e-Everything? I prefer Real Books but e-Books seem the Future

Books to read

Any of us that love to read would agree that we love to hold a real book in our hands” ~ Scott Bid­dulph of Two Drops of Ink

The future of books has for more than a few years been an open ques­tion, there have been pre­dic­tions about the col­lapse of the book indus­try for quite some time, yet almost every-time we think we have seen it’s death knell the print­ed book gets a fresh lease of life. I am cur­rent­ly seek­ing a pub­lish­er for my nov­el, whose work­ing title is “Break­ing the Sins of Our Past” and every new pub­lish­er I look at seems to be half way between the print­ed book and the e-book.

books with girl royalty free image from dreamstimeIt will always be clear to my mind an e-book does not have the same look and feel as hold­ing a real book does, the effort to turn the page is mighty, it sig­nals to the writer (albeit they are not present) that we have tak­en the trou­ble to read every word on the page and have claimed vic­to­ry over page 139, before mov­ing on to page 140 and start­ing the chal­lenge all over again. Turn­ing that page doesn’t mean we have under­stood every­thing the writer said, we may have had to bat­tle with some con­cepts (espe­cial­ly when the book is dis­cussing one fine point of a new the­o­ry we seek to under­stand). I would pre­fer my nov­el become a real book, but I also have to be a real­ist and under­stand that e-pub­li­ca­tion may be where I attain my first sale, but then I ask the ques­tion how would an author sign an e-book? Arguably anoth­er way the e-book degrades the read­ing experience.

Com­mut­ing on pub­lic tran­sit, or when fly­ing half way around the world there is a dis­tinct advan­tage offered by the e-book, you can take your entire library with­out break­ing the scales at the check-in desk. Over the past few years we have seen onslaught of eRead­ers  apps for the spe­cial­ist read­ers, com­put­er, Android or Apple tablet device, or smart phone and I have to say that I have spent more than a few hours in book and elec­tron­ic stores look­ing at the capa­bil­i­ties of each tool on offer.

99% of my read­ing is non-fic­tion and one aspect of a non-fic­tion book is that it is rarely read in a lin­ear way, I will read a chap­ter titled “From de Vin­ci to the Wright Broth­ers” today because I am inter­est­ed in find­ing out more about the birth of flight for a writ­ing project I am work­ing on but it may be years before I read the rest of the book, this is par­tic­u­lar­ly true for sci­en­tif­ic or pro­fes­sion­al books and in some regards such read­ing lends itself more to the e-book, espe­cial­ly if you have an App that can allow you to search through your entire library for a par­tic­u­lar con­cept, but hey, guess what? Most eRead­ers are not capa­ble of per­form­ing such searches.

Anoth­er thing I have done when read­ing a fac­tu­al book is high­light things the author says and some­times I may use yel­low or orange to indi­cate impor­tant things, a pink shade for any state­ment I dis­agree with and a green shade if they make a state­ment I agree pro­fuse­ly with. I want­ed to see if this were pos­si­ble with eRead­er soft­ware and have to say most fall far short of my desires, but of course as soon as I pub­lish this one read­er will post a com­ment stat­ing they have the ide­al read­er that does every­thing I desire. My point is that if I high­light some­thing I can come back to it years lat­er and retrace my thoughts about the book, I should be able to do more with eRead­er soft­ware, for exam­ple search every­thing about tech­nol­o­gy that dis­cuss­es robot­ics and com­bine that with a search of every­thing about law for the same sub­ject, this would make a pow­er­ful research tool.

epub logoThe truth is it may take time for the soft­ware to catch up with my desires, espe­cial­ly as no eRead­er soft­ware com­pa­ny has ever asked what func­tion­al­i­ty I desire, the truth is these apps will improve with time. The chal­lenge for the writer is one over which site and for­mat will pro­vide the widest reach but again that ques­tion is a mov­ing tar­get as the tools become more adapt­able and wide­ly used. At some point in the future I do per­ceive the pos­si­bil­i­ty of car­ry­ing around a mas­sive library of e-books with me on a tablet, although I am not sure I rel­ish the prospect of pur­chas­ing every­thing in my col­lec­tion again in an elec­tron­ic for­mat, it is a sim­i­lar prob­lem faced by the CD, cas­sette or 8-track tape, or Vinyl album. Ulti­mate­ly I do not see books as dis­ap­pear­ing altogether.

Ta a large extent the biggest chal­lenge in the future is the ques­tion self-pub­lished ver­sus pro­fes­sion­al­ly pub­lished works. Although there are some pro­fes­sion­al­ly writ­ten self-pub­lished books and e-books it is true to say that all too many are plagued with errors.


Buy Peter B. Giblett a cof­fee as a thank you for this article.


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One Reply to “e-Everything? I prefer Real Books but e-Books seem the Future”

  1. […] much as this thought scares me, the genius who is born tomor­row may nev­er pick up and read a sin­gle book dur­ing the course of their life­time, to them all read­ing will be done anoth­er way, through the […]

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