I don’t mind reading a short story on my computer from time to time. In fact, I do it daily with my Theme of Absence submissions. But when it comes to novels, I still feel like nothing beats a good ole paperback. You can take it everywhere you go (including the airport security line) and it doesn’t cost you a hundred bucks to replace if you forget it in the bathroom at the bus stop.
As a writer, however, I’m not as picky. I embrace electronic publishing–both web-based and e-reader based–and really should, considering I publish and have been published in that format. And while I may prefer paper as a reader, as a writer and publisher, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if electronic publishing replaces paper as the standard format for fiction, much like the way the CD replaced the cassette tape twenty years ago.
I will admit, though, that I still have an old-fashioned bias that print feels more “legitimate” than electronic formats. Pulling an anthology off my bookshelf to show a friend or family member one of my short stories just feels so much more cooler than pointing them to a webpage or a download. Same thing for the novel. “Hey check out that copyright page. Legitimate, no?”
But that’s just me.
In reality, print and e-format are equally legitimate methods of providing the content and everyone has their own preference. It’s just like music; some people (let’s call them weird people) still buy physical CDs, but other people haven’t bought a CD in a decade and prefer to buy the download. Or just listen to it on youtube, but let’s not go there.
Anyhow, I wouldn’t suggest you worry too much about the format of the market you submit to unless you really feel strongly about it. While having a print copy of your story or novel may feel good, publishing electronically may actually be more beneficial to a new writer. Small press ebooks can usually be purchased for less than their print versions, so readers may be more willing to take a chance on an author they are unfamiliar with if they can download the cheaper ebook or sample the writing in a free ezine.
So if you are a writer, don’t write off a certain type of format just because it doesn’t fit your tastes. There are plenty of readers who do enjoy that format and getting as many people as possible to read your writing should be your number one priority, regardless of its format.
After all, it’s not about getting published; it’s about getting read.