The Lich

The Lich

a small phylactery containing role-playing ideas and spirit

#RPGaDay 8: Hardcover, softcover, or digital?

Delay Note: Days 5+ were delayed to match September because I got completely owned by some kind of infectious disease for about a week. Verdict is still out on what it was, but as one of the possible scenarios was dengue, no chances were taken. After that was over, I then played catch-up with my life for the rest of August, which brings us to now. (And then disaster strikes again and I lose my laptop, but I’m back on the train now.)

Even today, I still don’t have a Kindle. When it first launched, the Kindle represented to me something anathema — a book without tactile features, lifeless and dead. It would have no smell, no texture, and worst of all, no fixed page numbering, and thus no standardisation even within a single edition of a text. As a teacher, that last trait put the nail in the coffin for me on digital books; I need page numbers because page numbers let you perform a book’s primary purpose, which is to share what is within it to others. (Otherwise, why is the book written at all?)

I love hardcovers the most. When I lived in Canada, obtaining a hardcover roleplaying book was as simple as heading over to the nearest Chapters (D&D) or placing orders online through Amazon.ca (where I got all my Exalted books, next day free delivery). In the Philippines, however, that simplicity ended. When I first moved here, the local customs offices defied the international Florence Agreement that the Philippines had signed into which states that books, all books, are to be duty-free, and when they saw the large and expensive (for a book) RPG titles I was importing, they stuck their greedy knives in me with glee until an order from the Department of Finance, which was disseminated to the public to use against corrupt officials, was handed down banning the tax of, finally, all books. Still, it was several years before that manifested, so between my love for fixed page numbers and the reality that bringing in books was too expensive, especially for the smaller indie titles, a compromised was formed: PDFs.

I still don’t have a Kindle, but my iPad is now my roleplaying repository with a library that perhaps rivals my collection of hardcovers across two continents. I’ve become so used to these digital copies now that I even browse them in ritual at night, in bed, before I sleep, something far too difficult to do with a hardcover book. That I made that shift so completely still surprises me.

My hardcover collection still slowly grows, but now no longer at the same pace as my digital one. Digital files have also helped me finally rid myself of the kind of book that cause me the most trouble — pesky softcovers! So I can take hardcovers and digital now, but no paradigm shift will ever get me to accept a softcover gladly.

No to softcovers!

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