So I have joined the ranks of people that are ebook readers only in my case not Amazon’s Kindle but Sony’s Pocket Reader – you can see it in the picture on the left on the top of the pile showing MacBook, Netbook, eBook (can you see what I have done there?).
Anyway rather than give yet another review of the device (which I love) I thought that I would put down some of the things that I have discovered since getting the device at then end of last year. Some of these will be obvious, others not so, I hope but all will give you food for thought before you get your own eReader.
1. Cannot register with Adobe Digital Editions on a Mac
Until recently this wouldn’t have bothered me but now my primary machine is a Mac it was a real pain that in order to associate my reader with ADE I could only do so on a Windows machine. Once you have done this you are fine to use the device with you Mac. All this is a consequence of DRM and is quite unnecessary. It’s a real throw back in time to where we were five years ago with digital music downloads so I guess that the book world will have caught up by 2015.
2. Cannot feel how far through a book you are
The first book that most of us have is a cloth one that rather than read you feel, chew and dribble over. Nevertheless it still has pages that you turn and works like a book. Given that most of us start early using a book is straight forward and intuitive. One thing that I had learnt to do was to assess how far through a book I was through feel – the amount of pages in my left hand compared to the amount in my right hand. You cannot do this with an electronic reader other than look at the page numbers and do a quick calculation which can be tough on the brain.
3. Cannot think “I’ll just read to the end of the chapter”
Actually that statement is not true as you can think that but with an eBook you have no idea how far away the end of the chapter is. With a physical book you can flip forward a few pages and think “that’s manageable before I switch out the light”.
4. "Now, where was I?”
Because I am a casual reader it can be a number of days between reading sessions and I forget where I am. With a physical book I can flip back a few pages and skim read to refresh my memory. Boy is that tedious on an eBook reader. The eInk technology is great for simulating the page of a book but it is slow to turn pages.
5. Can carry more books than you ever need at any one time
I can now carry around with me about 350 books which, at my current reading rate, would take me more than 15 years to get through. So why bother? Well if I am going away then I don’t want to be carrying around a number with me. Also I have a short attention span and like to flip between several books at once – the eReader is perfect for this.
6. Can never lose your place by dropping the book and the bookmark slips out
Of course if you drop your eReader you probably would have more than losing you place to worry about. That screen looks awfully fragile.
7. Can lay on your side in bed and not have to swap sides to see both pages of a book
I suspect that for many people this simply won’t be an issue. You are probably thinking that I should just sit up or go and sit in a chair but actually I quite like to read lying down and previously had to keep swapping sides – no longer.
8. Will be the death of charity shops – no loaning to a friend
Books are going to be around for a very long time. You seem to have a much more personal relationship with them than, say, a CD. That said there is no doubt a rise in the number of people who are reading books via an eReader. I have started to see others on trains and in coffee shops with their Kindles. And as this uptake increases the number of books in circulation will inevitably decrease. The consequence of this is that charity shops, so long the place to pick up a cheap paperback, will lose a source of valuable income.
9. It’s a novel idea
That said the current crop of eReaders are really only any good for novels. Any type of book with graphics, a cookery book for example, or a technical guide and it is very difficult to read and see the images. Could this be the reason for the iPad?
So, in conclusion eReaders are great and have a convenience about them that you just don’t get in the physical equivalent. However, there is just something about a book that is great to have and to hold and I think it is going to be a great shame if we lose that. What do you think?