Monday, 6 June 2011

Ebooks v Tree books

I really like my Kindle. It's a boon when you're travelling and I'm enjoying the sampling facility in particular, and flicking through the classics (must confess I've put Henry James to one side and moved on to less wordy stuff). But I don't like the reading experience as much as reading a book.

I miss the way you can check back on something in previous chapters easily. I feel I'm skim reading more, though I'm not sure if that's a function of the page size being smaller so I'm turning the page more often, leading to a faster feel to the reading experience. (Or it could just be the Henry James...)

A friend tried out my Kindle at the weekend and sniffed that you couldn't see your bookmark get further towards the end. I pointed out the percentage read bar at the bottom but they were having none of it. The bookmark physically creeping its way through the book was important to them.

I'm not fussed by the bookmark (I tend to turn page corners down to mark my place) but I do like the chunky feel of a book, the sense of working my way through the pages, the feeling of achievement as you close the book for the last time. Don't get me wrong - I think the Kindle is an incredible invention, and I'm using mine a lot - but sometimes the packaging is an important part of the whole.

The market is changing so fast who knows what will be happening next year, let alone in the next ten years but I think both ebooks and treebooks will be around for a long time to come.


Jim Murdoch said...

I’m not so much worried about the bookmark moving through the book but I’m a terrible one for checking to see when the next chapter ends to see if I have the time to finish it – I do like to read to natural breaking points – and you really can’t do that easily with a Kindle. I suppose you could do a search for ‘chapter x’ but what if you’re book has no chapter headings, just blank spaces? As I’ve said before I’m not anti-e-book-reader but until I have one in my hand that emulates the sensation of reading as I know it it’s always going to feel second best.

badas2010 said...

I agree with you, it's great, but you can't easily look somewhere else in the book, (maybe a sneaky look at the ending?), as you can with the dead tree versions.
There's been some wild talk about the death of big publishers and book shops as we know them, but I don't think they'll go. It's the low price of a lot of the ebooks that makes them so attractive, 70p is a hell of a lot different to £15 or £20.
But there are still a lot of people who won't take to the Kindle at all and will continue to buy dead trees, so they won't go completely, but they will have to adapt more than they're doing at present.

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Sarah Duncan said...

The basic price and value for money issues are interesting - I've been thinking lots about this since I've had my Kindle. No conclusions, yet...

A friend pointed out that ebooks have to be the future because of using up the planet's resources, but I'm not sure - trees are a renewable resource, whereas the materials for an ereader (plastic etc) aren't. Does anyone know?

womagwriter said...

I keep feeling tempted by the Kindle. I expect I'll buy one one day. But I will still buy paper books because I like to put them on bookshelves. There's a place for both. I wouldn't want to take an expensive Kindle on the beach or read it in the bath. But it'd be perfect for long train/plane journeys.

I bet when I do get one I'll end up buying two copies of books - a paper one for my shelves and an eprint to read on the kindle. Publishers and authors will be happy!

Lori x said...

My husband bought my a Sony reader because he was fed up with the amount of books around the place. I like it more than I expected too - but everything you have said in the article rings true for me too.
As convenient as my Reader is [I can buy way more books without explaining to DH ;)] it is never going to replace a proper book for me. And I like the house to be full of books.