When I posted about loaning ebooks yesterday I wondered whether people’s comments – either explicitly or obliquely – would make reference to another subject I’m intrigued about, which is readers’ attitudes towards ebooks. In particular, the differences in the way readers treat an ebook (for eg letting friends borrow them) as opposed to a print book.
I think this did come through in some of the comments so I wanted to ‘strike while the iron was hot’ and hit people with this post because I believe the issues are strongly linked.
If you are a follower of reader and author blogs you’ve probably seen remarks or even the odd debate about whether people think ebooks are ‘real’. I don’t believe this has anything to do with questions about efiction being an ‘authentic’ creative work, but instead everything to do with the ephemeral or perhaps intangible nature of the digital format.
Again, I am fascinated that some readers feel ebooks aren’t real because they can’t treat them, touch them, handle them, shelve them, borrow them, etc in the same way they would a print book. I admit to occasionally feeling this myself. I even had to reword some parts of my previous post where I’d described print as being a ‘proper’ book.
Perhaps the whole issue will disappear as our cultural views and practices towards books – whatever their form – evolve?
Maybe if a Mission Impossible style self-destruct is developed for ebook loaning we’ll feel more comfortable and attitudes will change?
Yet, there’s a certain irony in it all, don’t you think?
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