14 February 2011


I've had some interesting feedback lately that brings a question to mind. That question is: Do readers have different expectations for ebooks and print books? It's clear from my small experience that publishers certainly do. For better or worse, I don't know. I do find it interesting. The top-most discrepancy between the two seems to be the amount of "white space on the page". Ebooks tend to have more white space on the page than print books (which I find silly, as it really comes down to formatting, IMO). Case in point, I'm reading a print techno-thriller and an ebook cozy mystery. All genres aside, I will say that there's a helluva a lot more text per page in the print book, and yet it's far more compelling than the less text-heavy ebook. I'm not trying to slam the medium, mind you, I just wonder where this notion came from. Do readers have different expectations for the different media, or is this something that's been manufactured, or simply misinterpreted, by publishers? My only expectation for any book I choose to read, particularly any book I choose to purchase rather than borrow from the library, is that it live up to its potential.

What do you think? Have you even thought about it? Am I over-thinking it? (I suspect the last is the case. LOL)


Anonymous said...

My expectations regarding ebooks - particularly ones that are only electronic - are less than what I expect from a print book. I don't expect an ebook to be awesome, just entertaining. And I'm more forgiving about plot points, etc.

I think that's because my exposure to ebooks came by way of fan fiction, where the quality is mostly so-so, but usually pretty fun.

It's interesting what you mentioned about the white space. I wonder if it makes it easier to read on a screen if there's more.

Maia Strong said...

Now that's an interesting point. I have different expectations of fanfiction, but not because it comes to me online. Rather, because it's free. I'll cut a bit of slack for a story I don't have to pay for, that's written out of love of a fandom, but if I've purchased a book, which I hope was also written out of love (for the genre, for the characters, for the world, etc.), that's another matter.

That's my thought too on the white space issue. Part of me understands it, but most of me thinks it's silly.