a terrible time to be a reader:

…there is a huge overproduction of titles….if you give people a choice between a hundred things, that’s a real choice. If you give them a choice between half a million things, it’s no choice at all.

But Michael Cader, of Publishers Marketplace, argued the exact opposite:

For a reader, it’s boom times. There are more options. There’s price competition, there’s format competition. There’s new ways to read. You can get things delivered faster. They’re accessible online. There’s more voices, there’s more communities to serve you. So for readers, it’s terrific.

Is it possible for them both to be right?

As a reader, I want my books to be entertaining, enlightening and/or well-written. With traditionally published books, there is no guarantee that I will love a book. But there is an implied promise of quality, since the publisher invested time and money in the product. Hopefully, they will want each book to be good enough that I will come back for more. There may be no such promises with self-published titles, and more books in a crowded marketplace might very well make it harder to find the ones I will enjoy.

Maybe. But I’m not fully convinced.

There are always more books I’d like to read than ones I will have time to read. And I’m not one to plunk down large sums of money for the pleasure of one single story. I visit the library, the used bookstore, and read online. I find the price competition of a crowded market appealing.

Also, I like choosing for myself what makes a good read. Take this example. When the author of a blog I like put her self-published book up for sale, I bought it. I knew from reading the blog that I would enjoy her writing. In this case, my interest and my RSS feed made pretty good filters.

But then Brooke Gladstone moved on to this question: Do you love reading or do you love books?

Picking one or the other is almost like a mother admitting she has a favorite child.

If I think about browsing a bookstore, or the many books that litter my small apartment, or the smell of old pages mixed with a summer breeze coming through the window…I’m tempted to fall on the side of books.

But then I manage to be honest with myself. I do nearly half my reading online or on my laptop. I gobble up stories in various formats, some of which look nothing like books. I borrow more books than I buy, and I add very few books to my keeper shelf. In practice, I’m format-agnostic.

I like physical books because they are convenient.

But my love is reading.

So give me print books and digital books. Traditionally published books and self-published books. E-books and video books and enriched books.

I’ll take content in as many ways as I can get it, as long as the story is good.

Advertisements

1 Response to “Do you love reading or do you love books?”



  1. 1 What is the Week 14 Game of the Week? | 2009 Bowl Games Trackback on December 4, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




DISCLAIMER

I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
my book shelf:
Stacy Boyd's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

%d bloggers like this: