To Kindle or Not To Kindle?

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To Kindle or Not To Kindle?

Jul 30, 2011, 6:14am

For several years I've been in denial about electronic readers. I mean, I love the book covers, the smell of books, etc. However, all my friends have one (peer pressure at THIS age?) and I had so many points on Amazon that I could get one for "free" I went for it. I just love it! It's small enough to carry in my purse. I can lay in bed and read at night WITHOUT a light (I also got a lighted cover) and I can adjust the font so I do NOT need reading glasses for it. I can take notes on it as I read, it has 2 built in dictionaries.......I can go on and on. But now.........those the TBR pile.........I want to read them........but not THEM.........

Sep 28, 2011, 7:38am

This is definitely a problem for those of us who have put their money (literally) on print books. There definitely is the sensory pleasure of the things as objects. For myself, I like to add a dimension of "where has it been?" - I like to buy my books used, preferably with marginal notes but in any case, with their own history.

However, like you, I've dabbled with the electronic. In my own case, I've applied a requirement that the ebook be in pdf format - so I can use any of the free open-source readers. I have them on a laptop and I too can read in bed. In fact, it's better than a print book for reading in bed - you put the laptop on your tummy and you only need put a hand out now and then to page-down. When reading foreign language, you can have an electronic dictionary open right next to what you're reading - no fiddling with two physical things open on your lap at once. Since I read a lot of history, google books has been from heaven; I have more than a hundred ebooks from them, both read and awaiting reading.

Long run, I think print books are doomed. I have a houseful of print books - like many people here, I don't have enough shelves for my holdings, nor room space enough for the additional shelves needed. I've got a huge lifetime investment in them, and it is turning out that it is an investment of declining value. Considering the space requirements, I can easily foresee the time coming when a large collection of print books is a liability.

I won't go through the disadvantages of ebooks but simply condense it down to a property argument. Print books are flat mine. They'll last 100 years, no problem, with no need for buying a new piece of reader software every time the hardware moves another step. That is more like renting than buying. I can dispose of print copies as I see fit - loan them to friends, pass them on to descendants, etc. After Amazon did that trick with pulling a book out of everybody's Kindle a while back - unilaterally taking a book back from people who thought they owned it - I made up my mind not to involve myself with something as blatantly under the control of others whose sole concern is with extraction of your money from your wallet. Further, physical books fall nicely under laws of property of long standing; getting a print book out of my library would take publicly visible effort and, more importantly, noticeable cost to whoever didn't like my having it.

Sep 28, 2011, 9:38am

The thing that bugs me (well, one of the many things that bug me) about the current options for ebooks is the restrictions on "shareibility." The attempt to curb or control the "you've got to read this" impulse that is still the way that most books get recommended and read. Also, I object on principle to the company store philosophy of Amazon and B&N, and other proprietary devices and formats. They basically force you to get all your ebooks from the same source--good business sense for them, but troubling from a consumer point of view. In practice I realize that it hardly matters, that Amazon makes it so convienient and cheap for its customers that they are hardly likely to bother with other sources. But as a rule I prefer that the freedom of choice be in the hands of the customer.

And, as you say, I like to know that my books are mine. That they won't disappear into a cloud of ones and zeros if the power goes out or liscencing rules change or Amazon should fail.

Oct 1, 2011, 10:16am

I still have my "collections" of books, totalling about 500 and I will not part with them. However, I have had my Kindle since June and I love it! I have even read more than before. Many of the classics are free and they are shareable. I've even been able to share a few of the short stories. It is NOT Amazon that determines if something is shareable; it is the publisher. I inquired as to why ebooks were $12.95 when that was the price of the real thing...again, it's the price required by the publisher. I do feel for publishing and books companies in this day and age. I prefer the "real" thing; however, as you get older and want to downsize homes, that also means downsizing personal effects...and for me, that means (meant) books. Now, wherever I go, I carry about 20-30 books with me in my Kindle as well as a Scrabble game--I'm set to go!

Oct 1, 2011, 4:53pm

What does everyone think of the new Kindle Fire? I think it may be a winner. I don't have an electronic reader yet, but, the new Kindle Fire looks promising. The only question that I have is it's size 7" X 4.5", is this too little for reading by a 62 year old?

Oct 2, 2011, 2:19am

My 70+ year old parents frequently read on their 2x2.75" Palm screens. It might be a little annoying at first, having to swipe to the next screen so frequently, but you may find the movement becomes transparent - no more noticed than turning a page. Just the ability to adjust the font size makes it easier for them to read electronically than on paper, plus being able to carry many books with them. (I read on my phone, but I'm not 62. And I leave the font pretty small).

It's not for me - too limited - but that's largely because I want to carry as few devices as possible, so I want one that has a lot of capability. The Fire is aimed, it says, at media consumers rather than media creators - if you just want to read on it you're in the target audience.

Of course, then there's the question of eInk vs LED/LCD screen - the Fire has a screen like a laptop or a phone, not an eInk one. Again speaking for myself, that's an advantage - every eInk screen I've looked at has been too frustrating in terms of speed for me, not to mention lack of color. But then I read on my phone and laptop without a problem; some (many) people find eInk screens a lot easier on their eyes.

Oct 2, 2011, 2:41am

What about the iPad? I've been an Apple user for a very long time and considering getting an iPad for a number of reasons. It would conveniently fill the bill as an ebook reader too.

Oct 2, 2011, 3:26am

Yeah...I'm a computer tech, so I see the problems people have with computers and computer-y things. And the problems people have with syncing i-whatevers...especially with Windows computers, which is what I have...really turn me off the iPad. Not to mention the no Flash, proprietary connectors, have to use iTunes, DRM problems...nah, I want an Android tablet. Free-er, though a long way from truly free. Actually, one of my major concerns with the Fire is that it runs a specially-modified version of Android (yeah, ok, so do all the phones...and how exactly is this supposed to _help_ with the fragmentation problem?) rather than the real thing. I've done as much as I can short of rooting and flashing to make my Samsung Galaxy S straight Android, or my choice of apps, rather than Samsung's bag of tricks.

I think you pushed a button. And all this is my personal opinion, of course...I know my outlook is odd, about many things.

Yeah, if I were an Apple user, an iPad would be reasonable, though not perfect. But as a Windows user, not interested. And iPad has the same type of screen as the Fire - LCD, not eInk (if that's a consideration).

Oct 7, 2011, 11:16am

No, not too small...only 1 inch smaller than the regular size and the font can be adjusted to LARGE! I wear bifocals but don't wear them when I read because I have the font turned up!

Jul 12, 2012, 5:46am

I got a Kindle keyboard G3 in the spring. What finally pushed me to it were problems with my vision. The reason I choose the G3 is besides allowing me to adjust the font size it will read to me, both audible books and regular books. Also I don’t have to be in a wi-fi area to read, it works off of a cell like a cell phone.

I am still getting use to it and probably will forever, but I do like it. I am going away for a few days next week and my books are ready. The things I miss are being able to easily flip back to check up on a fact, not being able to peek at the ending, and knowing exactly where I am in the book, e.g.; page 125 of a 327 page book. Instead I know I am 68% through the book. I wonder how it deals with footnotes? there are times I do read them.

Because I moved often the size of my book collection went up and down. It is at a low point now and I can see it getting even smaller as my vision gets worse. I will be able to reclaim some floor space. In my working life I was a librarian and for 9 years also a publisher so I do miss the tactile aspects of a book. I know the time and effort that goes into selecting/building the right cover.

I found this quieter group because I was having a problem signing up for the Readathing and I am glad I did. Thanks!

Jul 12, 2012, 6:42am

#10 Some ebooks (probably newer ones) do use page numbers as well as percentages. I was like you in finding it difficult to flip around a book (especially to read the end!) but I do do it now quite easily. If a book has been properly prepared as an ebook the footnotes work very well - you just click on the link and then click 'back' when you're ready to read on. Some of the free books don't deal well with footnotes, they either appear in the middle of the text, if the page that's been scanned has them at the foot of the page, or doesn't have a clickable link if they are gathered together at the end of the cook or chapter.

Jul 13, 2012, 12:05am

I've been reading ebooks on various devices (Palm, several varieties, and now Android phone, a couple different ones) for more than a decade. I still find it annoying that I can't easily flip back a bit and check something. I don't usually peek at endings, so that's not a problem...though being able to check the table of contents has noticeably improved over the years (from 'forget it' to possible in some formats on some devices). And the other thing that can't be done is easily comparing 'this' with 'that', on separate pages - bookmarking helps, but it's not nearly as good as being able to look back and forth between two pages, as you can with a physical book.

Which doesn't stop me reading - I've gotten to the point where I'm equally annoyed that a physical book is so _large_ so I can only carry one, and I can't search it for a word or phrase. Each format has its advantages. Oh yeah, and changeable font is definitely an ebook advantage.

Jul 13, 2012, 4:38am

I adjusted very quickly to me ereader, and it is now by far my prefered reading format. There are some differences between models as well as the issues of how well prepared the ebook files themeslves are. The Sony ereaders for instance do display page numbers, and so far I've had no problems with any footnotes. Although it's still less convenient then reading a pbook with them in.

Jul 31, 2012, 7:19pm

This thread is making me have a balanced view to book reader devices...

When I find a word or phrase I like I put it in my journal for sharing or inspiration for a poem it may provoke. I would like the convenience being light weight...but I seldom travel more than 160 miles round trip and come home quick to my physical library...when I walk through the door, Julius, Napoleon, Queen Victoria, Robert Frost, George Fox, William S. are becking, we missed who gets read/visited this evening?
Aug 2, 2012, 3:09pm

I still prefer physical copies, but this year I purchased a Kindle Fire for grad school. It has helped cut down on the need for printing immensely and it has many other features that has made it indispensable. I have one rule though, I only use it for books I have obtained for free or as library loans. If I I like it enough, I will get a copy in print. There is just something about the look of full bookshelves that makes me smile.

Edited: Aug 2, 2012, 8:44pm

As I have read more ebooks I have become concerned and frustrated with the quality of the product - no title page, no bibliographic information, no table of contents for non-fiction, short stories etc., no idea of the length of the book before I start, typos, poor editing. I can't figure out the last two because these errors would not be acceptable in a print copy and I thought the ebook was taken from the same files as the print copy.

Aug 2, 2012, 9:11pm

>16 pmarshall:

That depends on the books though - there are a lot of ebooks that really need editing (especially free and cheap ones...) but compared to what was available 18 months ago when I got my kindle, the quality is getting better.

Aug 2, 2012, 9:15pm

pre20cenbooks; I agree with you whenever I return home and go into my upstairs book room/library I feel as though I am surrounded by a group of old friends. Jan Karon, Debbie MaComber, Rosamunde Pilcher, Agatha Christie, Laura Childs and Margaret Maron are all there to greet me. I just can't get away from my physical books. They look so nice in my new library, although it is a very humble library ( only about 1200 copies ). I am still hesitant about e-readers.

Edited: Aug 2, 2012, 9:23pm

>18 JaneAustenNut:

Best of both worlds -- my shelves are overcrowded even if I have a kindle ;) And I cannot stress enough how helpful is the kindle for tired eyes - I have some books I love but just cannot read after being up in the last 20 hours or something like that - too small fonts...

Edited: Aug 2, 2012, 10:25pm

16> Yes, ebooks have a lot of errors, especially the ones scanned from paper copies (like a lot of those free/cheap ones). Project Gutenberg has better ones, usually, because of the Distributed Proofreaders project checking them before they're released.

On the other hand, I did an experiment a few months ago - I read two (paper) books, one a year old and one two decades old, from the same publisher (and a good one). The older book had a _lot_ fewer typos. It's not just that ebooks have more.

And the nice thing about ebooks is that it's relatively easy to correct typos/scannos if they drive you nuts. I'm reading a set now, clearly scanned in (through that same publisher, come to think of it), and intend to convert them to text, fix the errors and re-convert to epub. Or check with the publisher and see if they've improved matters (there are a lot of missing hyphens/en-dashes, quite a few b for h and vice versa...). If it were a paper book, there'd be nothing I could do (well, fix it with a pen, but...).

Now, I'm a freelance copyeditor and slightly obsessive about stuff like that (I work with Distributed Proofreaders, too); it's worth it to me to fix the errors, at least in books I want to reread. YMMV.

Hmmm, looking at the rest of your comment - you surprise me, where are you getting the books and what are you using to read them? And what format? I use epub, from Baen and Project Gutenberg mostly plus authors' sites, and on opening the book I usually get how many "pages" it is (plus a progress bar showing where I am), a TOC if the book is well-made, ditto for publishing/bibliographic info... Admittedly, free Kindle books are frequently completely as bad as you say, and a lot of the older Gutenberg books don't have a TOC. But that's not a problem with ebooks as a class, it's a problem with the way a particular book was put together.

Aug 3, 2012, 9:46am

FWIW: in the mid-1990's, a co-worker asked me what com meal was that she'd found in a recipe online. I hadn't heard of it but asked what the recipe was for. (can't remember now what it was) but I suggested that she search for it. She came up with other recipes, but no description.

Then I asked her if it could be CORN meal and she replied that it couldn't be that.

My supposition was that corn was scanned as com and that the reader/converter saw the "rn" as an "m" ...

I'm sure she realized later that was the case...

Scanned books are only as good as the scan, the print, and the converter.

Aug 3, 2012, 4:21pm

Yep. I can translate "beard" for "heard" in context (she beard him coming), but it does bother me. rn/m is another common one.

Mar 12, 2014, 11:04pm

I love my Kindle. It is one from way back. It does have the little light that pulls up from the upper R corner. I love using it to read in bed but in the day when I am reading I read the read deal. I love the feel, touch & smell of my books. Plus I have over 3000 of them on my bookshelves so I will continue to read both.
We are going on a 4 month holiday this year so my Kindle is loaded for bear! But I also have a few real books that I will be taking, just not as many as in the past.

Oct 15, 2020, 1:51pm

So, how do people feel about ebooks now. As time goes on I read more often on my kindle app.

Oct 15, 2020, 8:36pm

I'm still reading some paper books - but yeah, mostly ebooks at this point. It's gotten to the point where I'm deliberately buying e-versions of my favorites so I can actually read them, and the paper versions are piling up dust (literally. I really need to dust my books...).

Things have changed a lot - and not so much. epub is sufficiently universal I can read it anywhere; most of the proprietary formats, now (Amazon's, at least, and I think Kobo and B&N's as well) are packages containing epubs (or mobi, that's still around). Someone mentioned above preferring PDFs for reading - I still HATE those. They're fine on a laptop, but I've never found a reading app for my phone or tablet that can reflow PDFs so they're functional.

Ebooks in libraries are a lot more available - more books and simpler to get (I read a lot from the library). And ebooks in general are more available - it's a rare book these days that _doesn't_ have an e-version coming out along with the paper ones (and sometimes, slightly less rarely, they're only electronic - with maybe a Print On Demand paper version). The big retailers still try to lock you into their silos - Kindle, Kobo, Nook - but it's generally possible to bypass them and get the books in a cleaner, non-limited format. And some publishers, at least, have noticed that DRM is a bad idea (it makes it difficult for a legitimate user to read the book, while barely slowing down pirates).

I don't think paper books will go away entirely. Heck, vinyl is making a comeback of sorts! But defaulting to ebooks - yeah, I think that will happen. Don't know when, though.

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