Not too long ago, Tam put up a post talking about e-books and e-readers. While I opined that I do like the convenience and generally lower price of e-books, I prefer real books. I also noted
Generally, I see ebooks as supplements to real books, anyway. I’ll buy the physical copy of books I like enough about to make part of my collection (which ends up being most of the books I read), but if I don’t like it, I’ve spent less on the ebook than I would have on the hardcopy.
Both have advantages and disadvantages, and one is not a complete replacement for the other.
E-books are nice. The e-readers are more compact and easier to travel with than most regular books, and they give you the ability to carry as many books as you would like at once without having to carry around an extra suitcase (or more) just for books. With free e-book sites like Project Gutenberg and Baen’s free library, you can download an amazing number of free books that are DRM free – some of which are also out of print and hard to find. There are, of course, the big sites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble for paid titles, even if they are DRM restricted, and there are some publisher sites out there as well – foremost among them being Webscription, which is run by Baen publishing, where all titles are DRM-free and some advance copies of new titles are offered before the official publication date.
But, even with all of these advantages, nothing beats holding a real, paper book and reading the printed words off an actual physical page. If I buy an e-book, chances are that I will also eventually buy the physical book as well. For some books, having a physical copy is simply as mandatory as breathing.
My latest acquisition goes beyond even that.
The Hobbitt by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of those books that just cries out for you to own a hardcover, leather-bound* edition. With a $35 price tag, plus my B&N membership discount, plus the recent release of pictures from the upcoming movie, I just couldn’t resist any longer. So today it is mine. This is a boxed edition, and both the box and book appear to me to be well made and quite elegant.
As you can see here, the cover and spine are decorated in red and gold leaf, with the title and author information in both English and in dwarf-runes.
It also contains several beautiful illustrations, in addition to the original maps. And yes, I did use my Nook Color to hold it open for the picture.
A beautiful edition of a wonderful work of literature. Now, I just need to save up and get the similar edition of The Lord of the Rings. The 50th Anniversary Edition looks good, but I do really want the Red Leatherette Collector’s Edition – a callback to The Red Book of Westmarch from the story.
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* Leatherette in this case, but I think true leather-bound books are only rarely made these days, and this is as close as I’ll probably ever actually be able to afford.