Ebooks – The Downsides

Okay, I love my Sony Reader with a passion, but here’s why I still appreciate paper books.

#1 Paper books never give you panic attacks: My reader completely froze up the other night.  No response whatsoever.  If it weren’t for Google and the MobileRead forums, I’d probably have just sat and wept.  Anyway, after a few panicked minutes, I figured out that its battery was probably drained (despite two bars showing) and the solution was to charge it for a few hours.  And it worked – was I relieved!  I know it sounds like a simple solution, but trust me, you never get this worried about a paper book.

#2 I miss the book covers: I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to covers, so only seeing them in blurry black-and-white just doesn’t do it for me.  Maybe once colour e-ink technology makes an appearance, that will change.  Though the special effects, such as foil or embossing, still won’t come through.  Sigh.

#3 It’s easy to flip through the pages:  Until I started reading ebooks, I had no idea how often I flipped back and forth while reading.  Or skimmed the boring bits.  And it’s not easy doing that on the reader.  It takes about a second for the screen to refresh each time, so if I’m not sure where the passage I want to reread is, it can take a while.  On the positive side, I’m paying more attention when reading now!

#4 I can share them: I can’t share my ebooks.  Not without loaning out my reader – and nope, not going to do that.  So if, say, I want to get a book that I know my sis wants to read as well, I’ve to buy the paper version.  Unless she gets an ebook reader as well, and that’s probably not going to happen since she’s more of a casual reader.  And also, I can’t loan books I’ve really liked to friends.  Sure, I can still talk about them, but it’s not a “here, you’ve got to read this”-type thing.

#5 I don’t have to convert them: I grumbled about this when I first got my ebook reader – figuring how to convert all the different formats into something readable by the Sony Reader wasn’t fun.  Now?  It’s still a pain but to be honest, it only takes a couple of minutes max to get it sorted.  I wouldn’t complain if all vendors offered the Sony LRF format, but it’s not a dealbreaker.

Having said these – nothing can beat the sheer convenience of instantly getting the books you want.  Or not having to lug ten books on holiday just because you’re not sure what reading mood you’ll be in.  Or freeing up that shelf for something other than books.

I’m still hugely glad I caved in and got my reader  😀


7 thoughts on “Ebooks – The Downsides

  1. Hmm

    Personally I’m all for paper books.

    1) Referring to #1, 4 times my computer without warning erased me ALL my datas. EVERY SINGLE FILES I had, which amounted to 160Go to be precise [ the first time after that It was far less given I had to rebuild my err… collection], stuffs I’d gathered in some ahem… dark places of the web – and sometimes took me months to get entirely – were erased. Strangely all the files were erased but the comp still worked just fine and no virus had been found.

    2) I like my books. I’m such a maniac you see, I keep them in boxes, never in the outside unless I have to compress them with a dictionary but usually I keep them in boxes so that they keep their perfect shape… and more importantly ahem… their odor. I like smelling my books when I turn the pages 😀 I know it’s a bit strange, but it reminds me of when I was younger and spent half of my time in my hometown library. It was newly built when I got old enough to choose my own books, cozy with puffs on the carpet and there was always the faint smell of books in the air. Each one his own err… flavor I’d say.

    On the other side, I’ll admit two things:

    Concerning the “flipping through the pages” thing, I don’t know if it’s possible with your sony reader, but maybe you should give a try to mobypocketreader. It’s free and I use it to read on the comp. And when it comes to “flipping through” finding the passage you want to read is – at least for me – way easier than with a traditional book.
    Anyway try to install it on your reader… If you have some doubt about the program, you can install it on your computer, it is able to read pdf, rtf, htm, html files and others as long as the programs are installed on your comp. I haven’t checked but I guess that if I didn’t have the Adobe license it wouldn’t be possible for me to read files in pdf format.

    As for, the other advantage…
    Well, it doesn’t concern you but with my little pocket money ( given I actually have a “tiny” debt of 50€ ) I don’t buy that much. In fact, when in comes to books, music, movies etc… I usually download them ahem… and if I’m “swept away” then I buy. I bought too many things on impulse, and regretted doing so later, to waste money. But what I love I want to own. Well it’s not legal… But I do buy so I don’t feel that bad about it. If I was working I wouldn’t bother downloading.

  2. I had a pda 6 years ago and loved reading ebooks on it, but after about a year the cord got a short in it and wouldn’t work anymore. The manufacturer no longer made the pda or cord. I found a third party workaround which didn’t work very well and after another year the pda died completely. I was left with lots of ebooks (still backed up on my computer, on CDs, etc) and an expensive, but dead pda.

    I read a few ebooks on my computer, but books are definitely preferable to that. I like the Sony Reader, but can’t justify buying it unless the price comes down a lot! I still like books for all the reasons you mention–and like ebooks for the reasons you mention, too!

  3. LOL, all those reasons are why I’m not buying a e-reader yet. (except for #2… I like cover, but don’t mind not seeing them)… What I don’t like is the converting, because I’m sure that new technology will be out in a couple of years and then, you’ll have to convert them all again and etc.

  4. La Plume – I have Mobi installed on my PC, but I’ve never gotten used to reading on my laptop. It’s okay for short stories, but I just can’t read a full-length novel onscreen!

    Jan – Ouch. The Reader is pricy, but for me, ebooks are much cheaper than paper (paperbacks here in the UK are around the £6 mark ~$12), so in the long run (and provided my Sony Reader doesn’t die on me!), I figure I’ll save money 🙂 But yes, it was the price tag that made me dither for months.

    Nath – The converting is a pain, but on the other hand, I don’t reread that many books. So I figure it’ll only be a select few that I’d have to keep converting.

  5. How come it’s more expansive for you to buy the books?

    I ordered books from the States on Amazon and even with the shipping fee, the cost was the same…

    For Belladonna [hardcover] for instance. I ordered it from caiman through Amazon and it cost me around 13€ with the shipping fee when amazon sold it at 17€

    When I looked at US ebook prices, seems like the prices are equal to mass paperback releases. Surely you don’t buy all your books with hardcovers? ( though I wish I could)

    Ebooks are not popular in France for the moment… And buying a book is too expensive. Usually the “editions de poche” i.e mass paperback version are sold around 7 to 8€ , the “versions brochés” i.e paperback versions are sold between 15 to 20€ or more, as for hard paper backs, It doesn’t exist any more for novels, only photography or cooking books or the likes. Would be too expensive to be bought, probably a novel such as Belladonna translated in French with a hardcover would at least cost 35€…

    Moreover, there is a law which allows book sellers to only put a 5% discount on the books at most. They did it to protect small bookshops from closing, though I personally think, they should just stop that stuff as it didn’t prevent small bookshops from closing. In fact, I’ve only been in England once, and I was surprised at the number of bookshops I could find in a single town! Here we have Fnac and Virgin shops and everybody buy them there because at least there’s the discount, however tiny it is, and the others don’t.

    Ah, by the way, Have you heard of this :http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI73MA/ref=amb_link_6369712_3?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=0Y46JSSXZ0QB74HDKCEQ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=379103301&pf_rd_i=507846

    If I was rich maybe…

  6. La Plume – Interesting info on French pricing, thanks for posting! It’s cheaper for me because a book that costs $7.99 is probably sold here for £6.99 on the high-street – and so it’s a choice between buying immediately (and paying more) or ordering from Amazon and waiting a week or so to get the book.

    There used to be something similar in the UK which prevented UK booksellers from selling below the recommended retail price. That was lifted sometime in the 1990s, I think.

    The Sony Reader’s prettier than the Kindle 🙂

  7. Haha, I would wait if I was you ^^ At least during the “waiting time” you can get try to shorten your TBR pile 😛

    You’re lucky the law have been lifted ^^ Though English books are still more expensive than American ones… I only got a 30% discount on my English Harry Potters copies, but I saw some American discount above 50%.

    ^^ And I find the Kindle prettier 😀

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