Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I wandered into our local Waterstone's last Saturday and whilst I was browsing I came across the Sony Ebook reader which they have just launched there. Being curious, I had to have a little look.
I want to like ebooks. I quite like gadgets, so the idea of getting so many volumes on one little piece of equipment is appealing. It would certainly save space in our house which is looking more and more like a public library ( but less tidy). I do sometimes read ebooks on my laptop now, just to save a few trees.
But I don't think I could justify buying an ebook reader. For a start there is the cost...£200 before you've even put a book on it. Yes the Sony comes with a vast CD of out-of-copyright classics, but most classics are available to download as free ebooks anyway if you search the web. Another ebook reader available in the UK costs almost £400. Then there is the cost of the books themselves. Ebooks are only marginally cheaper than the list price of their print equivalent, depite the fact that once the ebook has been produced there is no ongoing manufacturing cost. Why, when I can walk up the road and pick up a paperback novel for as little as 39p in our local hospice charity shop, would I want to pay that much money (except perhaps for books that are hard to source)?
Then there is the digital rights problem. Ebooks come in a number of formats which are not compatible with each other. Not every book is published in every format and they can only be read by the purchaser on a small number of compatible and registered gadgets. So if you go with Sony now, you may well be tying yourself into Sony in the long term...fine if you get on with it, not so good if you don't.
I'll admit that I do have some ebooks on my computer and two different ebook readers...Microsoft Reader and Adobe Digital Editions. Many of the books are classics I have downloaded for free, others are slightly obscure writing textbooks or other nonfiction which I have purchased electronically to save space at home. I don't really enjoy reading books on a screen enough to read for pleasure that way, so for now I don't really see the point of an ebook reader. I don't commute, I don't go on long flights,I'm quite happy with just a paperback stuffed into my handbag when needed.
The only ebook benefit I can see is that because the print can be resized I can pop some OU manuals and other textbooks onto a memory stick and read them on the tiny screen of my Eee pc using Microsoft Reader or Adobe Reader, if I am away from home. For now I think that will have to do, though of course were I to be given a Sony Reader for Christmas I'm sure I could probably be converted...
Three notable things:
1. Got son 1 to the dentist yesterday. He did have to have one filling but it was only a tiny one and was done then and there.
2. The juggling the doctor's appointments on Monday didn't work out well. I just knew it wouldn't!
3. Better late than never, I forgot to mention earlier that the lovely Calistro has had not one but two bits of brilliant and well-deserved writing news recently, something to give hope to us all!