e-books, hardbacks or paperbacks our thoughts.

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Perpetual Man, Oct 29, 2010.

  1.  
    Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Former Comment Giver

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    When people first started really talking about e-books I thought the idea was abhorrent, a book is, well a book, pages of paper bound and true, coming with the weight and feel of a genuine solid thing. The whisper of the pages turning, the feel and colour of them is all part of the experience and pleasure, seeing your passage through the book as the bookmark gets closer to the end.

    Just how could an e-book compare to that?

    But... I love books, I collect them, and my favourite authors just have to be hardbacks, it is something that I have done for years, and nothing compares to the sight of them back to back on the shelf. Of course I still read paperbacks and like to see them on the shelf to, but my favourite authors and writers have to be hardback :rolleyes:

    There seemed to be a time when I flew through books at a great rate, I averaged a book a week, no matter what the size, sometimes more. But as I got older I found that there was less time to read, I became ill, was too tired to read; became a dad, had less time and was really too tired to read!

    Suddenly I looked and I was lucky if I was reading a book a month, let alone one a week. The trouble with reading hardbacks is they are bigger and heavier than paperbacks, true the smaller books can get damaged more, the spines split, but at least they are manageable. Sometimes lugging a heavy hardback around and trying to read it when you have a few moments to spare is virtually impossible, more effort than it is worth. This became even more clear to me as I was making my way through Reaper's Gale, a 900 page doorstop by Steven Erikson, part of the Malazan cycle.

    I was really enjoying it, carrying the book to work and reading it when I had a break, but it was far too big, and reading it in bed was just as awkward. And then I thought... e-reader.

    I downloaded the software, installed it on my home, laptop and work computer, got hold of a copy of RG and started to read. I did not have to worry about carrying the book around, and I could call it up on front of me just like that.

    And I noticed something else, I was reading faster than I had in a long, long time, and suddenly there I was considering getting a proper e-reader so I could read on the move...

    So is there a place for an e-reader, rather than replacing it's paper counterpart could it be used in conjunction with it, enhancing and apparently improving the reading experience?

    I still want to see the hardbacks on my shelf, but I could stop risking damage, and the awkwardness of the big ones...

    (I have to point out that it seems a tad unfair that you have to buy a hardback and an e-book in order to do this -does anyone know whether you can get an e-copy free if you by the err hardcopy?)

    So is there a place for e-readers afterall?
  2.  
    Dozmonic

    Dozmonic Member

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    I'm not a fan of hardback books. To me they're like releasing a "special edition" DVD before releasing one that just has the movie on. I'll only buy them if I reallllllllly want to read the book and don't want to wait.

    As for eReaders, I'm open to them. The ePaper technology I've seen is impressive. I haven't researched them to find out if there's an iTunes/Steam equivalent that, if you lose your eReader, you can add those items bought back onto your new one or not. If not, I'd never consider them until such a thing was in place. If so, then I'd consider one when I felt it was cost effective enough to have one.

    Rummaging through old books in a second hand shop is always fun and the closest you can come with eReaders would be similar to finding websites full of abandonware games :)
  3.  
    Moggle

    Moggle New Member

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    Personally I like owning a bunch of paper bound together. It's always nice seeing it on my shelf among all my other favorites. I'm not one of these people who likes the feel of holding a big hardback straining my arms and hands reading for hours on end. I don't get what that's all about.
  4.  
    CyBeR

    CyBeR New Member

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    I really don't get the deal with hardbacks. I have a couple in my bookcase, but mostly because they were handy when I got them...and a couple I think is the precise amount heh. Heavy, overpriced and really without much new for the experience, I don't understand why money should be wasted when a paperback offers all the same things.

    I'm planning on buying an ebook reader this Christmas. I have my eyes set on the new Kindle, especially since the price is actually pretty decent at 140$...add some 20$ for me for shipping I guess and I can raise that sort of money out of my student's scholarship. My only concern with this is the fact that I can't really estimate how large a 6" diagonal screen really is...and well I'm not a big fan on squinting while reading (the larger screen is at about 400$...not desirable for me).

    All in all I prefer the paperback. Sure, it may not have great durability or a great presence in the bookcase, but it's only the books that matter. I usually take great care of any book that I'm reading, so in my bookcase there are really few books with bent or cracked spines, or any damage at all. Since I carry books in a backpack, I tend to make protective covers for them before I grab them along...makes it easier to not damage them.
  5.  
    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    I love the physical feel of a book in my hands. But after havimng seen the screen on the Amazon Kindle recently, I have been toying with getting an e-book as like many of you, i am finding space to be an issue. The realism of owning lots of books that i may only read once also plays a part. With a Kindle, i can still have a large electronic library but less of the clutter. Any books that i think that i'll re-read i can get in a physical format.

    I shall still get my favourite authors ibn hardback though.
  6.  
    steve12553

    steve12553 The Enigma of Steel

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    I've used a Palm pilot for years now with book storage capability and enjoyed the convenience but I also have 5 large book cases and more books in boxes that I have accumulated over the years. I enjoy the medium of a good book in a comfortable chair. I also like the look and the comfort of a bookcase full of hardback books. After years of reading owning our own library of sorts gives one a feeling of sucess and support. I would much rather die having too many books left to read than live a very long time and not have any available.
  7.  
    Lacivetta

    Lacivetta New Member

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    I have had both a Sony eReader (stolen, along with my bag) and a Kindle. Both were good, I prefer the Kindle for ease of zapping books onto it and range from Amazon. I love love love reading on them. No more lugging bulky/heavy books in my bag, my main reading time is on the tube (if you're a bathtime reader, perhaps not the best). I'm forever getting new bookcases and it is a case of being realistic - although I do love to see my books on them. So now I think I shall get things for the eReader and if I love a book, will tend to get a hardback/special edition now I think.

    One small gripe I have is that not all of an author's series are available on them. For example Kim Harrison's witch series doesn't appear to have vol. 3 available as an ebook. I suspect (having seen bittorrent appear in my google results) that it's due to books being withdrawn through piracy? That is rather annoying though.

    Course if you're a graphic novels fan (I'm not) or art books (some) it's not the tool for the job. I also worry about supporting bookshops as I love being able to go in and browse/buy (waves hello to any staff in Forbidden Planet London who might be reading).
  8.  
    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    I know that it's a silly question, but do you down load the covers too when buying for an e-book? (Like with CD's.)
  9.  
    thaddeus6th

    thaddeus6th Active Member

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    I think e-books are a great idea for people who travel a lot and/or have limited space at home.

    I don't have a strong preference between hard- and paperbacks, but all else being equal I'd probably go for the hardback. I do have a preference for real books over e-books. In the future, I do intend to get an e-reader, as my space is quite limited and I keep shifting books around to try and make more room and occasionally send a box to a local hospice to be sold.

    [Which does make me wonder: would buying an e-reader be a misanthropic act as it would prevent my admittedly not very altruistic donations to a hospice shop?]

    Now I'm unsure. Maybe I won't buy an e-reader. Anyway, in the future I think half or more of books will be e-books, but real books will always be around. It'll be a bit like vinyl coming back even though it's not necessary.
  10.  
    Lacivetta

    Lacivetta New Member

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    Not a silly question at all. The Sony didn't use the covers - there was a small image for some, the Kindle does. The Kindle also has a random selection of 'covers' which are really nice which it puts up when it's asleep. There's probably more you can do with that but I've not explored it.
  11.  
    woodsman

    woodsman Double-stuff Oreos!

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    I don't see why Ebooks and 'hard'copy should be mutually exclusive.

    As for hard backs - I grew up in a religious household and my dads study is just four walls of books from floor to ceiling. Collections of various types going back, upto a couple of hundred years. There's something magical about holding a leather bound collection of letters or magazines containing material by my great grand parents. Or even just a novel with a list of signatures in the front. Will my trade paperbacks last as well and give my grand children the same enjoyment - I doubt it.

    Then again I see great advantages in moving towards Ebooks especially now that I'm travelling for a year - books are both large and heavy!
  12.  
    Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Former Comment Giver

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    Hmmm, I agree with both Rodders and Steve, I think. Having the book case and books is one thing, but being able to read something that is by no means as big and bulky as a full hardback is definitely a bonus.

    However, I think the thing that seems a bit off, is having to buy two copies of the book (if you want the Hardback, I might actually give up on paperbacks and just e-read).

    With Blu ray on the rise one of the things that impresses me is that on some films, you get the Blu ray movie, a digital copy and in some cases a DVD copy too. I guess the feeling is that you have paid for the film - so if you want to watch it on a second medium (Ipod, car DVD, portable DVD) it is all there in one package to use without having to pay twice.

    Shouldn't the same be true with this 'new' way of reading - if you buy the hardback you get a free download of the same book, should you choose too?
  13.  
    Moggle

    Moggle New Member

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    I don't see anything wrong with downloading a free pdf copy of the same book if you've already purchased it. The only issue you have to worry about is formatting and whether it'll look right on your kindle or ipad.
  14.  
    AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    E-books are great for reading, and the availability of old OOP classics that the library might not stock is a boon! I still love real books though, and nothing is gonna replace my David Attenborough books, or my Gerald Durrell collection for that matter. And yea if I had the money I'd have the collectible in hardback, under wraps, and an e-copy for reading!
  15.  
    AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    Calibre can convert pdf's to any format for any reader. I wouldnt recommend pdfs on a reader!
  16.  
    Lord Soth

    Lord Soth Mumbling though life

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    I suspect that the Blu-ray thing has more to do with enticing all those people who have yet to buy a BR player to buy the BR movies (I am in this boat!) Afterall, why buy the DVD when for a few pounds more you can get the BR version with the DVD and future-proof yourself? I suspect that these deals will fade after a few years and the majority have mode the switch...

    Anyway, regarding the e-reader set... I LOVE books, paperback/hardback whatever, and I don't expect downloading the latest book will ever provide the same sort of satisfaction as when you open that brand new Amazon delivery (or find a bargain in a charity shop) BUT, looking at my modest house where space is at a premium and most of my books are in the loft anyway out of site, I can't help thinking just how much more practical an e-reader will be.

    I'll probably get one before the year is out.
  17.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    I'm a complete convert to ebooks, I have been reading ebooks almost exclusively for over a year now; first on my laptop and more recently on a Sony reader.

    I love that no matter the size of the book it is light both, to carry and prop on my lap whilst reading. I love that I don't have to hold the page open (or damage the spine). I love that I can look up words with a quick double tap on the screen. I love that when I'm tired I can make reading easier by increasing the font size. I love that I can have hundreds of books to hand.

    The one big downside I have found is fantasy books with maps. They tend to be just too small on the standard 5" or 6" screens. I generally download a copy of the map and print it out. But that is still a pain.

    I suspect that in the future hard copy books will become a progressively exclusive (and expensive) market and the vast majority of reading will be ebooks including newspapers and magazines (when the screens get good enough for the graphics in magazines). As to how long the transition will take, I'm not too sure. I suspect it will take longer than the switch from vinyl to CD as nothing really changed there (except an improvement in the quality which some people didn't like!). However there is definitely a big shift in the "reading experience" with ebooks and so more resistance to the change is likely.
  18.  
    AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    Saw second hand readers in CEX for the first time today. Both Sony's one was a PRS 300 (the one I have) going for a paltry £75, and a PRS 600 for £115. Bargains!
  19.  
    Dornish First Sword

    Dornish First Sword New Member

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    Are there any fellow Aussies who have become ereader converts if so what are your experiences for availability of titles, i have no idea how the whole ebook things works here but i have heard that availability of titles is very limited here, if so whats the point really?
    I find the ereader idea fascinating and if i can get a huge selection of easy to purchase titles id be a convert.
  20.  
    AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    Well Project Gutenberg has tons of out of print books, fiction and none, all free. There's also manybooks.net and even an australian site I found, University of Adelaide something or other with some surprise finds.

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