Continuing last week’s musings on ebooks and paper books . . .
Despite my enthusiasm for the instant gratification aspect of ebooks, here are some problems with them:
1. Sure, you can get the next installment in the series right away without getting dressed or even getting out of bed. However– and it’s a big ‘however’– you will still have to wait if the next installment isn’t written yet. High speed internet downloads can’t help the millions of George RR Martin fans until he actually finishes the next installment. (While you wait for Martin to finish, you can always watch this).
2. No dog ears. Yes, some apps let you create a virtual dog ear, but what of it? I like being able to dog ear a page, close the book, and then view it in profile. I want to see where my dog-eared page is relative to the end of the book. I get a sense of satisfaction from seeing my progress through the pages. Yes, the ebook apps will indicate you’re on “page” 11 of 28. It’s useless, though. Why? Because the number of “pages” in an electronic chapter will vary depending on the device you use to read. Not only that, number of “pages” is also affected by the font settings re: size and typeface style, whether you have opted for single or double columns . . . there are many possible permutations. I should also mention that my face gets tired of wearing glasses all day; I want to be able to read with my glasses off. Consequently I have the font jacked up to some ridiculous size. The upshot is that I have about 3.5 words per ebook “page” even though I read using the absurdly large
Sony Samsung Mega fablet.
3. E-reader apps misbehave. One of the apps I use to read had some aggravating error last night. I just wanted to read the recently released Anita Blake novel, but instead I had to troubleshoot stupid software in the middle of the night.
Even though I’ve mainly converted to ebooks, I still use paper cookbooks.
Since I am known as a lover of ebooks and all things tech, why?
1. I am perhaps the world’s messiest cook (think of the Swedish Chef on the Muppet Show, except much much worse). Consequently tablets and smartphones and laptops come to a sticky end in my kitchen. At the very least they are pelted with flying pieces of diced carrot.
2. Even when I’m being really careful of my electronics, it’s still a problem because then a bunch of my mental energy is consumed with “don’t wreck the tablet” rather than paying attention to what I am cooking . . . which leads to carbonized pine nuts and other problems.
3. I like adding my notations into the cookbooks, and the e-reading software I use isn’t great for adding notes, let alone drawings of my preferred pattern for arranging berries on top of flans.
4. I’ve found that the few cookbooks I’ve bought on ebooks tend to get neglected . . . this is tragic because at least two of them are excellent (especially the brilliant Ratio by Micheal Ruhlman. This book is great.). I may have to buy a paper copy of that.
I converted to ebooks from “tree” books about five years ago (with the exception of cookbooks, but that’s another blog post . . .)
Ebooks are awesome because you can buy or borrow them without even getting off the couch. You know the dreadful feeling associated with finishing a serial novel in the middle of the night? The feeling generated by the knowledge that you will have to wait until bookstores open the next morning to get the next installment? That feeling is gone! Woot! A few clicks and you have new reading material without leaving the house or putting on pants.
What about you? Ebooks or tree books?