Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ebooks vs paper books

I went into a real bookstore a couple of weekends ago. By 'real' I mean a physical bookstore that sells books made of paper, as opposed to an ebook website. I saw two books I was interested in reading. They happened to be on special and I considered buying them. But then I paused, I just don't know if I can bring myself to purchase physical books anymore.

I find physical books so incredibly inconvenient compared to ebooks. I have many friends who are avid readers and are appalled by these comments. I totally agree with them that there's something really nice about having the physical book sitting on the bookshelf. It looks great, it really does, much nicer than an ebook.

However, I travel quite a bit and I've moved 7 times in less than 5 years, including living in 3 different countries. When moving around this much, physical books are a huge hassle. So no matter how much I feel like buying a physical book, I always stop myself and remind myself that I should go and see if it is available as an ebook.

Back to the beginning of my story... the two paper books I was interested in... I looked them up in my preferred online ebook store, Fictionwise. One was available, the other was not. I've purchased the one which was available, and am going to continue thinking about the other. Perhaps if I wait a while it will appear on Fictionwise?


Michiel van der Blonk said...

As you know I also live in another country. On top of that, I used to live in small places in the small country of the Netherlands. Here's what I used to do: I'd buy a book, read it, then usually sold it at a second hand book store, gave it away, or ultimately threw it away. But please, don't tell my erudite-literature-book-loving parent ;-)

David Jeffery said...

That's really interesting Jas. I haven't bought many books in the last couple of years, partly because of the hassle of moving house with lots of books and partly because the info available on the web means I don't need to be nearly as many reference / non-fiction books.

But I can't imagine reading fiction in an e-book, perhaps mostly coz I use my computer at work and almost never turn it on at home.

Do you curl up and relax with an e-book? Do you just use a laptop and sit on your couch? It seems a bit alien to me but I guess there's no reason why that can't work just as well as a paper book. Do you find you still read as much that way?


Jasmine said...

I definitely curl up in bed with the e-book on my iPAQ. I've never read a book on the laptop.

The other cool thing is that the iPAQ is back-lit, so I don't need to worry about a lamp and making sure it's at the right angle. Also, it doesn't matter how huge the book is (which is an issue when holding the book in bed) because an e-book doesn't add any weight to the iPAQ. :)

David Jeffery said...

Well I'm impressed. I would have thought it would be hard on your eyes but it sounds like it isn't at all.

Ahmed Aldeeb said...

This ebook against paper books is really annoying me ... I do agree with all the advantages u've mentioned about the ebook ... I have a tablet pc and of course it is not as light as iPAQ but it still works ... I have all my school books on it but when I sit down to study I believe I get more in from a paper book than from the ebook ... I think I get distracted by the email or IMs or playing a game or anything else ... do u think it is just a period of time and I'd get over it or should I stick to the paper book and save the effort of scanning it to the computer ?

Jasmine said...

When I'm reading an ebook I'm not online, so there's no argument that I'll get distracted by IM or incoming emails.

I find paper books to be terribly annoying and a waste of space. I generally do my best to avoid paper books, however, I still occasionally go into bookstores and wander around, especially those enormous multi-storey bookstores which are kinda fun.