Saturday, May 8, 2010

Random Musings: e-Books vs. 'Tree-Books'

Recently, Julie did a post about the Urban Dictionary's addition of the term 'tree-book' as a way to distinguish a book from it's electronic counterpart, an eBook. It's a clever distinction that is becoming more necessary in this digital age. Julie is a tree-book girl and so am I. When Amazon introduced their Kindles, I wasn't even interested ~ and I love new gadgets!

I did make an effort. I read my first eBook a while back, but still wasn't a fan. I attempted to read it on my nice big 18" computer screen, but even that didn't seem to help. I ended up printing it out to read it off a page (*hanging head in shame*). Quite frankly, I spend enough time staring at a computer screen... I'd rather tax my eyes in a new way by squinting over the printed page. Also, there's something about the feel of a book and (don't laugh) the smell of paper. I love seeing my books all lined up waiting for me on my shelves, like old friends.

Although, as Bethanne Patrick, better known as The Book Maven from Book Maven Media, tweeted not so long ago, "Thinking more and more about fact that it's not all about ebooks; it's about reading, keeping reading alive no matter the 'mechanism'." I think this gets to the heart of the matter. If eBooks create more readers, how can that be bad? Even if they aren't for me, I'm glad they're enticing people to read.

Who knows, it took me a long time to switch to mp3s too (picture me clinging to my CD cases) and I'm still not a total convert. Would I be willing to try eBooks again, say on a shiny new iPad? You, bet! But until then, I'll stick to my personal library...



Jenn May 8, 2010 at 8:21 PM  

There's an old Abraham Lincoln story about when an author asked him what he thought of his work. Mr. Lincon tried to spare the man's feelings by saying, "For the kind of people who like that sort of thing, that's just the sort of thing those people would like."

Julie May 8, 2010 at 9:05 PM  

I just don't think I'd ever move digital for books. That being said, like the Twilight series, if it's getting more people to read it's not a bad thing.

Lisa May 9, 2010 at 11:19 PM  

I'm tempted to go the e-books route. I have way too many other things to lug around on the train, so a one pound device that hold 1000 books is quite an enticement. On the other hand I'm, a tactile person and like Jenn, loves the feel and smell of books. I'm hoping book publishers can figure out how to bundle both. I want my tree-book for display and collection. I want an e-book for all the reasons e-books are cool. When they figure out how to get me an e-book download of the tree-book I purchase in the store and I'd be happy as a pig in something... I'd even pay a little extra.

Sean May 10, 2010 at 4:41 PM  

@Lisa The would be a fantastic option (combining Tree-books and eBooks)

I read almost exclusively on an eReader. It started when my wife received a Kindle as a gift last Mother's Day. I don't particularly like the Kindle for reading. Every page turn causes the screen to flash black for a moment and then display the next page. It drives me crazy. However, she was buying eBooks that I wanted to read, so I started reading them on my iPhone, which was actually a good experience for me. I've read about 40 eBooks in the last year on my iPhone. I love the instant access to the store, and the fact that I always have my book with me. An added bonus is the fact that my wide, oldest son and I can read the same eBook at the same time, which comes in handy when we've just purchased a copy of the last book in a series we've all been reading!

Now I have an iPad, and It's become my main eBook reader, although I do switch back and forth between it and my iPhone. The latest page read syncs across the devices so I'm always in the right spot when I switch readers.

The Sony eReaders works with a lot of libraries, such as the one in my city, you can actually check out and download eBooks, that have a finite lending period (2-3 weeks)

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of flaws (or room for improvement depending on your point of view) with eReaders. You often don't know what page of the book you're on compared to the physical version because eBook sections depend on screen and font size. Every book feels exactly the same. There are no thick books, thin books, paperbacks, gold inlaid hardcovers, etc. Some people relish in the bookstore or library experience. The smell of the books, the beautiful visual of a full bookshelf, and the experience of community as you shop with other bibliophiles are just a few of the shopping experiences you won't get with the Amazon 1-click checkout.

It's also very hard to lend an eBook to a friend. This may be a case where corporate greed has prevailed over a longer view of the market. When I loan a book to a friend, I'm likely opening them up to a new author and possibly a new genre, and likewise when they do the same for me. Then we both are likely in the future to buy works from more authors and genres than we would have otherwise. There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to transfer a eBook we own to someone else, even if the number of transfers are limited for a specific title.

Probably more than $.02 worth of opinion.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP