Newsweek is going fully digital. After 79 years in print, the magazine soon will only be available online. They are one more publisher crying “uncle” and giving up on the financial struggle to publish in print.

As a writer and very small publisher, I understand. I have two unpublished manuscripts at this time that are valuable in content but appeal to a small niche market. Producing such books in hardcopy is often unlikely to recoup the expenses much less make a profit.

Readers sit on both sides of the how-to-read-a-book fence. Some swear by the Ereaders while others only want a paper book they can hold in their hands. And then there are the rest of us who see the value in both.

I admit that reading on my Kindle is easy on the eyes and easy to hold. I enjoy it for the most part, especially for one-time reads, and the embedded links to related websites is a fun bonus. My luggage is considerably lighter than the days of carrying an armful of books and my book shelves are less cluttered. Ebooks and magazines are greener, less wasteful. I especially like the benefit of reading what I want without comments from surrounding people who can see the title.

However, there are hardcopy books and magazines I continue to purchase. I prefer to have a traditional book or magazine if it has a lot of color photos or graphics or ones I use for reference. I like to underline and write in the margins and it’s much easier to find these notations in a regular book.

I also enjoy physical bookstores and libraries over the online ones. It’s heaven for me to stroll through the aisles and be in the midst of all the books, to smell them, and feel their weight in my hands.

As a writer, my greatest concern is the ethereal aspect of digital. We have papyrus from the Egyptians, antique books in museums, and can buy ones over a hundred years in specialized book stores, on ebay, and Amazon Marketplace. This type of longevity can’t happen with digital publications. As the formats change, many will be left in the wind. There will be no retrieval for them.

I work many years gathering and sorting through research, writing and rewriting. I hope my books, especially future ones that may only be available electronically, aren’t among the casualties.

©2012, Mary K. Doyle

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