This is a pretty easy answer for me. There is nothing like holding a book in hand and so digital is a long lost loser in that regard. Between the styles of book though hardcover is the clear winner. It has substance and it has style. But are there alternatives to this? Do I want to mix things up a bit? There is a time and a place for everything.
Digital is here and it is here to stay. I was often envious of people in the early days (late 90’s) that had their Kindle in their hand. I so wanted one! Digital ink, no real glare and the ability to house thousands of books! It was a technical fantasy that I have never been able to sate to this day. Instead of the Kindle we opted for the more versatile iPad to entice my wife more into the technical world than anything.
Problem with that is the glare but then the positive is the fact that you can have full colour images and complicated layouts represented easily. I would prefer it all to be in a Kindle format but in reality RPG books need the more complicated layouts and so I am glad I got the iPad. Problem with the iPad I find is that I can’t read for extended periods. While it is good to have the books on hand, I just can’t sit and read them at any length. I use the iPad to review perhaps review copies of books and PWYW if I am considering purchasing a hardcopy but unless there is no other form than the PDF (or the like) I will not rely on the digital form for reading.
Hardcover or softcover it does not matter. This is the form that I much prefer. I love softcovers for at the table and quick access because they are built for rough and tumble of a game. Hardback versions of books I prefer to keep like a collectors edition kind of feel that I can look at afar or read jealously when I am in bed (not that I get a lot of reading time these days!). Of course that sometimes means that I need to buy the same book in a couple of formats, and in fact, sometimes it is in all three (digital, soft and hardback) but that is OK – that is what keeps the industry running!
In reality, I can live with any format but I do prefer the killed tree versions for the tactile experience and the permanency of the product. But any format, no matter how ludicrous or out there, will be patronized by me as long as it means that the industry I love manages to keep plodding along!