eBooks vs Real Books

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With the fast growing technology in our world were seeing more and more Ipads, kindles and other eReaders then ever before. I personally prefer a good old book but I have to admit that the eReaders present much more convenience and accessibility. I really want to like traditional books but considering how much cheaper eReaders are (in the long run) they do seem like a much better option.

What do you guys think? Do you prefer the feel of paper in your hands or have you embraced this new change in the way we read?

 
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I think I once read that reading from a screen actually affects how we are reading. We tend to skim over text much more, probably because we are conditioned to use text on a screen to get information quickly. I think the reading pattern of a paragraph on a screen looks a bit like this:
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I’ll try to find a source for that.
I think that the improving technology especially in Kindles helps to counter that tendency by making the screen look less like a screen and more like paper. But if I am learning for exams I usually print out the lectures. I can simply concentrate better when I am reading of real paper.

 
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Paper’s better by feel and by smell, but it’s really hard to find a backlit paper book, or one which will change the font size as you age. Additionally, as you have pointed out, ity is far easier to carry a single digital reader, than it is to carry a stack of textbooks around with you.

eReaders are a little crappy right now in their capabilities. You cannot spread both pages out in front of you, you cannot jot notes down in the margins of the pages, and you cannot roll them up and stick them in your bag or your pocket like you can with magazines. In time all those will change, and with the addition of moving video in e-readers (and in some print magazines, experimentally), we may well be looking at the death-knell of the old format in our lifetimes.

The old books are great, even if they do take over your house. eBooks are the same information, but far smaller, neater, and far more accessible.

There used to be a market for special books for the blind – they’d be converted into special cartidges for a braille reader. Whilst those do still exist, we’re not far now from the capability to just hook up any ebook to a text-to-speech reader, and just have the book read to you – even if no audio version currently exists.

So its the same data, but the modiality is far improved. They are not the death-knell of books, but just a format advancement.

 
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I also far prefer the traditional book as opposed to the digital copy. On a pretty basic level, reading on a screen for long periods of time gives me a massive headache, whereas I can read old school books for hours on end with no real side effects.

I also think there will always be a market for old books. Books that I really love and that I know I’m going to want to re-read, I’m always going to want a tangible copy of them gracing my bookshelf.

I received a Kindel as a gift, and haven’t bought a book/magazine subscription on it yet, nor do I plan to do so.

 
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I prefer an ibook. They have search functions which are really useful if you want to find something somewhere else in the book. They are also typically cheaper and I always carry something on which I can read Ibooks (mobile(not ideal but I always have it with me) or laptop really good but not always with me). Which means I never find myself without the book I need.

 
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I prefer physical copies over digital ones. While the technology has more features and utilities in regards to the content of the book, I like the actual feel and tangibility of real books more.

 
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Originally posted by TWanderT:

I prefer physical copies over digital ones. While the technology has more features and utilities in regards to the content of the book, I like the actual feel and tangibility of real books more.

So, if the electronic books had the same feel (and smell) of paper, and the same ability to hold it in your hands/ turn the pages, you would consider switching to the electronic versions? The ones with the potential to backlight the pages, allow dynamic resizing of text, full search functions, etcetera, etcetera?

If that’s the only issue holding you back, I’m guessing so, but would prefer having your input over assuming so on your behalf, please.

 
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I like the look and feel of a normal book. And there are other things…

If I’m reading, hit a topic and want to look something up, I can turn around and find a giant shelf filled with books, open three and have all three parked on my desk, all open at the same time next to the book I was reading to start with. If I’m (just a single example) writing a short biography of someone (hardly a common pasttime, but hey ho), being able to do that is useful.

If I fall asleep reading a normal book, I might crease a page. If I fall asleep reading a Kindle, I’ll probably wake up with broken wires jabbing into my elbow.

And probably on a par with the look/feel bit, is the cost. I buy almost every book I read from charity shops for 50p-£1 (75c-$1.50). First example on my shelf that my eyes landed on, The Innocent Man. Cost me 50p. The e-version is more than ten times that amount.

If someone can make an e-book which looks, feels, smells and has proper pages like a book, and which comes with titles that can be bought second hand for pretty much nothing, I’d give it a go. Until then, I’ll keep my normal books.

 
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If I’m reading for pleasure, I prefer electronic copies. It lets me carry more books, and it’s easy to get comfortable, even with large books. On top of that, I have a light source attached.

If I’m studying, I prefer physical copies. A search feature can be useful, but I find it easier to refer to several sections at once with a physical copy, and the glossary usually gets me what I want.

 
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Originally posted by NeilSenna:

I like the look and feel of a normal book. And there are other things…

If I’m reading, hit a topic and want to look something up, I can turn around and find a giant shelf filled with books, open three and have all three parked on my desk, all open at the same time next to the book I was reading to start with. If I’m (just a single example) writing a short biography of someone (hardly a common pasttime, but hey ho), being able to do that is useful.

If I fall asleep reading a normal book, I might crease a page. If I fall asleep reading a Kindle, I’ll probably wake up with broken wires jabbing into my elbow.

And probably on a par with the look/feel bit, is the cost. I buy almost every book I read from charity shops for 50p-£1 (75c-$1.50). First example on my shelf that my eyes landed on, The Innocent Man. Cost me 50p. The e-version is more than ten times that amount.

If someone can make an e-book which looks, feels, smells and has proper pages like a book, and which comes with titles that can be bought second hand for pretty much nothing, I’d give it a go. Until then, I’ll keep my normal books.

However eBooks tend to be cheaper for newer releases (however from what I’ve seen Amazon prime can get you them for around the same price).


One thing I liked about an old eReader I had (a kobo) was that it came pre-loaded with 100 free books, all being classics, because of it I read the Sherlock Holmes collection (the whole thing was 50c), some Jules Verne and some other classics. Also it wasn’t self lit like an Ipad (so it still had that paperish look and it didn’t hurt my sleeping) and the only fault was when I turned the page the way the new way loaded didn’t look very good.

I was really happy with that, but whenever I pick up a book it just seems better and its easier to borrow from the library (you can do it with eReaders now, but I haven’t tried it).

 
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Real books.

I don’t hate my Kindle, and eBooks are usually cheaper than physical ones.

The size of physical books isn’t that big of a problem – how many times are you carrying around more than two books? OK, school…. but still.

With physical books, if I want to compare what someone said in the first book in the series to what they said in the second book in the series, I can look at the books side by side. That’s rather difficult with eBooks without two readers. The physical book I’m reading now has a map on a particular page, and it’s trivial to flip back to that when I want to see where a fictional city is compared to another. If this was an eBook, it would be cumbersome to do that very often.

“So, if the electronic books had the same feel (and smell) of paper, and the same ability to hold it in your hands/ turn the pages, you would consider switching to the electronic versions?”

How on earth could you turn pages in an eBook? That would involve about 500 ultra-thin, ultra-light, flexible, double-sided screens. At least the way I want to turn pages.

Also… someday Amazon is going to go out of business, or will stop supporting the Kindle. At that point, will I lose every single eBook I have? Probably.

 
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Pros of each imo

eBooks Pros:

Social Acceptance- A kindle is a lot more practical to be seen with than a book to the general public.
Availability – You can probably find any book on an eBook quickly.
Lighting- Kindles/eBooks can change their lighting to comfort to any time by changing the color of the text/space to alternate.
Weight- An eBook is lighter than your average Harry Potter
Re-use Value: You can download/delete books, making it’s re-use value high.

eBooks Cons:

Fragility- eBooks, like apple software I’d assume, is more prone to cracking/breakage.
Price- eBooks are probably far more expensive than Hard Copies
Value- an eBook is hard to replace, books are a lot easier to replace if lost


Book Pros

Durability – Books are hard-cover and well, tough.
Price – Books are a lot more cheaper
Distraction – It’s easier to lose focas when you can play games, whereas all you can do with a book is read it.

Book Cons

Flammible – Self explanatory
Weight – Books are probably heavier
Re-use Value – Once you finish a book, it’s a mere paperweight

 
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I really dont think that real books will go away at least not for a long while. We all love books we hold, mark up, lend to or give to a friend. There is ritual in buying and opening a new book that will be hard to replace.

What ebooks will do and we are only seeing the beginning has more to do with how we interact with the narrative. You can already find books that will read to you and it is not just audio its with the visual words in front of you. You can see this technology trying to help support the learning of reading in young children.

But with ebooks will see more: From annimation to full on videos accompaning the narrative. For the first time you have a “book” that knows you are reading it and where you are in the story. Some of us remember in grade school audio tapes that cued the page turn when reading along. Now an ebook can almost que music when you turn the page. The door is open for a far more interactive experience… imagine how the possibilities with choose your own adventure? Or an audio narrative that conflicts with the visual narrative as you read. This is new.. it will take some time… but not much. But as fun as it may be it will be hard to replace the book.

 
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Also… someday Amazon is going to go out of business, or will stop supporting the Kindle. At that point, will I lose every single eBook I have? Probably.

Thats like saying eBay will go out of business. Amazon raked in around 12b in last year, I find it really hard to believe it will anytime soon (and saying that it will in 20+ years probably won’t effect me and my eReader that much).


Also Dr, I believe eBooks are cheaper (at least on Amazon they are [without Amazon prime]).

 
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Just a few points that came to my mind when reading your post:

Originally posted by DrOctaganapus2:

Pros of each imo


eBooks Pros:


Social Acceptance- A kindle is a lot more practical to be seen with than a book to the general public.

I don’t understand this particular point.

Re-use Value: You can download/delete books, making it’s re-use value high.

Not really sure what this has to do with re-use value. I would list this under comfort.

eBooks Cons:
Price- eBooks are probably far more expensive than Hard Copies

I think that this is only true for new releases. Older books are probably a lot cheaper as eBooks, especially since many texts are public domain.

Book Pros
Price – Books are a lot more cheaper.

Like I said. This really depends.

Book Cons

Flammible – Self explanatory

Try lighting any electrical device on fire and see how that turns out.

Weight – Books are probably heavier

Really depends on the book. I often carry a play in a small paperback format around to read it on the tram. Those things are light as a feather. I can’t imagine that an average Shakespeare will weigh you down more than a small mobile phone.

Re-use Value – Once you finish a book, it’s a mere paperweight

Honestly, I think a bookshelf is decoration. And I also really prefer selecting a book by looking at it over scrolling through a list. When I walk through my university’s library there are so many times when I pick up a book simply because of the way it looks and not because it deals with a topic I’m particularly interested in.
And when I’m preparing for a presentation or use a book as source I find it much more intuitive to use physical bookmarks (i.e. strips of paper, text marker and scribbles) than to use a list of terms in a menu. That’s just the way I work. It becomes more relevant to me that way. Difficult to explain…

 
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Irrationally, I prefer real books over eBooks. I know that eBooks are better ,since they don’t use paper, but I like the feel of paper in my hooves.

 
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Personally, I prefer the real books because you can read it when you want and I think is more comfortable than a technological stuff.

 
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I’ve always been a big fan of real books, and will go to them whenever I can.
However, the convenience of note-taking, portability, page jumping, searching, in ebooks has led me to push all education/work related books to the ebook format.
Books for pleasure typically take the form of real books unless I can get them for free in ebook form.

 
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eBooks, nooks, kindles, etc are cool and all, but if I"m on a trip reading something like the Hunger Games, then I’ll want to be reading it for hours.. the technology dies quickly and I wont be able to read until it’s charged :s I prefer the real thing over the technology any day.

 
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Originally posted by FadeFemalePwn:

eBooks, nooks, kindles, etc are cool and all, but if I"m on a trip reading something like the Hunger Games, then I’ll want to be reading it for hours.. the technology dies quickly and I wont be able to read until it’s charged :s I prefer the real thing over the technology any day.

If you don’t waste batteries on things like wireless and bluetooth (unless your using them of course), your eReader can last for ages, of course thats if you have a more specialised eReader and less tablet.

 
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I’m not a big fan of the speed and waste associated with the gadgets of today, a new device that has general computing built in but is also a tablet or phone or car. There is always a new thing that out does the old thing and the market cycle is like 6 months!

That said, i would like to buy the story and get it in a few formats, paper, pdf, and a more flexable format like awz (amazon) where i can load it into a reader and adjust the size and boldness of the font and the page adjusts to fit the screen. I like paper editions for really valued stories or bundles of ideas in a non fiction book, it lasts without batteries and uses recyclable material. I like a kindle for batch loading short and long titles and i don’t know exactly what i want next.

My core problem is i want both paper and electric when I buy a thing of words, I haven’t seen a way to do this yet, its an untapped idea long over due.

 
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I prefer physical books over ebooks for several reasons.

What if electricity were to disappear? That could mean anything from being unable to charge your battery on your ereader to having widespread loss of electricity or power.

If you live in an area that’s hit by a power shortage and your ereader is dead, you have nothing. Nothing at all. What if the power weren’t to be turned on for a week? Month? Forever? That’s a fault that I don’t like.

I feel more comfortable and safe with a real book. If I were to lose all of my physical books in say, a hurricane or tornado, sure, tablets have an edge there… maybe. But your tablet won’t get charged either due to the lack of power.

Also if, hypothetically, that power went away if you only have ebooks you’re going to never be able to read again whereas if you always carry a book with you and the power goes you have a book.

I’m sticking with my physical books because it’s a one time purchase and they can be preserved to last forever. I don’t see an ereader being preserved in the future.

I carry All the Kings Men with me in case my phone or ereader dies. I’d rather have one good book than none.

 
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I think the thing I love most about electronic format books is that you are divorcing the content from the media.

You have all the information the book contains in one hand, and you have the physical format it is held on, in the other. The two are no-longer joined so you can do whatever you like with the data, without being constrained to one format.

I think part of my love affair of this way of doing things is in the necessity of accepting my body is slowly starting to fail me. As a girl, I would voraciously read and devour books. At age 11 I read my way through a hardback copy of ‘the hobbit’ within a week. By my mid-teens I was capable of devouring a small, 200-300 page novel in a night. Throughout my childhood I read my way through the town library’s fiction section from beginning to end. Not as impressive as that might sound – small town libraries don’t contain a whole heck of a lot.

These days I cannot do that. The love of reading has not gone, but my eyes are starting to. I cannot read in low light conditions any more, and the text starts to blur. Whilst I have been prescribed reading glasses to deal with this annoyance, I prefer not to use them, and instead have the book backlit to make it easier.

This is why every novel I own, and many I now no-longer own, I have an electronic copy of, on the home network’s file system.

That brings me to the other point. Books are big. They are bulky things that take up a lot of room. A novel might not seem like it takes up a lot of space, being only an inch wide, and seven inches high. But twelve of them still take up a foot of shelf space, and five or six hundred of the things take up the walls of an entire room. Textbooks are even worse; some of mine are just as thick and over a foot high themselves. I do have enough room in the house for a home library, but not everybody does, and I certainly cannot take that library with me when I go out. Even with enough room, I’ve had to bin, burn or take to a charity shop, box after box after box of books, because I simply don’t have room for them, and leaving them in storage has attracted silverfish, or mould and mildew.

Compare that with their electronic brethren, and there is no contest. As I type this, I have 12,000 novels, and some 2,300 textbooks on a network storage drive. It is two inches by seven, by six. For a little more than the storage space of two novels, I have an electronic copy of all of them, plus the ones destroyed by insects or rot. The drive is backed up as often as the rest of my network, so they’re safe.

Power outage isn’t a concern. I have UPS boxes, as any good tech-head does, and in an emergency there’s a petrol-generator down in the cellar. Eventually, when we can afford the outlay, a wind turbine generator is going out the back. That should put paid to any fear of losing power ever again (we’re too far north for photovoltaic to be worth the money).

It is just so much more convenient for me to be able to call any book up on any screen in the house. That way they are backlit, and I can increase the text size or change the font as desired. Quote taking is also infinitely easier as is searching the text for specific things I remember the author saying somewhere in there.

When I go out, I have a clinical tablet, and a kindle. I can load either up with files from the network – just copy them across – so I can access the books whilst I am out and about. It is for me, far easier than weighing myself down with textbooks I probably won’t actually need, and gives me the ability to read or note-take without exposing a fragile book to the rain and snow, or keeping a pen and paper about my person.

As technology advances, and the devices change, so long as they can read pdf or lit files, the data’s there all the same. (If they cannot, a converter between formats is easy to use). If the device dies or becomes obsolete, just toss it away or dismantle it for spare parts, and purchase another. The books are still there. Not the case when the book has become riddled with nesting silverfish in an exterior shed. The information is lost then.

Eventually we will reach the point where it will be possible to note-take on the digital copies of books as we do now with paper ones, and electronic paper that has the smell of paper books is equally possible. When we do, the digital books are already here, waiting for such devices. When those devices become old-hat, the books will again survive.

The worlds they take us to and the knowledge they contain, surely transcend the need to stay with any one specific medium, to contain them locked within the pages of a book or the data-store of a specific device.

 
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Books are more useful for certain tasks. Electronic reference material requires volition, you have to know what you’re looking for in order to find it. A book can be browsed with a flick of a few pages, and is more conducive to discovery and summary. That said, internal and external links make electronic media more interconnected, but I wouldn’t exactly say that this is the same discovery benefit that books offer as it is necessarily a convenience.

On the whole however, digital books are a wonderfully modern tool for a world of excessive media. Even a newly modernized tribe in South America can benefit from the ability to read nearly any book on a tablet that recharges on low voltage and lasts roughly a month. Outdated, heavy, expensive books are far harder to produce and distribute, making information even further democratized.

I still want to own my favorite books in a hard format. I still value the timelessness of a permanent fixture. I still have the greatest works at hand for my browsing and pleasure. I don’t see a world where books being more accessible for less money is ever a bad thing for books because it doesn’t include paper, and I am incredibly disappointed in book lovers who scorn the digital medium.