Sunday, October 2, 2011

The New Paper or Plastic? by @mrneil98

In my life, I am asked one question more than any other, “Paper or plastic?” It always leads to a serious debate; is paper really more environmentally friendly? Will a plastic bag out live my grandchildren? Within the last decade, a new debate has emerged, “e-book or traditional book?” Some use the same environmental arguments, with both sides claiming to be “greener”. Traditional books last longer and are biodegradable, but e-readers can hold an entire library.

I consider myself a traditionalist, haunting the local libraries and reserving new thrillers months before their release date. Perusing garage sales and thrift stores, I’ve amassed my own library, which crowds my bedroom nightstand and ultimately fills boxes on my basement shelves. Sticking my nose in a musty paperback with pages dog-eared by multiple readers has always been my favorite past time. Then last November, I was cajoled by my family to take the leap. I am now hooked on my Nook. It is easy to use, convenient and allows me to purchase a book and begin reading within minutes.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the e-reader phenomena has been the ability for independent writers to get their works distributed to potential readers. For the last century, publishers have decided whose work was worthy enough for the masses, but e-publishing has turned the system on its ear. With support networks like the Independent Book Collective (IBC) and the Independent Author Network (IAN), writers not only have a path to publishing their work but also assistance with finding a market.

Through these networks, I’ve discovered authors like Carolyn McCray (30 Pieces of Silver), Cristyn West (Plain Jane), Doug Dorow (The 9th District) and many others who are now a part of my electronic library. Another bonus is that these books were purchased for a fraction of the cost. Next week, I will be reviewing “Petroplague” and interviewing its author, Amy Rogers. Amy is a member of the International Thriller Writers and her blog can be found at

I truly have become an e-book convert and at this summer’s Thrillerfest, I shamelessly asked my favorite writers to autograph my Nook, which surprisingly has become a fairly common request at these gatherings. As for my personal collection, some I will donate to my high school, others to the local library, but the hard covers and paperbacks signed by Rollins, Preston and Child, Morrell and Boyd Morrison, I will hang on to for a while.

In recent years, I skip both paper and plastic and bring my groceries home in a reusable cloth bag. I have also discovered a third way for getting my “thriller rocks on”, the audio book. I tend to listen to novels that I’ve previously enjoyed and I’m often surprised and entertained by the vocal talents’ interpretation of the action. So what’s the best way to experience a good read; paper, plastic or spoken word? You tell me! Leave a comment.

No comments:

Post a Comment