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Thread: Books vs ebooks, how easy is the transition?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Books vs ebooks, how easy is the transition?

    I was given a Kobo for the Holidays, I got two e-books but unlike real books, I had not had any desire to start reading.

    I don't know why. Eversince I can remember, I usually found a way to read a great percentage of small libraries (schools, small town private lending libraries or public ones), but they were exclusively book libraries.

    It might have to do with the fact that, now, the books have to compete with the internet but I have had both internet and library cards as well as frequent trips to bookstores for at least a decade.

    I feel there is something missing in the ebook experience.

    How easy is the transition from a book reader to an ebook reader?

    Am I the only one dealing with this, or am I too old fashioned?

    Maybe, all I need is an FJN to hold my e-reader on one side and paper on the other side, so I can take note and have the physicality of the book form.

    I could try that with my regular FJN and the Kobo e-reader in a MOP.
    Last edited by backpack; 01-05-2015 at 10:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Honolulu, HI
    @backpack. I'm probably not the best person to answer this question about transitioning to eBooks, because I don't think I had the typical reaction when first experimenting with the Kindle (I experimented diownloding old children's book illustrations by authors whose works were in the public domain to check whether the color and ink drawings looked good on the iPad Kindle app -- they did), I usually don't buy new releases/best sellers in eBook format, (most of my eBook buying is highly discounted -- under $2-$3), and I have a number of (printed) books on typography, etc. including multiple editions of Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style). That said, I have several hundred eBooks (mostly on the Kindle, but also in the Kobo app, and others).

    The big advantage of the eBook format is portability of a large library in a single reader. Also, you can adjust font size and contrast for your preferences, and do searches for passages, and bookmark them. Ypu can also preview samples of a book. On the down side, several eBook versions are very badly formatted and some look as though they have been run through an OCR program without much proof-reading or checking. It's hard to find the best editions when you first get started.

    I like nicely typeset and formatted printed books, and do not, as some do, speak disrespectfully of these versions as DTB (dead tree books). However, I'm used to reading eBook versions (in many cases that's the only format avaialble.). So my advice is to give it a try. What sorts of books do you like to read? Which books did you get?


    ETA: a nice side effect of the popularity of eBooks is that many publishers started examining their back lists and began to release book editions that were out of print for many years in eBook versions.
    Last edited by moriond; 01-05-2015 at 10:42 PM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Moriond's answer is great.

    I was a cynic, or a least a skeptic, for a long time: I saw people reading these things, and thought they must just not realize that reading a book on paper is magic, and reading a screen seems dull and lifeless. But last year I did more travel for work than usual (by plane), and was caught by the display I saw of some used Kindles at an electronics store. "Gee," said I, "I could get one of these for $40 and stop carrying so many paper books around." With carry-on baggage restrictions getting ever worse, that was the tipping point, and I ended up paying about twice that for the more recent model a friend of mine was selling, a Kindle Paperwhite.

    It's great.

    It's not the same as paper books, by a long shot, but that's for good as well as bad.

    The bad: It lacks the feel of actual paper, and even the best contrast with current e-ink does not beat ink on paper; it's battery dependent -- an annoyance even with the impressive battery life it does have; not all books are available as e-books, and I don't want to pay yet again for books I've bought once or in some cases more than once on paper over the years.

    The good: I can comfortably read without an external light -- handy for not disturbing others; it's light (lighter than most books, even paperbacks); capacity is tremendous; I can use it to read PDFs, too (but see below); not having pages means it's nice to read when I'm dining alone, without need to prop open or constantly lose my place; there are tons of free or very cheap books out there; annotation is surprisingly easy.

    I was wrong; my Kindle is now high on the list for nearly any trip. The charge it holds is good enough that I rarely worry about recharging -- a week or two, I just give it a jolt beforehand. And lots of books I like have been offered at low price, so my initial ambition to use it only for out-of-copyright stuff faded, and I'm happy in certain cases to do just what I said above that I didn't want; I've bought a few Neal Stephenson books for $2-3, which is cheaper than a chiropractor, and I leave the paper versions at home
    Last edited by timothy; 01-06-2015 at 01:57 AM. Reason: switched grafs for flow

  4. #4
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    Mar 2009
    I've had two Kindles, a Nook and now a Kobo.

    I read a lot....and I absolutely love my Kobo. I like it so much I now have problems reading a real book. As Moriond mentioned, it's lightweight, holds tons of books, I can adjust the font size and my old eyes are thankful for that, and I can read with the all the lights out since the Kobo has its own light.

    There are literally hundreds of free ebooks available and many libraries are now lending ebooks.

    It took awhile to get used to the ereader when I first started but now I doubt I'll go back to regular books unless it's absolutely necessary.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Downeast Maine
    I don't use my kindle exclusively. I live in the boonies, it is a 90 mile round trip to the nearest bookstore. I don't get there often so being able to find things on line has been great. I have 4 four books over in the corner waiting for me. I like my kindle or phone for travel. It takes up much less space than some paper books.
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

  6. #6
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    GMT +1 Germany, North
    I love e-books for travel. Having something to read to the kids in my bag has helped with many long waits. But as I am more of an Audio-book person myself the ebook-reader does not get as much use as it could.
    Sadly there are some Authors not available on ebook for example Astird Lindgren. On the other hand I found some Childrens books that I would never have found in a book store because they are not "resent" and we love reading these old stories.

    backpack try your favorite author or your favorite genre on it first. If the story so good, that you do not want to put the device down you have a good chance to warm up to the device. My first approach to ebook was for learning... did not work out good. Than I tried it for fun... much better!

    backpack and Rocks like this.

  7. #7
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
    Puget Sound region
    All good advice above. The only books I do not read on a Kindle are books that require or drive a lot of notetaking or where I'm to do a lot of flipping around as in a reference book (except dictionaries and I use apps for these). So all of my cookbooks, gardening books, field guides, travel guides , atlases are in paperback. Nature guides, particularly, are rarely available as ebooks. All my fiction reading goes on the Kindle.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

  8. #8
    Registered User nukediver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    I'm in total agreement with @monkeylady on this. Almost all of my fiction reading is on my Kindle Voyage (a birthday gift to upgrade from an older kindle - love it!). I travel a lot and I love to read every day so having the kindle has been great. My library also lends ebooks, which is another plus. That being said, I will never give up my love of paper books - the smell, the feel, the look. You would only need 15 seconds in my house to understand this about me

  9. #9
    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Colorado Springs
    I use Kindle app and Overdrive app on IPad for ebooks. I try to read what I call "consumable" books electronically. Those are books I'd read only once. Books that require notes, close re-reading, reference, etc. must be in print. My bookshelves are full, so I have to be careful about what I acquire in print now. I've learned the hard way that I can't use ebook versions for poetry or faculty work that I read in my MFA program.

    Love using library ebooks and digital audio books for travel. I can stock up on several interesting things, and the books are returned automatically for me, in case I forget when I return home. I also check out CD books from the library and load them into iTunes for when I travel.

  10. #10
    Registered User sujo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    It took me a while to transition, but I now use the Kindle app on my iPad mini and love it. My reason was mainly the formatting of ebooks, opposed to bound copies.

    In a past career, I designed college text books. I loved that job, but when the office closed, I was unable to move to where the jobs went. Anyway, just before the office closed in early 2000, we had just begun creating ebooks for ancillary materials. Just PDFs students could read on their computer, but I thought, wouldn't it be neat to have a book-like computer to read them. So, when the Kindle first came out, I thought, "Wow, that's a great idea." I got the 2nd generation Kindle but was underwhelmed by it. It just didn't flow; I didn't get the "book" appearance. It took a few years to get past my formatting issues and enjoy the ease of the ebook.

    I enjoy it a lot more now that I have the Kindle app on both my iPhone and iPad mini and read using them almost exclusively now. Perfect for travel, as others said. I also find it very convenient when I give blood and plasma. I do this regularly, and having the app on my iPhone is perfect for the hour or so the process takes. I can hold the phone and read with one hand while I'm pumping blood out the other arm.

  11. #11
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Minneapolis, MN
    Backpack, I think you're on to something regarding the cover. One that flips open can make the device feel more like a book. I actually love reading on my Kindle. I find it more immersive than paper books.

    I really love my Kindle Paperwhite for long books (big books are heavy!) and for travel. In fact, choosing a Kindle book is an important part of my trip prep.

    I love also love dead tree books. I love paper. But pretty much, only cookbooks and art books (I get exhibit catalogues from the Walker Art Center for free)
    come into the house now. I also have a huge library just a few blocks away. I can never get over that the library lets me read books for nothing.

    Also, your Kobo should let you download ebooks from your public library. That's my favorite feature of my kindle. Play around with the fonts. Certain books read better in a different font.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    I think I agree with everything that's been said so far. I never, ever thought I would transition from paper to ereader, but I buy most books (not technical, travel, or cook, though) electronically now. What I love most is the searching. It always helps when you're trying to remember "now who was that character again?" I even find myself looking for the search when I'm reading a paper book. That, and glancing at the top of the book to see what time it is!

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Seattle, Wa
    As someone who has always been an avid reader and had a habit of accumulating too many books, a few years ago I started relying primarily on library books for the majority of my fiction needs (I did not want to be one of those people discovered crushed by a stack of all her books, ha ha). I was initially very resistant to the e-reader concept, since it seemed unnatural to me, as I just love the tactile experience of reading a paper book. After trying a basic Kindle and later a Kindle paperwhite though, I cannot imagine lugging a hardback book for travel. It is simply so convenient, especially given the built-in light, its light weight (approx 7 oz) versus library size, and extended battery life, that it is one of the first things I pack for travel. I even bring it as my luxury item when backpacking! And when I hiked a good portion of the Wonderland Trail this past summer, I downloaded a guidebook that I would read each night to prepare for the next day's sections. In these instances I love my Kindle. Do I still prefer the experience of reading paper books? Yes. But in a pinch, when the waitlist at the library is too long, I will now sometimes splurge and download to my Kindle. Like Monkeylady, I prefer reference books like cookbooks in paper form, since it is just easier to skip to different sections.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    I prefer books, but I do like that my Kindle is easy to prop up against a pillow in bed and has its own light for reading at bedtime which I do every night. (I also like that it has Amazon Prime streaming movies for watching in the bathtub!) But nothing beats a book with pages when I am reading in nearly every other situation. Nice to bring a few books on the Kindle for travel, though.

    Check this out:
    Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books - Mic

  15. #15
    Registered User binje's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    My mother is dealing with this issue right now. She just can't get into trying out books on her iPad, though it doesn't help that her local library was singularly unhelpful in getting her started with Overdrive. She is, however, looking forward to using it for reading if she does any air travel. I had no problems with the transition, but I first bought an e-reader because of travel and it made all the difference with weight and organization. That was before touch screens and wireless book downloads, so it was quite the effort to actually get a book. It wasn't until I got my iPad Mini that I started reading e-books when not traveling. And, as @timothy mentioned, it's a huge boon for reading-while-eating since you don't have to use your hands except to turn pages.

    Maybe think about situations where books sometimes get cumbersome and try your e-reader in those situations? Travel is probably the biggie, but I've come to like the ease of packing for the day - the reading material never changes size or shape.

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