September 16 – 22: “Do you prefer to read a print book or on an E-Reader, and why?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5This week we’re rekindling the age-old debate: paper book vs. e-book. Join ITW Members Joanna Davidson Politano, DiAnn Mills, Don Helin and Steve Anderson as they discuss whether they prefer to read a print book or on an e-reader. Follow along in the comments section below!


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.


Joanna Davidson Politano writes historical novels of mystery and romance, including her debut Lady Jayne Disappears. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.


Steve Anderson is the author of the Kaspar Brothers novels (The Losing RoleLiberated, Lost Kin) and other books. Under False Flags is the prequel to his latest novel, The Preserve. Anderson was a Fulbright Fellow in Germany and is a translator of bestselling German fiction as well as a freelance editor. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


During his time in the military, Don Helin served at a number of stateside posts as well as overseas in Vietnam and Germany. He is the author of six thrillers that draw from his military experience including three tours in the Pentagon. His novel, Secret Assault was selected as the Best Suspense/Thriller at the 2015 Indie Book Awards. Don is a member of International Thriller Writers and a mentor with Mystery Writers of America.


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  1. At the risk of sounding like I’m dodging my roundtable responsibility, I have to say that I prefer both print books and e-reading. It depends on the use. I like a hardback or quality paperback for a novel I’m looking forward to, for example. I always love the feel of print; how could you not? E-reading does come in handy, though. When I’m reading and researching for, say, a historical thriller, having text search is a must. And as a literary translator, I love being able to look up German words and phrases right in a given passage.

    I should add that I was trying out e-books on Palm Pilots (remember those?) way back before the explosion of Kindle and others, so the adjustment to e-readers was pretty gradual for me. They exist side by side in my reading world. This all said, it’s good to see that e-book reading has plateaued lately and that print books remain popular. At one point I felt a little guilty that I was contributing to the demise of print in my own little way by relying on e-books!

  2. I prefer an e-reader for fiction. I can take a mobile device with me wherever I go and dive into the story’s adventure. Sometimes I highlight witty, memorable, or clever phrasing in the e-version, but normally I’m too absorbed in the novel.

    For nonfiction, I prefer a print book. While I can highlight and make notes on an e-reader, I want to “hold” the information in my hands and shelve it physically when I’m finished.

    1. All great reasons, Diann. The portability of having multiple e-books on an e-reader is hard to beat. The research/reference books I value most will always be waiting on my bookshelf in their print versions. They somehow seem more authentic trustworthy that way!

  3. I read on the Kindle app on my IPad when I read ebooks. Mostly I load up when travelling, for the lack of weight and no problem with lugging around a book I’ve finished if I want to keep it. That said I left a thick paperback Inspector Lynley novel in a hotel in Amman and I gave my copy of Persuasion to our guide in Cuba who was hungry for any books he could get his hands on. Also bought Robert Harris’s Pompei in a Rome bookshop because we’d just been there and it was a justifiable souvenir–sort of.

    But the back lit e reader app came into it’s own in a cabin in Botswana where not only was the bed swathed in a black shroud-like mosquito net but the only light switch was by the door a few metres away. When the light was off it was absolutely and utterly pitch black!

    1. There’s nothing like handing off or trading a print copy, Elisabeth. Great point. That’s definitely one thing e-books might not ever replace anytime soon, mostly because publishers and retailers don’t want it to happen, I expect.

  4. It”s been ten years or so since the ebook hit the industry with many forecasting the end of Independent book stores and a drop in readership of paper novels. These forecasters felt that the ease of having all your books easily available on your computer with the ability to adjust lighting and size of font would kill other parts of the industry.
    However that didn’t happen. People still love their books and Indie stores are alive and well.
    People love a signed book. Looks good in their library. And maybe to be old fashioned, I just like to hold a book and read it in the quiet of the evening

    1. Good point about a signed book, Don. Not easy to do on an ebook, and just not the same. And I love finding my books on the shelves, be it in a library or bookstore, and being able to sign them.

    2. My last half dozen books have been e books only which makes book signings pretty much impossible, and from what I hear they can be difficult animals at the best of times.

      A teetering pile of books-to-be read beside the bed is very satisfying, I feel.

  5. One of the points that is important is if your books are in ebook as well as print. That way no matter what your readers prefer, you can meet the demand. The only problem for me right now is not having audio books. There are a surprising number of people who want audio books, whether it’s a vision issue or they like to listen to audio books while driving. Have the rest of you found your readers are asking for audio books?

  6. A problem for me right now is not having audio books. There are a surprising number of people who want audio books, whether it’s a vision issue or they like to listen to audio books while driving. Have the rest of you found your readers are asking for audio books?

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