Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch Admits to Preferring Digital Books

Posted on November 21, 2012 9:45 AM by Rob Williams

From most people, the words “I prefer eBooks” isn’t too shocking. After all, newspapers, books, magazines and so on have been moving over to digital platforms in droves for a while. But when you’re the CEO of a mega-bookstore, people tend to take notice. That’s where Barnes & Noble’s CEO William Lynch comes in. He recently admitted to preferring digital copies of books and magazines to paper, although as CNET reports, Lynch’s wife feels the opposite.

There’s one thing I can agree whole-heartily¬†with CNET’s Amanda Kooser on, “I’m on the fence about all this. I love the feel of a real book in my hands. I like the heft and the ability to loan it to someone else.” It wasn’t actually until late last year that I began to embrace the idea of reading books and other printed materials digitally, for reasons I’m sure many people could side with me on. It’s just nice to be able to kick back with a book or magazine, not having to deal with clunky e-reader designs or distracting e-mail notifications.

I caved in a couple of months ago, however. I bought a book to read on my tablet, and I must admit, I loved it. While many e-reader apps do leave a bit to be desired, the level of convenience is great. But books are one thing; what about magazines? This is another thing I was on the fence about, but I purchased my first a couple of weeks ago (through Zinio), and have been pretty impressed. The downside: on my 10-inch tablet, I still can’t comfortably read a page that takes up an entire screen, so I am finding that I’m zooming in and out often. But after spending a couple of sessions with a digital magazine, those kinds of actions get embedded into your brain well enough where you don’t even notice them anymore.

This of course leads me to the obvious question: who’s with me? And if you’re not, speak up and tell us why!

  • Kayden

    I’m not a big reader, the reason being is that I don’t like the feel of real books in my hand. I know it may sound like I’m being a devil advocate here but it’s true, I’ve never really liked it. I could read something on my PC no problem be it a book or what ever, but I’ve been waiting a long time for the ebook revolution and I for one am happy to see it finally coming to fruition for me to consider a dedicated device.

    • Rob Williams

      When it comes to paper media, I’m fine with magazines, but I’ve never liked books too much. A magazine, you can fold one page around the other and hold it comfortably. Books are a different story. With my tablet, it’s just much more convenient. Hold it with one hand and flick the page with the other.

  • Joe Sullivan

    I love the feel of real books. But … ebooks are convenient. What I like best about e-books, maybe, is not having to wait to have it delivered!

    • Rob Williams

      Same with magazines. I buy a football magazine from the UK, but the stores here that DO carry it end up getting the latest issue one week before the new one is released in the UK. Now, I get them instantly, and for way less money ($6 per issue, vs. $15).

  • Marfig

    To me ebooks are simply a matter of convenience. For that I like them.
    But I will never trade that for a real paper book if I can.

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