The Paperback Choice


In this guest post, science fiction author Shanna Lauffey reflects on the importance of tangible books.


In today’s climate of easy downloading and cheap e-books, there is still a culture of readers who enjoy the feel of a “real” book in their hands. Sometimes I’m one of them.

As an author of a time travel series, I sometimes look at collections of older authors and note that combined editions in paperback can be even more economical that electronic editions. For example, The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny, a popular Fantasy series, can be bought in a paperback edition for $16.99 new, not to mention used copies which sell for half as much. Ten books are included in the collection, so the cost per story is very good!

My books are always released in paperback, but the cost of a hard copy novella can add up when you’re collecting a series. Combined editions of my series, consisting of five episodes each, will be coming out in response to this.

I think e-books are here to stay and I do enjoy sitting and reading with one hand free to stroke the cat or look like a real geek with my smart phone in the other hand looking up something on Google that I’ve just read about, but I could never live without shelves of books to enhance my home. There’s something about opening the cover, looking for treasures for the imagination, which naturally appeals to the book lover. I also enjoy looking at my own books on my shelf, watching the series grow volume by volume. This gives me a sense of satisfaction of something accomplished; something I can hold in my hands and say, “I created that!”

Readers still need paperbacks and hardbacks to be available. Have you ever tried to follow a recipe on a reading device? They tend to go to standby. Furthermore, used books have always been a part of the book lover’s world. Shops that buy and sell all sorts of books were a part of my young life and though I seldom have the time to browse as I once did, I think it would be sad if this opportunity were to be lost forever.

I encourage any authors reading this to make your books available in paperback. (I personally prefer over Createspace, but it’s an individual choice and it’s not all that difficult.) There are still a lot of readers out there who do not own an electronic device. Loyalty to paperbacks, or hard copy in some form, is still alive and well. That is why my books will always come out in paperback as well as electronic copy. Although the e-book sales outstrip the hard copy sales, if one reader enjoyed my books because they were available in a traditional form, then it was worth the small effort it takes to give them that choice.


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