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Comparing books and eBooks

We’ve all grown up with traditional paper books, and if you’re like me you’ve loved them, too. Now we can get eBooks on all sorts of topics, fiction and non-fiction.

So what’s the difference between the two in terms of value? eBooks are cheaper than their paper equivalents, but does that reflect their value?

A traditional book – costs of the book in part has to cover the paper and printing process, plus transportation and storage so it is reasonable to pay more for a paper version of a book than an eBook. There is also the pleasure of curling up with a book in hand that an eBook reader just can’t replicate. I know that it is harder and slower for our eyes to read a computer screen so I assume the same apples for eBook readers of various sorts.

Both types of book involve the author’s time, the editing process (including professional editors in many cases) and marketing efforts.

An eBook can be received and the first page read within minutes of finding it, and that convenience suits many. It has the added convenience of being portable – as a friend of mine said, she could carry eight eBook travel guides with her on an overseas trip but the cost and weight of their paper equivalents would prevent carrying them.

So there is a jutification in paying for the books you choose.

However, the true value of any book is in the ideas shared by the author, along with the potential inspiration and impact on your life that comes with any good book. What you learn or imagine from the book is what you are really paying for, and that’s much harder to put a price on than the paper and printing.

PS In terms of a book that can truly change lives, have a look at End Malaria – it aims to inspire and teach while raising $20 per copy to save people form malaria. Unfortunately it appears available only though one retailer – if you find it elsewhere, please let me know!

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