Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Got an iPad, Still Not Sold on eBooks

When I got home from going out to lunch yesterday (I'm a very popular lunch date these days), there was a you-missed-a-delivery FedEx tag stuck to my door. It was the iPad I've been waiting almost two weeks to get! I picked up the boy and we headed to the FedEx HQ to retrieve it.

The iPad really is kind of (as it's advertised) magic. It's simply gorgeous. My photos never looked so amazing. The email interface is fabulous. It's fast and easy to use and really great to type on. It feels good in my hands and fits nicely in my bag. (One big issue for me: Blogger doesn't work on the iPad or iPhone and there's no decent app to help. Someone create a Blogger app pronto! I'll be first in line; I'll pay whatever it costs.)

One of the first things I did after syncing my new device was load in iBooks and spend some time in the store. It's attractive, easy to browse, and has a ton of titles. And yet I can't quite bring myself to buy an ebook.

My lunch yesterday was at the cafe at my local independent bookseller. After the delish vegetarian chili, I did a little browsing. I discussed with my friend how much I love the smell of bookstores. I bought three new books. I need more books about as much as I need more shoes and have pretty much no storage space left for either, so ebooks should be the way to go for me especially with this great device that holds a bajillion titles. It just seems weird to me to pay ten or fifteen bucks or more and not have a physical book in my hands. I pay for apps all the time. I buy songs in iTunes constantly. So what's the big deal, self? Huh?

Books are different. It's the sensual part of reading that I'm worried I'll miss--the feel of the pages, the aforementioned aroma of paper and ink. The act of turning each page and inserting a bookmark. The way I hug a terrific novel to my chest and sigh when I finish it. The ability to foist a favorite book on a friend saying: You MUST read this.

iBooks came with a copy of WINNIE THE POOH. It looks really book-y. You can turn the pages with a swipe. I'll give it a try. I'll see what I can find in the way of books for young readers. I will take the plunge and let you know if I become a convert. Stay tuned...

In the meantime, what do you think? Do you read and love ebooks? Am I being silly? Or will they take away your printed books when they pry them from your cold, dead fingers? Leave a comment!


Amy Tate said...

Alice, I agree. I've bought three ebooks and I've yet to read them. There's something special about holding it in my hands - marking a page, curling up in my recliner, etc... Maybe my reason for not taking to it is because I'm in front of a computer screen all day. I feel like I can't connect with another screen. Ebooks just aren't the same.

Whitney Gardner said...

It's funny to me how everyone seems to feel so at odds with ebooks VS. paper books. I don't really think paper books are going anywhere anytime soon. No parent is going to say "I want my child to grow up without any books!" But does that mean that ebooks can't become their own important entity? WHy must we be so divided?

I will say, the picture books that are out for ipad are lacking. They are nice but unimaginative. That wont last for much longer I'm sure. As I know I cant be the only author/illustrator cooking up ideas for this device.

And when I make one, I will want people to see it! I will want kids to have fun reading and learning in new ways. Not throw out their books and damn everything that came before it.

My hopes is to be able to leave my mark in both places, the paper picture books and e-books as well.

I think that paper books and ebooks are two very different things. And more tricky to compare fairly.

Just my two pennies!



Diane said...

I (apparently) write e-books, and yet I have never bought one. Clearly I need to step up!

Saw someone reading a Kindle on the plane the other day ... and realized that it really IS a brave new world. Not that I've tried it ... yet ... but I can certainly see the advantage of, say, being able to tap on a word and have a dictionary definition pop up. This feature alone might make Dickens and Austen, even Shakespeare, suddenly "readable" to those who were stymied by archaic language.

So yes, I think we are all going to have to move into the e-book world. Some of us kicking and screaming, no doubt! But will "real" books die? I think not. You are right -- the sensory pleasures involved in reading are simply too important to give up.

Rosemary Jones said...

I'm reading at least one e-book a week -- checked out from the library. It's great because I can check out two or three titles at time (actually up to 20 if I'm in a mad, mad mood). After 21 days, the e-books go "poof" off the reader. The author gets a royalty (same as any library book sale), I have plenty of choices on my reader, and I don't have to worry about returns. Of course, I'm still checking out five to six physical books a week as well.

When traveling, and not wanting to wait to hook into check-up, I purchase books. I look at these purchases the same as the paperbacks bought in airports: they probably won't go into the permanent print collection. But they are a worthwhile read worth the price.

Haole Girl In Hawaii said...

I haven't purchased any devices to read ebooks. I like walking through bookstores and libraries, touching the spines, reading random jackets, flipping the pages to read a paragraph or two. I like carrying the book and it whispering at me to take a moment and read, read, read. I do listen to books in my car when I travel or clean house, but it is the quality of the reader that encourages me to choose that method. I am glad to hear that you can still support the library through ebooks. Might make me a believer...maybe.

Jword said...

iPad, iPhone, iPod, iEnoughAlready! My schtick is words on paper.

Blythe said...

So far I've been loving mine.
It is really great for traveling--all those imaginary pages fit in one tiny space and weigh so little.
I shared some of Pooh with an under-2, a 5-year-old, and an 8-year old. As might be expected, the under-2 was mostly interested in flipping the imaginary pages. I liked being able to make the font large so the 5-year old felt he was making some progress as he read. The 8-year old liked the dictionary feature (which is to say he looked up all kinds of words he already knows...). then I shared it with some teens. They liked it. Much. They especially like the idea that they might not have to lug around those giant, heavy (often out-of-date) textbooks. The iPad could revolutionize the classroom. (And it isn't going to be expensive forever. It just isn't.)
I haven't tossed my well-worn hard cover of Pooh. It's not an either/or situation. It's just another way to put books in the hands of readers.

Alice said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, everyone. To be clear, I have nothing against ebooks. It is funny that people are divided, but there are book lovers who love books in all their forms. I'm hoping to get there soon enough. (And I certainly don't think the printed book is going anywhere anytime soon.)

nomadshan said...

I love ebooks and paper books. My ideal reading situation is to use eReader on my iPod while sitting in a bookstore. :)

eReader lets me customize font size, margins, etc. I often have trouble "wrapping" from the end of one line to the beginning of the next in a trade-sized paper book, so my eReader's a more comfortable (and efficient) reading experience.

I think iPad will offer the best experiences to readers of newspapers, magazines, picture books, and large-print books.

jennymilch said...

The book is dead. Long live the book.

Although never say never, I imagine I'll make the switch only after I've crawled the earth, patting for the last remaining pages to put together into some form of print media with my bare, raw hands.

I love books. I love bookstores. I love library stacks. I am raising my children to find magic inside stories, and I hope they will associate story with physical text, as I do.

I'm glad there are e readers for those who prefer reading that way. I believe e publishing will bring books to the reading public that are now missed by publishers. That is all to the good.

Just let there be enough of us who love print books to save me from my earth-crawling yet.

seeSANDIEsing said...

I don't know. I guess if you were a child and never knew what a real book is,---- you would just accept that literature comes from an ipad or a kindle; you would not have a choice.
I myself, cannot see myself without a real book. Ebooks to me is another dimension. But to a child in the future, ebooks are the "thing" to read literature from and books with pages and a hardcover are another dimension. It's coming, and I will have to grasp it like you are with your ipad.

Julie Musil said...

Alice, I'm old school. I don't think I'll ever switch from a physical book to an e-book!

Denise of Ingleside said...

I won't switch. I detest e books. I need books. I love having them near me, they are treasures. Books bring so much to a person, just by looking at their wonderful covers and seeing them lined up on those shelves.
Don't take away my books.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I don't have an iPad. I really love reading the actual book. In law, all books are now online and I miss opening a book of cases and knowing I'm the first one to open the book. I guess I'm old fashioned.

Diane Lemery McDonald said...

Alice, I haven't tried ebooks yet. The idea is tempting, but I can't quite imagine what would happen when I doze off in the bathtub and drop it. The corners of a book will dry - but an iPad?


Deb said...

For me it is not an either or situation. It's a both. I have overflowing book shelves, I have an e-reader (Sony) that is filled with books, as well. I love books for the same reasons everyone has mentioned-the feel, the page turns, seeing how far I have to go to get to the end, lol! I love my e-reader because it is light and easy to use and read from while laying in bed, I can read alot faster on it, I can carry multiple books with me on road trips (which means I end up buying more book, books cause I have room in my suitcase, lol!!), I can adjust the font size. For me it's another way to experience story, not a replacement for my love of book, books. I do prefer e-ink (Sony, Kobo, Kindle) to reading on a computer screen like the IPAD, though.

moorehmj said...

Six months ago, I was a steadfast "NO ebooks!" person, but that has changed. I LOVE reading on the iPad, especially the iBooks app. But for me, it's like what Deb said - why do I have to pick one or the other? Why can't I read both printed books and ebooks?

My favorite thing now is to read an article or blog post about a great book, and instead of just adding the title to my list to read, I can go ahead and download a book sample.


Daniel said...

Hello all,

Ebooks can be online books that your child may have to read or they can be books that are read aloud to them. Many of these books feature beautiful animation that brings the story to life. Kids get excited when they see the bright picture of the story on their computer screen. Thanks a lot!

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