Tuesday 17 August 2010

To Ebook Or Not to Ebook?

I love my gadgets! Every time I get a new one it's my new baby. Unlike most gadget geeks I don't seem to know the complete specs. I just like having them. I suppose I am quite shallow in that sense, all about the outside. I am, however, a book geek. I love books themselves. There is nothing like turning the pages, the smell of new books and not to mention the pretty covers. I love the unusual or limited edition books. Yes, I am that person who will fork out extra for a limited edition by one of my favourite authors. I am also that person who geeks out when a publisher releases some classics in new covers. In some cases this has lead me to have several copies of the same book. I am that sad!

So when ebook readers came on the market I was dubious. How can an electronic device replace a printed book? Book lovers will tell you that the content of the book is only part of the experience. Despite my dad nagging at me that maybe I should get one to replace all those piles of books I have (a sure sign of a non book lover if you ask me) I didn't pay much attention to them. Although I have to confess that the gadget loving me was curious.

I then saw a friend of mine with one. This friend is just as much of a book geek as I am so I know it wasn't a replacement (she still spends a small fortune on books each week). I couldn't help but instantly covet one. It was small and sleek which I wasn't expecting. It's ideal if you have to travel to work. My friend says she uses it to try out authors she has never tried before and I thought that was perfect. She downloads free samples before deciding to buy them (yes I know you can flick through the book in a shop but she has difficulty getting to bookshops sometimes). I wanted one but not enough to pay all that money. In that time I had to replace my laptop, phone, camera and ipod and to me these things were more important than an ebook reader (why do these things break down all at once). When I started selling them I wanted one even more. It didn't help that my dad was also considering getting one and we would spend time arguing over which ones were the best.

Well, I now have one in the form of my ipad. I downloaded the iBooks app and have been enjoying some books from it. It sill won't replace the read thing but there are certain aspects that I like. I love how I can jump from one book to another whilst travelling. I love that I can read in the dark. I also love the fact that I have tried some new authors thanks to this device and for the most part have enjoyed them.

There are things though that have caused many rants from me over the last few weeks. Sorry ebook producers but I am NOT going to pay full price for an ebook when I can have the real thing in my hand for the same price or less. It's madness that you have to pay the expense of a machine to read these things and then still pay the same as everyone else for a normal book. It's even worse for hardbacks. I recently bought "The Passage" as it has been raved about so much (haven't read it yet). It's a rather large hardback and obviously you are paying for that. Out of curiosity I looked up the cost on iBook and it's the same as what I paid for it. It's madness.

My second rant involves the availability of ebooks. Now I have only iBooks and amazon kindle to compare to each other in this case. However, I have come across the same situation in both. As I have said I love the ebook for trying out new authors and so I have been looking up several that I have been curious about in the past. With most of these authors their first book isn't available on iBooks or amazon kindle. Not a problem you would think except that in every single case it's been a part of an ongoing series. Book one is usually essential reading when it comes to a series. Logically you would make that available before book 2. Clearly that's just me though.

I do wonder if in some cases availability has something to do with the author or the publisher. A few very well known books I have looked up have also been unavailable. It's a little frustrating when you can download a book that encourages you to draw and paint on it with watercolours (wonder how my poor ipad would feel about that).

That being said I still use it. Every now and then I will get over my frustration and look up some books. I think this is going to be a love/hate relationship.

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