Monday, April 4, 2011

The E Phenomenon Has Left The Building

Last Friday, Joanne of Whole Latte Life, left a comment asking me if I was experiencing the same kind of ga-ga-ness over the e-book that everyone else had. I started to give a rather thoughtful response to her comment, but I soon as I got started, I stopped. Not because I was getting upset or anything like that, but simply my response was starting to shape up as a long winded comment. Not that I don't mind long comments to any of my posts, nor do I mind giving one, but the comment I was leaving got me to thinking about turning it into blog post.

My personal feelings about the E-book are probably as far away from the norm as you can possibly get. There are quite a few reasons as to why I don't do E-books and they all stem from just these two: computers and the basic design of the reader.

Between work and home, I spend on the average about 14 hours a day on the computer. The most in depth items I will read on a regular basis on my computer in no order of importance are: blogs, e-zines, a few non-news websites and news websites. The last thing that I really want to read on my computer is a book. Why? Because I'm one of those souls who has (and still have to a certain degree to this day) a short attention span.

While I've managed to work on it over the years to the point where I can read something that contains less than 6,000 words without having my eyes glaze over, reading a book on my computer would probably make my eyes glaze over, no matter how well written it is. There is an exception to that rule, and that usually involves a level of trust normally not seen in my personal world.

The other main reason as to why I don't do E-books is the design of the reader itself. Most readers start at about the size of the pop-up comment window that I have on this blog. For me, that is major problem of expensive proportions. Why major? As most of you know, I suffer from a neuro-muscular disease called CMT, which has basically taken root in my hands and is slowly turning them into shrunken pieces of skin and bone. While I can still type (typing speed is now about 20 wpm on a good day), holding things of various shapes and sizes is at best a struggle that sometimes can be compensated with rubber fingertips, but quite often requires me to Mickey Mouse my grip with various body parts that don't start with the letter "H".

Why expensive? Well, what do you get when you have a small piece of electronic equipment that starts at around $75 and you put it into the hands of someone who has no manual dexterity and has developed a moderate case of the drops that they cannot control? Exactly.

So even though I am looking forward to having something published in that new medium in the near future, chances are I will not be using it on a personal basis. And suggesting that I download the app to my computer won't work either because that falls into the first part of this post as to why I don't do E-books.

I dig print. I will always dig print. To me, there is nothing more relaxing or more inviting than to wander a bookstore or a library (public or private) checking out what titles are floating around on the shelf. I've often found interesting books to read that I wouldn't even have thought of previously had I not been wandering around that particular institution or business.

Having to surf Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Smashwords to find a suitable book to read is to me, not relaxing. Smacks of doing mindless research for work or tedious research for a book, which to me jacks up my frustration level to the nth degree.

In summation, I do not loathe or hate E-books, because anything that can get people to actually READ is as far as I'm concerned, a major plus. I just prefer not to pursue my hobby of reading books digitally.


  1. Yay!!

    I ferst???


    now i let my jannie taking over...

  2. Hi G!

    I am more of a print gal too for books, just can't compare anything to the feel of real pages in the hands. (Tho I pretty-much read only blogs these days.)

    The Kindles and Nooks are gaining in popularity, I think. Never tried one. personally. Have you?


  3. I do not like the thought of reading a book on one of those e-readers either. I've always loved books and there is something lovely about turning pages.

  4. ebooks on computers are terrible...on ipads they are great.

  5. Sounds like you've made your decision on rational and personal grounds. The good thing is that we still have both forms of reading. I certainly hope print books never go away.

  6. B.B.: Hey there young fella! So glad you could stop by for a visit!

    It's always good to be ferst, no matter what it is.

    Jannie: I enjoy book because you can bring them anywhere, store them anywhere and not have to worry about charging a battery or having your reader stolen or damaged.

    I haven't tried one personally, no. Did see one up close that a co-worker owns though. Looks kind of neat.

    Lynn: I agree, there is something to turning a book page that you really can't get with an e-reader.

    Bearman: I'm pretty sure its better on an I-Pad, but that would be bulkier and a tad more troublesome for me to handle than an e-reader.

    Charles: I definitely gave it a lot of thought this time, because previously I've dismissed new things out of hand w/o a second thought because I didn't like them (CD's for example).

    Realistically, print books won't go away. They'll become like the legendary LP's, in which they make a solid comeback and maintain a decent share of the market.

  7. Charles always beats me to my own comments. So, yeah, what he said, G.

  8. David: You know the old adage, great minds think alike. :D

    In all seriousness though, I did give this a lot of thought, and even though the pricing of the e-book made it very tempting, I still wound up passing it by.

    However, I do have one question that has been bugging me ever since e-book exploded on the scene: Do people really and truly own an e-book after they purchase it, or are they at the mercy of the vendor who sold it?

  9. There is a place for my Kindle in my reading life, but it can't fulfil all my bookly needs. I still like to be able to lend and borrow books, for starters, and in the end nothing beats browsing in a really cool used bookstore.

  10. Good point in the last graph...I never thought about that. I'm with you, though, I don't like to look at a screen anymore than I already do. I like paper books.

  11. My husband and I recently broke down and bought Kindles (which I swore I would never do :)). For him, it's a great little device, because he travels so much -- he can pack a whole library in the pocket of his travel bag. I, however, have yet to embrace mine, because I have a pile of "paper" books that I haven't read yet... I'm actually afraid that once I try the Kindle, I'll really LIKE it -- which would just be too confusing for someone who loves BOOKS so much. :)

  12. I was a holdout but have adapted to my nook and now read about 70% of the books on it.

  13. S.R.: I agree that a reader makes a good companion to the hard version, just like the newer mediums in music make the listening experience incredibly well rounded. But it really should not be the be all to end all.

    And yes, there is something to be said about wandering around a used bookstore looking for hidden gems as opposed to wandering the web looking for hidden gems.

    M: Being on a computer for so long during the day (and this is actually a cut down from back in '07 when I was hardcore chatting) has made me look at every single new thing that is electronic related with a very critical eye, in that how much time do I have to spend on the computer to make this work for me.

    Already seen the end result of an I-Pod that my family has, so somehow, telling me that an e-book is convenient versus the amount of time you probably have to spend in order to use it is to me, a contradiction in terms.

    Lisa: I can definitely appreciate that particular aspect of a reader. With hardcore traveling, it does make sense to pack a lot of reading material on your trip, and if you can do it with a reader, which saves a ton o' space in the luggage dept, all the better.

    I can sympathize with you as I felt much the same way about the compact disc.

    Travis: That's cool.

    Like I said, I have nothing against that particular book medium. I think that there is a lot to be said for being able to buy books at 1/3 less that the hard version, which in turn will get a lot more people (hopefully) to start reading again.

    As a writer and a blogger, I'm more than willing to embrace it and help it along any way I can. I'm just not willing to do it on that kind of personal level of use.

  14. print...
    if not print i will not read it..
    then it is just a blog...

  15. Bruce: But there is the crux of the issue. E-boook are to a certain degree, print.

    Except that you read them on either a hand hold computer device, or a computer.

    However I do understand your personal opinion about e-books.

  16. you are right about the crux....

    i just get so sick of staring at a screen...

    i do not want to lose the smell of books.

    the feel of books.

    the wireless and battery-less-ness of books!

  17. Bruce: Again, I understand completely.

    I feel the exact same way.

    Books can and do bring people together in more ways that one can imagine.

    Just a bit tougher when you got an e-book as opposed to a print.

  18. I wish I could try Kindle sometime but no option yet. I do read ALOT as it is- Some titles are only ebooks now- like the next in my current series, so skipping it n reading out of order again after 7 in a row in order- Hate that!

  19. Snaggle: That sucks. I do know that some books are now exclusively available in the e-format, but to really screw up a book series by making only one title available as an e-book is really shortsighted.


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