Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Books vs. Ebooks

I posted this on facebook earlier, so sorry for the repeat. Just looking for more input before my 14 days of ability to return for a refund expire. So I got a kindle for Christmas and after a few days of using it I am considering returning it. Here are my thoughts on the matter. Am I missing something here? Aren't ebooks supposed to be better? Are they? I like it because: 1. It is kind of exciting - a whole world of books/magazines is at my fingertips and downloadable anywhere in the house or anyplace with Wifi at any time within seconds (seriously - 5 seconds or less!) 2. It is convenient to only have one "book" to carry around. 3. I can read in the dark (accomplish-able with just a reading light, of course) 4. The classics, for the most part, are free. 5. Most books are cheaper than buying retail/new. 6. I can get new books whenever I want (ie. Once we had to drive 25 minutes out of our way just to get a book we wanted to read on the road. We were lucky they had it!) 7. It holds my place in a bunch of different books without me needing to use a book mark or deface the book. 8. It will stay "open" on a treadmill, unlike hard copies of books. I don't feel like it is worth the money because: 1. I cannot see the setup of the book the way it is because all the pages are formatted for kindle. For instance, when I am reading Ivanhoe I cannot see where the footnotes go to because they are not necessarily differentiated from the rest of the text. Chapters start in the middle of the "page" and I can't necessarily tell what sections there are (ie. Introduction, Prologue, etc, which may or may not be an essential part of the text) and how they fit in or who they are written by, thus making it harder for me to determine whether or not to read them or from what point of view they are told, or if they are truthful or fiction!) 2. Suppose I just want to finish my chapter (often the case) - I have to flip through all the pages until the next chapter (which starts in the middle of a page) to see how far I have to go, and my place is not held while I do so. So I have to remember where I am in the book while I go searching around. Sometimes I like to look ahead in the book too, just to see what is coming - does anyone else do this?? If I am holding a physical copy of the book, I just hold my page with a finger. 3. There is just something about being able to flip through a book and tell how far you have read etc that is just impossible with a kindle. I mean, they have a little percentage on the bottom that will tell how far, but it is not the same as being able to feel it. Plus, they include all the pages in the book in their page count, not just the content of the book that I would actually end up reading (they include the notes and intros and everything, which does not make it a very good indicator of where you really are in your reading). 4. I would love for our kids to be in a reading mood and just go to our little home library and pick out a quality book. I am not sure how likely that is, and obviously it will be awhile before they start reading my kind of books, but in order for this to be a possibility, we have to physically have the books, not just digitally. Now, at least with the Nook I believe, you could share digital copies of the book. But that is not the same as being able to see how big a book is and read the back and see what kind of vocabulary level it is etc. 5. I am nervous about using it in the bathroom, kitchen, near the pool, etc for obvious reasons. 6. For some reason, perhaps intangible, I am finding it harder to "get into" the books I have got than I think it would be if I had a physical copy. I often read books that I think are page-turners that don't start out that way. 7. I could continue checking out books at the library or buying them used on amazon for less than the kindle copy. Please tell me what you guys think!


Heather K. said...

Ooh! I don't know! I have thought about getting an android tablet for Alyson when she is in the hospital so she has something to play with. And with that you can download a Kindle app I think? So if you return it you could do something like that if you have been looking into a tablet. I haven't read a book in a LONG time so I want to get into reading again. I like your pros and cons about the Kindle vs a book.

Lori said...

Several thoughts on this. First, my local library has free ebooks that you can "checkout" onto your kindle or other application and read them. Then they disappear (a.k.a get checked back in) off your kindle in a few weeks or so. That way you don't have to pay so much money for some of those books that you may only read once. You should see if your library has something like that available. (Ours links through the library webpage when you login with your account number & password). Secondly, I have iBooks on my ipad (merry christmas to ourselves this year) and it is pretty awesome. It pretty much looks like I am reading an actual book with a left & right page, chapters that start on a new page, it tells me what page I'm on & how many pages are left not only in the whole book but how many pages are left in the chapter that I'm reading. It has a scroll at the bottom so you can skim the pages or jump straight to the end (although I don't understand why you'd do that). For the childrens books - it's got all the pictures and looks like the real book with the added functionality that you can have it read to the kids. (I've only got Brown Bear, Brown Bear installed right now - but it is just the same as the real book). It's awesome. I feel like I am reading a real book without having to have one. iBooks also has many free classics like the kindle. There is also a kindle app for the ipad, but I don't think I will install it. Granted my iPad is more expensive than a kindle, but I can do so much more than read of course... (don't get me started on all of the educational kid games I've installed and all the time waster games Cameron and I love to play too)...

Lori said...

P.S. Just because you own an ebook device, doesn't mean you can't go to the library and check out real books for you and the kids. :) I still fully intend on doing that quite often (we go every week if not twice a week). Plus we also check out kids shows (signing time, Caillou, Dora (which drives me nuts), etc.)

Audrey said...

Dear Ashley, et al!
I have owned the Kindle 2nd Edition for over 5 years now. I freely go between reading "real" paper books, library and also from the Book Store. I have loved my Kindle sooo much. It is so great to be able to carry 1,000 books in my purse. I have taken it on airplanes (so small and non-bulky), vacations (so many books so little time) and I have the 3rd generation to my mother last year for her birthday (she is 73 yo). This year I was the surprised recipient of the new Kindle Fire. It even does more!! And ... still I am woe to part with my first Kindle. (that is another story)
1) Don't be afraid of using your Kindle anywhere. Amazon is the most amazing company. I have had one friend replace hers 3 times for very nominal fee.
2)My co-workers college age kids get almost ALL of their text books on kindles (then they delete them, and they cost less)
3)There are many free books. My mother is subscribed to a blog by MIchael Gallagher, who tells you all about the Kindles use, and where to get those free books...and when.
4) after reading a few books, the number of pages or the % read is just not important. And yes you can bookmark your location and then look forward and go back to your bookmark!!
5) and probably my favorite feature! The internal dictionary. just place the cursor next to the word and the definition comes up!!!
I am not sure which on you received. But I love Whispernet/Cloud.
Please call or text me.
But make your decision for you. I love both of mine (even if one of them needs a new home, oy!)

Audrey said...

please forgive the typos! "I gave my mother a Kindle."