eReaders versus Traditional Print Books

I’ve just been searching through some books on and was about to spend over £30 on books, very inexpensive really for the amount of books I’d be getting…But then if I waited for my student discount card to arrive I could make a saving of 5% on the order and receive free delivery…And then I was attracted to the price tags of the Amazon Kindle version of each of the books I was about to buy. Wow. Holy snap. :eek:

After reading all about the Amazon Kindle my thoughts trailed off to my bookshelf at home and my bedroom bookshelf, the potential growth of the bookshelf in the future from a small one to a full wall bookshelf, etc. Then I considered the environment and all the paper and the storage space and so many other things. All of a sudden an Amazon Kindle and the prospect of purchasing eBooks from here on out and storing them all in one place on the Kindle became such an amazing idea that I had to go refresh myself with a cold water splash on the face and a drink…I was about to spend £109 on an Amazon Kindle without hesitation. They’d done a damn good job at selling it all to me. Then I thought, well, aside from the price tag of the device itself - Why hasn’t everyone else jumped on to the eBook / eReader bandwagon?

Does anyone here on the SitePoint Forums have any experiences with ANY eReader device? Amazon Kindle, Sony eReader, Apple iPad - Anything that reads eBooks. I want to hear all your stories and experiences, and I’m sure other members would like to read them too!

For novels and non-text book material I don’t think anybody can have a reason not to use an eReader, but for text books and technology teaching books I think that print may be here for a while. For example, I’d still buy books like Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML & CSS in a paperback printed format but I’d buy books such as Sexy Web Design, or Online Marketing Inside Out as an eBook and read them using an eReader. If you’ve read any of them books or you know the type of content inside them books then you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

Right now I’m very tempted to order an Amazon Kindle, tomorrow it may be a different story.

Andrew Cooper

I’m defiantly in the print books camp, I’ve tried reading books in PDF before. But, I’ve always had to print them out in order to finish.

Yep. I’m a page-turner, too. But I rarely buy books. I get them from the library. (We have an outstanding library cooperative with availability to over 4,000,000 volumes that are delivered to my home library within a day.)
When I do buy books, it’s from – can’t beat the prices.
Oh, one exception: I like to buy a paperback at the airport before my flight. It’s just a ritual, but one I enjoy for expanding my usual reading preferences.

I don’t read books online.
I’ve bought some SP pdf books, and I haven’t read one of them so far. I do read a lot online, but it’s more forum posts, articles, and reference manuals. I search what I need, then I copy and paste :slight_smile:
But when I want to read a book, I prefer the good old fashioned paper one. In a comfy chair, in front of the fire place, in my bed… :smiley:
No kindle for me.

If you think you might change your mind so soon, better wait a bit before spending all that money :wink:

I was introduced to e-readers using MobiPocket on an old Palm IV. Now, I have a B&N Nook. I love it. I love to read, and I’m usually reading 2 or 3 books at a time. I probably go through about 3 novels a week. The thing that I love about e-readers in general, is the ability to carry around 4000 books in one device. If I finish one book, I can just scroll over to the next one and keep reading.

To me the most important thing is the story. I don’t care whether it’s bound in soft Corinthian leather and printed on heavy linen paper. I realize that some people love the feel and romance of books, but I just don’t get it. Is Ender’s Game a better book if you read it in hardcover? Does Frodo keep the Ring if it’s a battered old paperback?

Another plus with e-books is that I’m more apt to try new writers. Since I don’t have the physical encumbrance of a book, I’m more likely to load something in my Nook and give it a try. Baen books has figured this part out already with their free online library. Not to mention the environmental concerns… E-books don’t use paper, and they last forever.

Sorry for the rant. As to the OP’s comments, I think price & format confusion are currently the biggest issues in the e-reader market. Do I want a Kindle or a Nook or a RocketReader or whatever Sony’s got out? Pdf, .mobi, .lit, .html, .azw, .epub, .fb2, .pdb? And can I read all of my e-books on one reader? I felt safe going with the Nook, since it has a broad range of formats that it can use, plus I have apps that can convert between them, but it can be frustrating. And people don’t want to spend $200 on a reader that can’t read other formats.

Real books are my preference as well. I look at a computer screen all day in my job and still have a shelf full of books that I refer to from time to time. Yes it’s great to just “Google it” and find a quick answer, but the long term - read and learn is much better from a real printed book.

The initial draw of an electronic document was nice…but they are “out of sight, out of mind”.

I prefer physical books. Nothing better than going to a bookstore, flipping through pages, comparing books, buying, opening it immediately at home and start reading it. :eye:

I read a few books a month and I certainly wouldn’t be wanting to do that on an electric device. I spend enough times straining my eyes with computer screens. No need adding another 30-40 hours to my monthly eye torturing rituals.

I agree with the above. I prefer printed books. Yet, I’m trying to convert all my technical bookshelf into PDFs… the reason is that I simply don’t have enough space. And while I enjoy doing my searches in a physical book, and flipping through the pages, it is more efficient to get the PDF version and use the tools that come with Acrobat Reader… and I can copy/paste the code if I needed too.

I wish I could have the best of both worlds! :frowning:

I too prefer physical books. And I too read 30-40 hours/week.

I don’t mind doing “research” at my computer. Sure, it involves reading, but its not the same as what I consider to be “reading”.

The main reason? I guess its because when I read I like to be comfortable, very comfortable. And my computer is more “work mode”. The chair is OK but its not like being in bed or reclining in a comfy chair.

I don’t open a book “immediately”. I have a ritual I learned years ago. I gently open it slowly in various sections, a little wider each time. This helps to “work” the binding and in my experience helps preserve the life of the book. I hate it when pages start falling out :eek:

You can also read Kindle books on your computer, which is what I do.

Granted I don’t read much :o If there’s an electronic version of a book, whether it’s Kindle, a pdf or any other format, I will always prefer it to the dead tree version. Nothing better than buying it, downloading it and reading it right away, as opposed to waiting days or weeks for delivery, or sifting through bookstores (and not finding anything as usual).

But as you said, there are some books that are very useful in paper (then I’d get both versions). And then there are many of those who don’t come in any other format at all.

Otherwise, I’ve got the impression that the transition to e-books is quite widespread.

But the thing is… with web design/development books in particular, you have to go along with the exercises. So how would you get away with just reading the book? Do you skip the exercises? So I find the e-books much easier in this case.

I prefer the traditional book, yes I’ve got lots of e-books in my computer but I cannot stay long in front of the screen reading. It hurts my head and eyes.

I prefer to read traditional print books. I don’t know why. I just have no mood to read in front of computer, but if I have a print book which I’m interested in, I would finish it in one day. But if it is ebook, no matter how I want to read it. I haven’t finish one yet till now.

Well, like you said, the initial cost is prohibitive. If the device were more reasonable, like $25, more people would probably be inclined to make the purchase.

Second, like others have said, it’s not a book. You can’t put bookmarks and skicky notes in it like on a regular book. All the physical sensations that come from reading a book are absent from an eReader.

A book you can keep for years and years and years. Can the same be said for a digital file? How long before your device is obsolete and a new device can’t read the file format? Also, A publisher/store has the ability to delete a digital file remotely–they can’t take a book away from you.

Does anyone here on the SitePoint Forums have any experiences with ANY eReader device? Amazon Kindle, Sony eReader, Apple iPad - Anything that reads eBooks.
I demoed the first version of the kindle. The only think I really didn’t like about it was there wasn’t a comfortable way to hold it without accidentally hitting a button somewhere on the device.

I had a Sony e-reader and really liked it, the e-ink technology is great but yeah there is nothing that compares to having the book in your hand. Plus the screen size is too small for tech books. I sold my Sony e-reader. I always print chapters from ebooks to read.

Im probably just an oddball but I prefer having the actual book in my hand. I spend enough time looking at a screen of some kind.

heh, 'nuff said :slight_smile:

There is nothing like a printed book in your hand to be able to read when you want and to quickly swap to whatever page you need at any time (and to be able to compare what several different books say about something at the same time).

The only time I ever agreed to review a book from a PDF version was of a book that hadn’t been published yet and where they were hoping I’d write something in my review that they could quote in the book itself (which they did). In order to read that PDF I printed out all 600+ pages first. I often refuse to review books where they offer to send me a PDF and insist that if they want me to review it then they will need to send me a print copy. Unfortunately not everyone asks before sending me books to review and so I occasionally end up with printed books I don’t have any use for.

What’s been holding back electronic books is the issue of DRM. The issues over piracy (which can’t be avoided) has put a lot of end-users in a situation where they would be punished for buying a digital book (if it’s locked onto one machine) rather than a traditional book which has no such restrictions. Beyond that, the benefits of traditional books are limited. I would disagree that the reading experience is better, devices are getting much better at simulating the look and feel (lightweight portable devices), they can flick between pages well, they have the benefit of zooming text sizes for visually impaired people, they can read the books to you (like screen readers), you CAN add comments and bookmarks and stuff to them too. Regarding their lifespan… books get old, they fall apart, they degrade, they can burn in a fire (and you lose the thing permanently). Without DRM an ebook can be converted to new formats and be backed up (so you won’t lose it). IMO, print will eventually die out and become one of those collectable things from the old days (like old records), it’ll just take a generation or two to go round to the fully digital way of thinking. :slight_smile:

PS: I prefer digital books, especially if it’s a technical title… copying code is so much easier!

A friend of mine just bought a Kindle and I was amazed by the technology behind it. It doesn’t strain the eyes because it isn’t a screen. It’s “e-paper”, where all the electric current does is swap black pixels for white ones. This means it only uses power when you change pages, so another misconception I had was blown out of the water - that it constantly drains a battery. The size of the “screen” is about the size of a paperback and all in all I thought it was pretty nice.

The only drawback is that it isn’t a book and like others have said, I just like the physical feel of a book. Plus like Force Flow said, there’s no easy way to hold the damn thing.