RPGaDay 2016 – Day 8
Do you prefer hardcover, softcover, or electronic books? What are the benefits of your preference?
Short Answer: PDF’s are more convenient, but I find printed books easier to read.
Long Answer: Did you ever play DnD 3/3.5? If you did, how many books did you own? If it was any more than a few you’ll know why PDFs and eBooks are so popular; even if you’re only buying paperbacks, they get heavy fast. That said, there’s still an intrinsic joy to opening a physical book and thumbing through its pages.
This is the issue with the question – for me there is no single answer. One the one hand, I like the old school feel of printed books. On the other, it’s much, much easier to find and buy books in an electronic format. This might not seem like much of an issue in bigger markets like America and the UK, but we aren’t so lucky here in New Zealand. In fact, one of the joys of attending Gen Con was discovering all sorts of new games. How long do you think it would have taken me to find Hollow Earth Expedition had I not gone to Gen Con?
If I had to pick one, I would have to go with… hardcover. PDFs are easier to get, but it’s a lot easier to get people interested in a game when you can hand them a physical book. Most important of all, they never run out of battery. You can spend an entire day gaming with your friends and not once have to plug your book into a charger. Yes, you do run the risk of damaging your book if you spill a drink over it, but the same is true with electronic devices.
For all the technological advances we make, I suspect printed books will never really go away. They might fall out of favour eventually, but I suspect a time will come when they become the new vinyl. Popular with old school fans who remember how gaming was and don’t mind putting up with the occasional faded page or torn spine to relive those memories once again.