The eBook Dilemma

Posted on September 19, 2010

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If you know me, you know I’m a fan of technology. I love the convenience, the ease and modernism in it all. I try to try things out when they first come out, typically by visiting the store. If I don’t understand what the crap I’m doing as soon as I’m messing with it, I’ll drop it and give it a thumbs down. Probably not THE BEST way to review things, but I just have the attention span of a goldfish and if it’s not able to hold my attention span, I don’t give it a second thought. I should perhaps refine my ‘review process’…

image source: google.com, is this how the English spell 'dilemma'?

Target has recently started to sell the Amazon Kindle, and that’s where I laid my filthy hands on one. It didn’t help it wasn’t the actual Kindle on display, just a toy one. So it wasn’t that greatly reviewed on my behalf. I’ll admit, I liked the weight and feel on it. Even though it was just a display model, I liked it. A few days after that, Barnes & Noble introduced their ebook reader, the Nook. I REALLY liked it! It fit perfectly in my hands and lit up for day and night situations. Beautiful.

Since I wasn’t raised in the Rockefeller family, I decided to try reading a book from my Android device. I downloaded the Nook app for Android, FBReader and Aldiko. I really liked the Nook on my Android. FBReader and Aldiko didn’t really give me great book choices other than classics. I decided to download Olivia Munn‘s Suck It, Wonder Woman sample onto the Nook app on Android. I read the first 11 pages and I really dug it. $10.99 to download the rest of it. Uhhh… what?

That’s when I got to thinking. I don’t mind downloading music, as I’ll always have a backup of it on my computer and then I can put it on an actual CD to make it… tangible. How would I do that with a book? Print out the damn thing (as if that’s possible)?

$10.99 for something that will probably remain on my phone and never hold other than on my phone. This didn’t make me comfortable. If this is how I felt with an ebook reader on my phone, how is that any different from having an actual ebook reader (eg Nook, Kindle)?

It’s funny I felt this way, because earlier yesterday I decided to finally check out my favorite author’s site, Audrey Niffenegger. In it she had a FAQ section that I read in it’s entirety. I adored her a bit more afterward, because she writes with a passion. If it sells, it sells. If it doesn’t, she does it for the art of creating a book. Her quote on why you won’t find her books in ebook format definitely sparked a question I never even thought of: “As a book conservator I am also nervous about the digitization of books: will they be readable one hundred years from now? Or will thousands of books simply vanish as platforms and programs change?“. That’s where I got to thinking, a book is a piece of art. You hold it. You smell it. You flip through the pages to break it in for some (hopefully) heavy reading. How do you feel those exact same feelings in an ebook?

image source: bibliodyssey

I certainly believe eBooks have advantages and disadvantages. I love how I wouldn’t have to carry a book around and sneak in reads while at work. I dislike paying and not having something tangible. I really think what would fit my needs is if people bought the book, they can also access an eBook version from wherever they bought it, for free. I’m sure there’s a lot of ways people would abuse that, but we’re already in an age where people can download torrents of not just a song or album… but an entire discography for an artist with a click of a button. Shouldn’t it be time where we can do that with books? Remember, not everyone steals and there are those who understand that in order to make money, you have to lose some. But that’s a whole ‘nother post for another day.

Point is, perhaps there’s something out there I’m not fully aware of. If so, enlighten me. I’m sure there’s got to be a solution for my dilemma. It seems nowadays, there’s solutions for almost anything. Please let there be one for this.

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Posted in: Books, Techie