Death of a paperback?

One thing I really like is to curl up in bed last thing at night with a good book (got you worried there for a minute) and my holiday is defined by how many books I can get through.  Standing in the bookshop at the airport selecting “just a couple more” to add to the pile I already have is a guilty pleasure.

Maybe it is because my mother was a librarian but I feel bereft if I do not have a book on the go and I always ask for them as presents.  But is that all about to change?

Today sees the launch of the Sony eBook in the UK – 260g and the capacity for 160 eBooks. Well, that would keep me quiet on holiday but is it what I want?  The techie side of me says “go for it and save a few trees” but the reader side of me says “I love the feel and tradition of a paperback”.

Who can tell what will happen. In the early days of the iPod it was suggested that the CD would still remain king and even I am in love with my iPhone now. So maybe I will, eventually, get an eBook but tell me… what happens when you get sand and sun cream on it?


2 Responses to Death of a paperback?

  1. Sara says:

    I’m a recent convert to eBooks. Having an eBook reader on the iPhone has been very much appreciated on a couple of occasions when I’ve been stuck in a queue somewhere, or sitting in a pub waiting for the other half to turn up. It’s also been handy when travelling long distances by car at night. Rog doesn’t want a light on whilst he’s driving but I can tuck into an eBook without bothering him at all.

    They aren’t a replacement for a real, paper book anymore than browsing the news websites are a replacement for reading a newspaper and I certainly wouldn’t buy a dedicated reader for them, after all I’d have to remember to carry it about (and if I was going to that much effort I’d just pick up a book) which would be pointless for me.

    I’d never, ever, get sand and suncream on my iPhone!

  2. Pezmondo says:

    I agree with Sara. Like Juliet, there’s a certain degree of book-snobbery, and a certain mere degree of ‘I like the look-and-feel of books’ at play here. I love the feeling of an old, cloth-covered hardback. It gives a book context; feel, colour, touch and smell.

    I also sometimes like to make notes in my books, underlining parts I really love. Later, when I read the book again, these worn, analogue notes make the book feel like mine; rooting it in a time and a place. And as most students will know, handwritten notes in textbooks are much easier to remember, much more distinctive, than typed notes.

    ebooks will complement printed material, not replace it. In this sense the ebook ‘debate’ is similar to that which took place (and is still taking place) between newspapers and the denizens of the intertron. In this sense they are also entirely *unlike* the iPod, which knackered the CD for good.

    I have no doubt that there are certain applications for which I would use an ebook in an instant: At University, when you don’t want to carry a bag FULL of heavy textbooks; at school for bringing material home from work, etc. As Sara says, they’re handy for reading in those unplanned odd little moments when you find yourself with nothing to do do in a queue.

    As for holidays, who needs that many books on hols that they’d require an e-book reader? Unless you’re reading Dan Brown, that is. But then you might as well not bother reading at all. You should be shot. And my feeling is that ebooks should be dirt cheap anyway… It’s very basic technology. These things will come down in price quicker than Enron’s stocks.

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