Ebooks revisited

I remain unconvinced about ebooks. I have been reading virtual books on my iPad for three months now. I will still read eBooks, but I am not totally sold on the whole thing. Why not? you might ask. Of course I will tell you.

1. Ebooks are so portable, you can carry lots and lots of books in a small device. Yes, yes you can. And in some cases and in some situations this is a huge advantage. I admit that there are some books that are bulky and the eformat made the whole thing weigh less. But, the device isn’t as easily portable as a regular book. The device is breakable and needs more care when taking it with you than a regular old paperback. You don’t care if drop your paperback on the bus. You care if you drop your ereading device though!

2. Battery life. I’ve yet to run out of juice while reading a juicy bit in a book, but a low battery has prevented me from taking the device with me some days. It means I always have a back-up actual book on the go.

3. Lending and other ways of passing books on. One cannot lend a friend an ebook. One cannot pass on a good read to another person. Of course you can recommend the book to them, but you can’t say here, read this and pass them something tangible. Also it is questionable whether you can leave your ebooks to your heirs.

4. Page adjustments. I am not at all fond of the repagination that means I don’t know where I am in this book and how this passage could be quoted. This is slightly more awkward for academics (me) than for others, but still. I don’t know whether the great scene I just read on page X is also on page X of the virtual book my friend is reading, so I can’t tell her where to find it so we can talk about it.

There are four points to consider. Notice I didn’t say I am through with ereading, just that I am not totally sold on the whole idea.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Ebooks revisited

  1. In my experience with ebook reading, only 3 and 4 seem to be somewhat of a stumbling block for me.

    Regarding #4..I too would like to see them find a way to better preserve pagination. That said, it depends what you are reading. The actual pagination in a a classic novel usually doesn’t matter much anyways, because of the prevalence of different editions.

    Regarding #3. I see this as more of a problem with the prevailing ebook publishers as opposed to ebooks themselves. Ebooks can be shared or passed on. It could be trivial. It’s just that most publishers and device creators are dead set on preventing it.

    Thanks for the thoughts!

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