E-Books, And Why They Don’t Work For Me…

You may or may not have noticed (I guessed it depends on how much you follow the technology side of the news) that e-book readers are becoming more and more popular with Amazons Kindle being launched at a price where it suddenly doesn’t seem to cost too much for the device.  But is it actually worth it?  Firstly a bit of background about myself.  I’m a big reader, I enjoy settling down with a good book.  A few years ago when the BBC did a search to find the nations favourite book, I settled down and started by reading the top 21 shortlist, followed by extending this out to the top 100.  I’ve wiled away many a day in a comfortable corner with a good book and like to try and read as widely as I possibly can (though I’ve never really got into Indian literature – it just doesn’t work for me).  I have been known to be reading 4/5 different books at the same time, switching between them as my mood dictates, and if I go on holiday I normally carry with my 4/5 different books as well, just by dint of knowing how quickly I can get through them (as a speed read challenge I read Dickens Bleak House in a day)…  The basic gist I’m trying to get at here is that I enjoy reading, so surely a device that will allow me to carry hundreds of books in one easy light-weight package would appeal to me… Well for some reason it doesn’t. If I was to be completely honest I’m not sure why it doesn’t appeal to me either… I like my gadgets, I like reading, having a large selection of books/the option to buy one on the go seems a really good idea.  I admit the shape of the Kindle doesn’t really appeal to me, but there’s other devices on the market that appeal more and my phone does include e-book reading software which is use very regularly to do a bit of reading on the bus – and this is something that I really enjoy, being able to read on the bus without having to worry about the hassle of carrying a larger book around with me – I wouldn’t want to carry War & Peace to and from work every day no matter how good a read it is (which it is…).  The problem is I couldn’t see myself using one for everyday reading.  I enjoy the physicality of a book too much, the texture of the paper, the smell of a really new or old book, for me this adds to the experience of the reading.  Another big issue for me is power.  If my e-reader runs out of charge I can’t read my book, not a problem I have with a good old paperback – I’ve never had one of those fail on me yet (except for one book which was mis-printed…).  Finally a big issue for me is the cost – I buy a large number of my books second hand, because I acutally quite like it when the cover of a book looks a bit tatty, it shows the books been read – and surely a book that looks like it’s been read is more appealing than a book which sits on the shelf untouched?  For a start you don’t get this with e-books – they always look the same despite their age, or the number of times they’ve been read.  The other issue I have is the cost.  If I buy a book it’s normally a good cheap price.  The dicussion we were having earlier was fired by the cost of 1984 for the Kindle – £4.80 – I just ran a search on Amazon and was able to find the book for £0.01 plus postage (around £2).  This seems a much better deal to me, as after I’ve read the book if I didn’t enjoy it I can pass it on to the local charity shop, and they can get some more money out of it – something you can’t do with an e-book.  Don’t get me wrong e-book readers aren’t all bad – as my friend Steve pointed out, it means he can read in bed without waking his wife – which I’m sure is a big boon to both of them, it’s just that whenever I’ve tried an e-book reader it’s not worked for me, yes I will try a Kindle if I can get my hands on one, and it could be I’m pleasently suprised, but for now give me a paperback any day.


5 thoughts on “E-Books, And Why They Don’t Work For Me…

  1. I thought about ebooks in a very similar way to you before I bought my Kindle, Alex. I have always loved books and, in addition to being an avid reader, have also collected books ever since I was little (much to my parents’ annoyance! As well as loving reading, I also love books.

    The Kindle, though, just offers so many benefits. It’s small and light and I can carry all the books I could possibly want around with me. If I should run out of books I can buy another, pretty much anywhere in the world. If I should be unexpectedly delayed somewhere without my Kindle, I can just pull out my iPhone and pick up where I left off. I can get the classics for free, and bestsellers for less than the price of my Costa latte.

    I love my Kindle, and I’m quite sure that you too will succumb in due course! (Especially when you discover that my new, no doubt multi-award winning, novel will be available exclusively as an ebook!)

    • That’s where I saw the e-reader on my phone as a great opportunity to test out how much I’d use something like the Kindle – and I’ve found that despite having 20 books stored there I rarely use it – certainly not enough to justify paying out for a device…

  2. I’d quite like just to try and Kindle for a while without actually buying one, just to see if I use it. I’m unsure though – although I really like the idea of the Kindle, if I’m honest most of the books that I read aren’t novels, they’re generally Christian (non-fiction). I don’t know whether I would really use it enough to make it worthwhile. But it seems a brilliant idea which I hope catches on.

  3. This was quite the gorganian-style ramble about unowned technology. No doubt there will be a post a year from now evangelising the pros of the frequently used e reader..

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