I love books! When I was younger I would read books at school, at home, in the car, anywhere I could. I loved holding books and hated having to change my position while lying in bed depending on whether I was reading the left page or the right.
There is nothing like a printed book. The smell of the pages, the satisfaction of turning them, the weight of the book in your hand, it is all part of the reading experience.
When books get transferred from print to a digital screen, something about it changes. The aura or the vibe is different, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but is clearly unlike the printed books we grew up with. It is a very interesting concept though, that the same words can have a different feel just depending on what medium you read them through.
There are many advantages of having digital photos of books and their pages because in a way it is like transferring the feel of the book, and what the reader would see if they were reading the book in printed form to a computer screen.
A book digitally transcribed is also a good option because it keeps the integrity of the book and usually makes the reading easy to search.
If a library is burning to the ground, and I have time to save one thing: a book on a shelf, a digital photo of the book and its pages, or the book or manuscript digitally transcribed (that is, typed into a computer file or files), I would save the photo copy of the book because at least it captures what the printed version looks like and what a person would see while they read it on paper. This would also preserve the book so that it could be spread and shared over and over. If I saved the printed version, to share it I would probably have to scan it anyway, or it could disappear somewhere and never be seen again, and then no one would be able to read it. With a digital copy, the book and its contents are safe whether the place burns or if the printed copy gets lost.
This article makes the argument that eBooks vs printed books is actually not an issue http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-okelly/post_6535_b_4504959.html, which is an interesting stance, but since I place value in the digital version of the book and the printed, the photos of a book and its pages seems to be the most reasonable.