Yesterday’s post had the inflammatory, and slightly misleading title of “The anti-eBook rant”. So to balance things out a bit, today I present to you, “In defence of eBooks”. Of course, as with yesterday’s title, it is a bit misleading. I’m not really going to defend eBooks — they don’t need defending… they’re doing quite nicely without my metaphorical sword and shield.
Yesterday I outlined why I don’t currently read eBooks. Today I’m going to tell you under what circumstances I would use them in the foreseeable future.
Remember what I wrote about my need for a physical product? About how I purchase music on CD and then transfer it to my iPod. Well, if the dead-tree books that I purchased came with a digital copy as well… then perhaps I could be enticed into giving it a go. I can imagine a scenario…
I have purchased Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician trilogy in lovely hardcover volumes. They come in a limited edition, collectable slipcase, which also contains a medallion of the Magicians’ Guild logo with an engraved code. I hop online, enter my code and download my digital copy of the trilogy. I load it up onto my mobile phone. I then proceed to read the lovely hardcovers. But then I get stuck on a train that has broken down between stations… and I finish the first book… and I don’t have the next one with me… oh wait… I whip out my phone and begin to read book two.
But am I going to go out and specifically puchase an eBook copy of every dead-tree book I buy, on the off chance that I’ll need it in an emergency? I don’t think so.
So, under what other circumstances could I be enticed over to the digital side?
If I was to go back to study (and I do occasionally toy with the idea of a PhD), I think that I would use eBooks. The idea of heading off to Uni with just an iPad, rather than a bagful of books is rather appealing. As is the ability to search reference books. Yes, if I were a student I would definitely use eBooks.
Sometimes, my wife and I talk about our retirement — about a not-too-distant future, after we’ve kicked the kids out and earned enough money to do some extensive travelling. We talk about selling our house, downsizing to a small apartment, and heading off to explore the world in six-month long expeditions. And if this were ever to come true, I think I’d much rather pack an eBook reader than a suitcase full of books that I’d have to carry from one country to the next.
But, until the world travel or the return to study begins, or until dead-tree books come with a digital copy enclosed… I’ll stick with the good, old-fashioned dead-tree books.
Readers of eBooks, feel free to hurl abuse at me in the comments section below. 🙂
Oh, and check out this really good blog post about eBooks from Melbourne author Narrelle M Harris — I don’t love books! (I love stories.)
Catch ya later, George
PS. Follow me on Twitter… you know, if there was a dead-tree version of Twitter, I’d be using it! 😉