I’m not entirely sure whether the – Bookwitch – jury is still out on this, or not. To e or not to e? Well, actually, I will e(book) if and when the need arises. I’d be silly not to. But I’m more or less with Blue Peter on this.
They went to great trouble to test e-readers versus good old paper. It might not have been totally serious or scientific, but I was quite impressed by the exercise of letting a tank run over the two competitors. The e-reader survived, but the paper book survived more, if you can put it that way?
Take my (no longer so) recent train trip to Glasgow. Eight hours there and back. The way to justify all that time was to take books to read. Get a lot of reading done. I usually take more than one, since I never know if I’ll end up hating one. On that basis, perhaps three books, considering the length of the journey?
A Kindle would be ideal, and would prevent the bag getting too heavy (with a laptop in there, it was already too heavy) and too fat. Umpteen books in one small packet. But what if the battery ran out? Better take one paper book. So, in reality I took the equivalent of two, anyway.
And what about the funny people you encounter on planes? I have yet to find any consistency from one crew member to another, and I need to read when sitting there waiting for take-off slots, and to take my mind off bumps. So I can’t afford someone coming along demanding my electronic gadget is put away for (here you insert whatever stupid reason such people might come up with), which could be five minutes or five hours.
So, paper book it is.
Holidays. Could take ten books with little effort. Between us, the Resident IT Consultant and I could share twenty. But unless we have an e-reader each, we can’t share.
Reviews. Yes. Publishers can club together to pay for e-readers for people on their current mailing lists (except they probably wouldn’t, or couldn’t) and then send out ebooks (and that’s the death knell to Royal Mail). Handy. Except, if the book isn’t only published as an ebook, there is no way of getting all touchy-feely with some of the lovelier aspects of books where a lot of thought has gone into the design.
Loking at my (I mean the Kindle belonging to the Resident IT Consultant, of course) grey and boring e-reader I would never get those pink twinges I experienced over Suzanne Selfors’s Mad Love.
I could never do a header photograph like my new header. There would be just the one ‘book’ and no hope of rainbows anywhere.
Actually, that’s not strictly true. I gather there are skins you can buy. Sounds decadent, and not very vegetarian, but quite nice. You can even have a custom made skin. Saw a blog post by an author who tried out customised skins from her own (paper) cover designs. It looked great! And I do think that’s a nicer way to adorn an e-reader than the ever-changing pictures that pop up on the Kindle. Nice enough, but you’re not in control. And there is no colour.
I have read some ebooks now, and it’s been OK. But I find I need to remember they exist. The e-reader alone does not remind me that I have six exciting titles to read, the way six books would. That’s partly why Philip Caveney hasn’t been getting the attention his new ebook deserves. I’m not in an ebook mood.
It’s great the way you can alter the size of the font. But you never know what page you are on. (Or even how many ‘normal’ pages there are. Percentages are all very well, but if you can’t see what the 48% is 48% of…) Also, I needed to alert one author to a mistake that I was sure she would want to correct, but what page would it be at her end?
There are good and bad things for both options. But I prefer books made of paper. I even prefer the mess they make on my shelves. Which is funny, because the minimalist in me ought to be more than ready for a life with one book. Like the chap at the top of this post. I’d love to have visitors admiring my ‘selection.’