Paper versus PDF? That seems to be a hot topic these days. I recently had a conversation with one of my long time gaming friends and we were discussing my recent acquisition of the new Fate Core books. He was quick to chime in that he much preferred PDF versions of books these days. In fact, he confessed that he was looking to purge the majority of his vast book collection and re-acquire the books in a digital format. Why do people prefer digital over physical or even physical over digital? I fall somewhere in the middle of this issue and I need to decide which direction I am going.
I appreciate the portability of digital books. God knows I know enough of them myself. I have hundreds at my fingertips on my iPad and through my cloud storage. In having them at fingertips in one portable device I no longer have to carry heavy stacks of books to play or run a game (saves my back). There is something to be said for holding and flipping through a physical book that just can’t be replaced or replicated through the use of digital media. We all know that digital media is most definitely cheaper than physical books. Though in some cases it is not all that much cheaper. Saving a few dollars with each purchase adds up and increases my ability to buy additionalbooks, albeit in digital form. Another advantage to having a larger digital footprint is that it reduces the amount of space dedicated to physical products in one’s home.
The hurdle that I face in converting to a 100% (or close to that) digital collection is the cost to buy the books that I would be replacing. I know that I would recover some or even all of the cost once I sold off the vast majority of my books, but this is a daunting task. I have about two hundred books and modules that I would want to replace if I headed in this direction. I know this post is not about be, but it is hard to talk about this subject with out putting it into context, if not me then whom?
Let me repeat; there is just something about hold and turning pages in a physical book that excites me. Maybe I am dying breed of gamer, but I love my dead tree books, but I am not afraid to face the changes in medium or mindset. I find the idea of not having a physical book to use or read hard to fathom as a permanent change, but over time I am moving to a more and more digitia footprint. See, you can teach an old dog new tricks! It just takes a while for some of us.