Thursday, October 21, 2010

Discussion: Physical vs. Digital

First, apologies for two discussions in a row (there may be a third tomorrow). This week has been a swamp with school work and a minor family emergency. I'll try and have a post with some substance (a review or something other than discussion in other words) for tomorrow.

For now though, I am curious how people feel about Physical books and Digital books. You can't really deny that e-books are starting to take the world by storm, and some games are only really available in an e-book format. The question is then, which do you prefer? DO you have a preference at all? Both do have their strengths, and weaknesses. I'll list some below.

Strengths: Easy to pass around a table, can book mark things you specifically want, that "reading a book feeel", doesn't require power to read, and the ability to 'guesstimate' about where something is and just open the book to there by feel.

Weaknesses: Harder to share while keeping it in view, harder to back up, are often heavy, easier to damage, harder to transport.

Strengths: Can share without giving up your copy, keep everything in one spot, easy to transport a large number of books, can bring with you to anywhere you have power or an online connection, easy to back up, and easy to make copies of specific pages with just a printer.

Weaknesses: Some people don't like reading off a screen, harder to just 'guess' about where you were, can't show someone the section of a book without also showing everything going on on your computer, no 'reading a book feel', and harder to bookmark a specific section you really like.

Both probably have a lot more than that, and if you have some let us know, but for now which do you prefer and why?

Personally, I'm a fan of physical books. While sometimes the weight and clunkiness can get in the way, I prefer not having a bunch of computers up and running at game for people to be able to look at rules. The ability to pass a book around is also second to none. I have ran games from a digital only copy of the rules, and it worked, but the game went smoother once there were physical copies present as well. So, I guess I am closer to the middle, but leaning towards Physical books better the slight favorite. You?

1 comment:

  1. Honestly that is a tough question. But I would have to say I prefer to have the physical books. They are easier to look through and read, and better for finding specific things faster generally. The exception to that being if the digital copy is actually search-able.

    Even though there are all the pros and cons for both related to ease and convenience my reason for preferring the physical copy has nothing really to do with that. Its really that I like not having the distraction of electronics around, even if its something like a cyber-punk game. I find that having computers or other gadgets around tends to distract people and take everyone out of the experience more. Sharing a book during a game is I guess far more intimate than someone sitting at a computer, it doesn't separate you from the space as much. And I've always found the best games are the ones where everyone stays involved and engaged as much as possible. So my opinion is based far more on feeling.

    That being said I like it when everyone has a digital copy of the books so that outside of game time they can be reading them and no one has to lend out the fragile and sometimes rare books.