MONDAY JULY 24, 2017
 
Blog IN PRINT
WHY E-BOOKS ARE SUPERIOR TO PRINT
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BY: Noel Boivin and Christopher Lombardo

There's a revolution going on in publishing and it has nothing to do with flouting rules asking that you not treat major bookstore chains like libraries with better coffee. In fact, it's this revolution that is turning what were once bookstores into “that big empty space that not even vampire books can save from becoming a Target.” We're talking, of course, about the great e-book takeover.

That this would happen seems a no-brainer. After all, why weigh down your holiday luggage with heavy books when you can save that space for duty free rum and exotic pets? Still there are those who admire traditional books for more than their ability to teach cockroaches that they're not so tough after all.

Nostalgia for print books among those for whom they are primarily a source of dust and back strain while moving is high. This is despite the fact that what matters most in publishing – the words and getting them to as many as people as possible – actually benefits from a format that's mould resistant and can be disseminated worldwide instantly.

Having just transitioned from the print to the e-book world with our latest collection of funnies, Tastes Like Human: The Shark Guys' Book of Bitingly Funny Lists, we thought we'd offer our case for why more authors should leave the nostalgia for things that deserve it like the Jerry Lewis telethon and '80s TV stars staging comebacks. Here are our Top 10 reasons why E-books are superior to print!

10.  No More Snooping

Some of us would like to spend our morning commutes getting stuck into the likes of The Adventures of Housewife Wendy and the Perpetually Open Housecoat, but either discretion reins us in or we're forced to stick the cover of some other more socially acceptable dross over it. You can fill the memory card of your e-reader with all the smut, low-brow humour, pop star autobiographies and politically repellent writing you want and that the guy across the aisle won't be a bit suspicious ... unless you look weird.

9. Poseurs Be Gone

E-books put an end to the age when someone ostentatiously breaks out something by Flaubert and appears engrossed while actually staring at the centres of pages and turning them at one-and-a-half minute intervals.

8. Extending Libraries' Shelf Life

Thankfully for those of us who hold dear the tenets of the Dewey decimal system, libraries are embracing e-books and the revolution is unlikely to see them go the way of the chain store. However, e-books will significantly improve the library experience as overdue fees would be pointless as there's nothing to return and you won't have to put up with some asshole taking out a book before you and marking it up with margin notes and underlined passages.

7. Hi Gene! I Don't Care That You Didn't Wash!

With e-books there is no need to concern yourself with whether you are being given both the gift of literature and the plague when borrowing a book from another person or a library. Also e-books eliminate the need to worry about whether the book you are now holding had previously been a "toilet read."

6. They Promote Religious Harmony

Burning an e-Qur'an wouldn't have quite the same effect. In fact, unless you clearly showed the contents of the memory card prior to the torching nobody would be the wiser.

5. Good for the Weak-Wristed

Reading should not be a physically demanding exercise but lying back on a hammock while trying to hold up someone’s lengthy memoirs sometimes turns out into an involuntary workout, necessitating the need to sink one's wrist in ice-water and curse the writer's verbosity. With e-books, even the most weak-wristed among us would be able to bench press a metropolitan library's worth of material with nary a twinge.

4. Break-ups are Easier

As The Ginger Man author JP Donleavy said e-books are "a bad thing ... [because traditional books] help prevent divorces thanks to the sheer bother of arguing over who owns what.” But we would argue why stay in an unhappy relationship? Far better to go the e-book route so when you and your partner decide to call it quits all it takes is a quick folder deletion to avoid all the trouble of dividing up print books with the inevitable knock-down, drag-out over who gets to keep the Lucy Maude Montgomery unedited bootleg set.

3. No More Loaning Books

One of the main problems with traditional books was having to plop down $30 for a pristine hardcover edition of something by your favourite author only to have some mooch come along and say, "You mind if I borrow that" and for said tome to disappear into the freeloaders' cosmos where everything lent is considered a gift. With e-books the inability to lend books – an often criticized facet of the technology – means that you keep what you pay for.

2. There's Dignity in Digital

No longer will doors be propped open with the end product of years' worth of some poor slob's labours nor will there be any need for authors to experience the indignity of the bargain bin.

1. Options When Things Get Tedious

Taking a trip somewhere remote with only one or two paperbacks is a holiday reader's gamble. If you're out on a lake and pull out a book that turns out to be something that would be better tied to a rock and dropped to the bottom of that particular body of water, you'll have little choice but to press on. E-readers offer a wealth of welcome distractions to keep you from being compelled to enjoy nature in such circumstances – e-mail, access to all manner of social media, the lot.

Noel Boivin and Christopher Lombardo are the co-authors of Tastes Like Human: The Shark Guys’ Book of Bitingly Funny Lists and The Man Who Scared a Shark to Death and Other True Tales of Drunken Debauchery (Penguin). www.thesharkguys.com

3 Comments | Add a Comment
Someone should "thoreau" Nobody overboard...jeez, lighten up
Hey Henry David Thoreau, I think this was a humor piece. I guess that's an alien genre to you? It's the reason why the French love Jerry Lewis and monkeys appear on TV.
What a horrible article. The first 9 'reasons' are either ridiculously forced or else they smack of trying to one up somebody. "I'm a selfish asshole" sums up number 3. Number 9 is along the lines of "who cares?" I mean, really? Really?And if you HAVE to go out into nature and are stuck with a bad book, could you consider, perhaps, enjoying what is around you? Maybe, just maybe, you'll see what Thoreau meant by some of what he wrote about nature. -Hey, maybe you could pretend to read 'On Walden's Pond' while being on his pond or maybe 'Life in the Woods' while hanging out on the side of it!
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