/ "Is there any reason to own paper books besides showing off?"
IMO the comments discussion is more interesting than the post itself, with some very polarised opinions.
I personally think that eBooks and traditional books compliment each other, and that there's more than enough room for both in the world of literature; in fact, they compliment each other, and there's really no reason to pick a side and throw rocks at the people on the other side of the fence...
Quite agree - the idea that you have to be one or the other is nonsense. I'm happy with mixing them up. I guess the ebooks I buy tend to buy are of the more disposable variety - easy holiday reading in particular, but also the older classics which are free.
I certainly don't buy book books to show them off - hardly anyone gets to see me reading, whether it's a book book or an ebook.
I kind of get the point of view that paper books *can* involve an element of showing off. After all, you can't tell what someone is reading on a Kindle just by looking at it in their hands, and I have met people who leave certain books lying around just to make themselves look clever (which is harder to do with a Kindle).
I like to sit on the fence and throw rocks at both sides.
I have a kindle, and a kindle app on my phone and I use them regularly. I also have a large collection of paper books. I like them. I like the smell and the feel. I like it when I have people round and they look at my shelves to see what I've read. I also like to look at other people's shelves to look at what they've read. If that makes me a show off, then I'm perfectly happy with that.
I agree; I'm exactly the same ;-)
A very good point in the comments of this article:
"People buy physical books so they can keep them. Amazon/Apple/Google/etc. can take away your books without notice if:
"1. … you travel to a country with different licensing deals.
"2. … you switch to a device they don’t support.
"3. … they decide the “unsell” you the book, as was the case with Amazon and “1984″ a while back (Or was it “Brave New World?” Either way, the incident was ironic)
"4. … they want to.
"You buy a book, it’s yours. You can keep it, read it anywhere or loan it to a friend. Ebooks are rentals."
Interesting stuff - I haven't yet got a Kindle/similar, partly because I'm a massive luddite and partly because I don't currently 'need' one. I don't commute much and that sort of use is where I see them being particularly brilliant.
I'm waiting for my dad to turn up with a new set of bookshelves he's made as a wedding present - our main bookshelves are in the dining room and I like looking at them and thinking about all the stories they contain, particularly when the kids are winding me up at dinner time ;-)
> Interesting stuff - I haven't yet got a Kindle/similar, partly because I'm a massive luddite and partly because I don't currently 'need' one. I don't commute much and that sort of use is where I see them being particularly brilliant.
This is how I ended up with a kindle. Not a particularly big commute, but I started downloading short stories by, ahem, 'unknown' authors (sorry only a hill!) to pass the time while on/waiting for the train. But then I started downloading longer stuff, that took longer to read, and would find myself reading a book on my phone at home, which is a bit naff. So when amazon offered my £20 off, for the basic kindle I bought one.
Dont have a kindle or similar device, however wont rule out getting one in the future. I dont see reading a paper book as showing off though, thats just daft.
Transient paperback novels could be in any form though.
'coffee table' books are both useful and showy. pictures aren't quite the same on ereaders (size if nothing else, at least on readers that aren't expensive. But then again, a large coffee table picture book could easily cost £30..)
Paper books are great for flicking through/referring back. i read quickly and page lag / smaller pages on ereaders annoys me. And i carry puzzles cut out of the paper in the backs of books. no reason for not doing the same with an ereader i suppose.
Technical books - paper everytime (i add notes in the margin) and add labels to pages. Presumably this is possible in some ereaders.
Bath: can you get waterproofed ereaders? that's be nice.
backlit ereaders look brilliant.
I do have a cheap ereader. fantastic for commuting & holidays, no need to struggle turning pages while holding onto a rail, no more 5 books in luggage and no risk of taking a book you don't enjoy.
Size is a funny thing (ahem!). small is good, but it feels a bit strange reading in a 't-rex' position :-).
Shelves of books look great, really nice to run your eyes & hands over them & pick a surprise. I do judge people on their bookshelves..unless that jeffery archer omnibus is hiding a half-bottle of malt, then adios amigo ;-)
I have 3 floor to ceiling bookcases in my study - that's for "specialist" books (music scores, acting/theatre/climbing/travel ) and the trashy novels I love.
I have 1 half height bookcase in my lounge which is for the books I want people to see that I read.
So, yes, I guess paper books can be about showing off.
I clearly must be a bit of a show off to refer to my "study" which is actually the front room of my terraced house....
My Kindle is a tool that only contains the books I have yet to read. As soon as they are read they are deleted.
> This is how I ended up with a kindle. Not a particularly big commute, but I started downloading short stories by, ahem, 'unknown' authors ...
good point! project gutenberg etc has provided some fantastic early pulp SF, edwardian 'how to build a log cabin' and trekking books....and Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel, that i couldn't face spending £30 on and was out of print (in honour of the author, I spent the money I saved on wine, a whoopee cushion and a goose neck :-) )
Project Gutenberg and Google Play Books are truly amazing sources of obscure and out of print books. I particularly like Google Play because the books are often full page scans which include scribbled notes etc, and you can appreciate the original typography, design, and illustrations.
One of the great things about "proper" books is being able to pass them on to family and friends. I can't do that if it's on my iPad ( I don't think, but would love to be corrected if this is actually possible ! )
So, I guess the publishers and authors are pushing the electronic variety hard as it will result in more sales ?? Although I suppose the flip side is that if you borrow a book you might not otherwise have bought, and enjoy it, you are likely to go and buy more by that author yourself - so maybe not much difference after all....hmmmm......
Personally as I use a computer a lot for work, an ebook doesn't appeal as much as a paper book for relaxing! I get tired of looking at a screen all day so don't think I would read an ebook in the evening. Plus I love passing on a really good book to friends and family.
But I think each to their own. Reading is great, so whatever format encourages more reading can only be a good thing! :)
I suspect it's because I haven't found the right technology, but I find it relatively hard to flip backwards and forwards in electronic documents, make notes in the margin, highlight stuff, etc.
More relevant to work stuff, or factual things like travel guides - but for work stuff, I find I tend to start reading large reports on screen (PC or iPad), then give up, and print them so that I can scribble, etc. I have the same problem taking notes in meetings - I tend to jump around a lot, go back and add notes to an earlier comment, and haven't found a good way to do that on electronic device.
For an easy reading novel, I think I'd happily use either. Apart from the fact I tend to read them in the bath....
Correct on both counts.
My book is available in both Kindle and paperback editions, and the Kindle version outsells the paperback ten to one. This is about normal for most modern books available in both formats.
Most Kindle books released by big publishers are also overpriced, so the profit margins are ridiculously large. I actually make 35% more profit for a paperback sale, but I price the Kindle edition more fairly than most publishers do with their books (might be one reason why the Kindle edition sells so well ;-) )
Yes. Well done.
> Personally as I use a computer a lot for work, an ebook doesn't appeal as much as a paper book for relaxing! I get tired of looking at a screen all day so don't think I would read an ebook in the evening.
Reading a kindle is nothing like looking at a computer screen. Worth borrowing one to have a try, they do have some advantages. I still buy more paper books than I do electronic ones, but I am really glad I own a kindle.
Are you sure about that? Even Amazon's own figures for 2102 show only about 33% more kindle books being sold than physical.
obviously it is cheaper to produce an ebook than have thousands of physical books in shops but most mainstream authors will have backers to do that (and sell a lot more).
> Reading a kindle is nothing like looking at a computer screen. Worth borrowing one to have a try, they do have some advantages. I still buy more paper books than I do electronic ones, but I am really glad I own a kindle.
It is more the break from technology. I use technology constantly and I get a lot of relief from reading a paper book.
That figure is skewed by blockbuster titles in the bestseller lists, which (as you quite rightly say) sell vast quantities of paperbacks.
The *majority* of modern titles (which never see the bestseller lists and are less likely to be prominently displayed in bookstores) sell more strongly in Kindle format.
> Yes. Well done.
Not at all. Perhaps I missed off the smiley ;-)
Why do you say in your OP that they complement [my correction!] each other TWICE in the same sentence though? It seems rather odd.
"I personally think that eBooks and traditional books compliment each other, and that there's more than enough room for both in the world of literature; in fact, they compliment each other..."
Maybe you need a famous UKC regular to help with your editing :-)
> Why do you say in your OP that they complement [my correction!] each other TWICE in the same sentence though? It seems rather odd.
Possibly because I don't apply as much care and attention to forum posts as I do to my work? Life is too short, and besides, my first draft material is littered with spelling and grammar errors.
I already do!
> Possibly because I don't apply as much care and attention to forum posts as I do to my work? Life is too short, and besides, my first draft material is littered with spelling and grammar errors.
> I already do!
I know. It was made public knowledge on here.
Can you contribute to the discussion rather than being needlessly snarky, please?
Sorry ... I couldn't find a neat way to put smileys in ... it was banter gone wrong, I suppose, and has now ceased.
as for the e-books vs. paper books thing, well I've never really had a good go with a Kindle or other e-reader, not having owned one. I have had a quick look on those owned by family members, but not enough to form an opinion.
I am currently in the "I enjoy the tactile aspect of a small paperback" camp. However, I am a notoriously slow and lazy reader so a few books will last me ages. I am not someone who might devour 10 fat novels whilst on holiday and who would therefore benefit from an e-reader. I am also in the "I enjoy going in to bookshops" camp.
I have not studied the sales figures so I could not comment on whether e-books are "taking over"
I am a bit old fashioned I suppose.
Not sure that's really valid.
It would take something greater than nuclear war to lose all you're eBooks. Servers are backed up in nuclear proof bunkers.
All it takes to lose your paper book collection is small leak, flood, fire or infestation (bug or small child). Move to the other side of the planet I'm not sure shipping several hundred kilos of paper is entirely practical either
> Are you sure about that? Even Amazon's own figures for 2102 show only about 33% more kindle books being sold than physical.
That's what I call futuristic. :)
> Sorry ... I couldn't find a neat way to put smileys in ... it was banter gone wrong, I suppose, and has now ceased.
I thought your comments complemented the thread.
In my opinion, there are several threats to eBooks in the long term that don't apply to paper books:
1. Formats change and become obsolete, with no guarantee of being able to convert files.
2. Security breaches in data cloud services are becoming increasingly frequent.
3. You don't own an eBook - you have it on loan from Amazon (or from wherever you bought it from). They can revoke your right to read it if you break their rules.
That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are other risks.
On the other hand, careful management can minimise the impact of most of these threats.
> A very good point in the comments of this article:
The reasons cited there are all a bit apocalyptic aren't they and kind of point to the "paper is for show" argument. If any of the above did occur, why would it matter? Chances are the book has been read and finished by that point so doesn't matter if it were repossessed.
Personally I'd be pretty annoyed if Amazon revoked my right to store a particular book on my Kindle or to re-download it. It has happened to plenty of people, often for no very good reason.
Well, I'd still be more scared of leaks, floods and fires. Format changes are less likely to be a problem given the ubiquity of eBooks. That is to say, they are so common, it will be in someone's interests to produce a converter should a format ever expire. In all likelihood, amazon will convert them automatically - we already see this with iTunes cloud music.
The issue of the eBooks being on loan is more of a technicality, I suspect as a trump card by the publisher or amazon to combat the potential for wide scale piracy rather than to actually threaten owners with. Anything in e-format is so much easier to distribute illegally that they need some means to combat it. In short, I'm entirely comfortable with this aspect of eBooks.
The kind of disaster required to threaten my eBooks would need to be so substantial that being able to access long finished le Carre novels would be the least of my concerns. All are physically present on my phone, ipad or kindle and require no live internet connection to access.
For what it's worth, I agree with you - I just like to consider both sides of the argument :-) I also wonder what might happen if Amazon were to disappear at some point over the next few decades. Stranger things have happened.
Fortunately I'm paranoid about digital preservation and keep every important file I own backed up in multiple locations, in plain text format where appropriate for longevity.
Has it really happened to "many" people? Anything you buy can be withdrawn if a mistake has occurred and I suspect you and I will live our entire lives without having amazon withdraw a book we have purchased. In all likelihood, amazon will actually make more books available (through reduced cost or ease of locating) to us than we would otherwise have had the opportunity for.
The only issue I have with the kindle is the fact that I can't share the books, but this is hardly a big problem. Some say you can judge a lot about a person by their bookshelf so it is a shame it's not on display as such (I look forward to the day of sci fi projected virtual bookshelves inthe living room), but perhaps it's good we buy less for "talk" and more for "walking the walk"
It's technically possible, but pretty clunky:
I agree, but there's also a certain feel about a digital artefact - it's pure content without design or packaging of any kind, which is appealing in its own way.
> The only issue I have with the kindle is the fact that I can't share the books, but this is hardly a big problem.
It is not very difficult to strip out the DRM from Kindle books using Calibre. You can then share the book and convert it into different formats e.g. mobi to epub and so use on other types of ereader.
I have kindle books that I have been given on a memory stick they are backed up like my photos etc but I could lose them
The problem was, some people wanted instant access to online books, instead of ordering and waiting a few days. It was not nice having to then read them on a monitor, so the ebook was invented.
Now you could say that it was a very first world problem, but then much of the technology in your home is a solution to very first world problems.
One of my sisters has mentioned that she'd like some new books for Christmas - when my other sister asked if she'd like a Kindle, or whatever, she said no, she woule prefer proper books.
I have a Kindle reader on my phone, I also have a lot of paperbacks that I'm not about to chuck in the bin.
I suppose it depends on your perspective. Put it this way: with a Kindle, you may be showing off that you can afford a relatively expensive electronic device, but you aren't allowing people around you to form opinions on your choice of reading matter. You could be reading War and Peace or a penny dreadful; nobody can tell unless they peer closely at the screen.
On the other hand, paper books are easily identifiable to everyone nearby, and therefore allow the reader to be judged by bystanders based on their literature of choice.
Genuine laugh out loud!
I'll have to remember that one :-)
Heckled by the illuminati ?
can you get e books in charity shops?
> I personally think that eBooks and traditional books compliment each other,
Yes. They complement each other. And if you drop a Kindle in the bath it's a disaster, whereas if you drop a tatty second-hand paperback in the bath, you just go on ebay and buy another one.
I would be sad if there were no more tatty old bookshops in the world. It's a different kind of search, and it turns up different kinds of treasure.
I've got a bloody great Times Atlas at home. It'll make an excellent shield if the ebook aficionados start throwing rocks... they'll not get nearly the same amount of protection from a little kindle.
> I have a Kindle reader on my phone, I also have a lot of paperbacks.
Really not the same thing.
Personally I only ever buy a book to show off how intelligent I am. In fact, I'm given to going in to my local bookshop and buying really obscure titles (often linked to philosophy, psychology or whatever appeals at the time)so as to promote myself in the eyes of others. That really is the raison d'etre of having book in hard-copy, why I just don't 'get' e-books, and why I think those who buy hardback books and remove the cover so as to ensure that nobaody knows what they're reading are idiots, who waste money and who fail to see the real value of a book.
I don't speak German; however, I buy a German newspaper from time to time, as i think reading it on Virgin West Coast makes me look really good.
I find doing this causes complete strangers to address me in German when I'm not expecting it, so that I struggle to find the words to reply to them in German. Which makes me look a bit of an arse :-)
Oo! Are you A Chap?
Jolly good show--well done you!
Do you know Mr Roddie of this parish?
Oh wait, this is his thread, so perhaps you do.
Don't tell Amazon, they are not supposed to know that.
I'm surprised no-one's mentioned how an e reader, unlike a bookshelf, can conceal an out of control book habit from one's partner or even from oneself... At least I think it could, in theory, if I had such a habit!!
I use both.
ebooks on Kindle for work and travel
books for bedtime reading and reference
I would say that owning a kindle is showing off.
> I find doing this causes complete strangers to address me in German when I'm not expecting it, so that I struggle to find the words to reply to them in German. Which makes me look a bit of an arse :-)
You'd be useless in a WWII POW escape movie then!
I love secondHand books.
The musty smell, the Turned corners, the creased Spines, the MottLing on the old pages, the scribbled notes, the personal inscriptions in the Front When they were given as gifts From an unknown person to unknown person, the Delighted surprise at buying a book in a charity shop and finding its signed by the author.
I Like imagining Who and how many people have read the book before. Where has it Travelled, was it read in bed, on holiday, on the toilet, in a tent on a Lonely storm hit mountain top.
To me old books have a history, a Life history if you like.
Nothing to do With showing off, i just like books as objects. You Will never ever get that on a swindle.
That is all 7;^)
Using an ereader is not like having a full surgical sex change. You can happily do read ebooks and paper books interchangeably. I have read a novel on an ereader, then a few days later gone into a 2nd hand book shop, enjoyed the atmosphere, bought a book and then read the book.
Legitimate ebooks are expensive for what you get, and considering the ease of distribution. Unlike a paper book first sale doctrine doesn't apply, so you can't legally pass/sell it on. The industry isn't exactly encouraging people to do it legally, when the other way is easy and free once you have the reader.
> I agree; I'm exactly the same ;-)
Yup... same here
I'm curious ... what do you mean by "legitimate" eBooks?
> You'd be useless in a WWII POW escape movie then!
<chucks baseball against cell wall>
> I'm curious ... what do you mean by "legitimate" eBooks?
Books of married parents?
Fair point. It's interesting to note that some authors are starting to deliberately release 'pirate' versions of their books as it has been shown to increase sales through legitimate channels ;-)
EBook prices are starting to go down in general, although the big publishers continue to overprice their eBooks as they see them as a threat to their traditional business models (wrongly, in my opinion). Independent authors like me are free to choose their own price points and I go with £1.99 for full length novels (compared to £7.99 for the paperback version).
unless you are cunning and buy a fake cover.
Personally when using a kindle on the train etc I play classical music loudly to show I am a cultured man.
Because, to adapt a quote from the back of a book my wife is reading, the thing about reading real books - the really important thing about reading real books - is that it's not just about reading real books.
What instrument? The baton? :-)
I love both. I love second hand bookshops, the smell and feel of a paper book and being able to lend or give a book to someone once I've finished with it. I've pared down my book collection considerably but there are books that I go back to and re-read that I'll always want to keep. But I also love the convenience of being able to take a multitude of books with me when I travel, and get new books with no delay. My Kindle saved my sanity during the three days of solid rain we had in Lofoten last summer, and during the two Spanish climbing holidays I've had that have been total washouts.
In terms of buying books I'd say that probably 65% of my new book purchasing is electronic, with the rest being a mix between second hand books and spur of the moment purchases from independent bookshops (I'm powerless in the Salt's Mill bookshop).
Yes, to read!
Having shelves full of books is not about showing off but it does tell you quite a lot about a person - the first thing I tend to do on going into someone else's house is to check out their books (or lack thereof) to gain an insight into them. My own living room has lots of bookshelves containing both my mountaineering library and loads of other stuff. By having my books to hand I'll regularly dip back into something I've read before and there is plenty of stimulus to spark discussion with others.
I don't think I'l be getting a kindle until I next go on a trip to a remote area with limited baggage and the likelihod of spending a lot of time stormbound in a tent.
I like kindles because books are cheap. The kindle wifi was on sale the other day for £49.99 in staples, which obviously is a fair amount, but then the books are cheaper so it's soon recovered.
"Formats change and become obsolete, with no guarantee of being able to convert files."
This thread reminds me of photography enthusiast forums circa 1999-2000 :-P
You know when some one is working class when their TV is bigger than their bookcase.
Books never run out of battery life or crash.
True, but then again my Kindle has never crashed and has a battery life of about a month. Hardly discriminating factors in my opinion.
Books can be Dropped, survive getting wet reasonably well, and when in the Hills can Provide the odd page for writing on, fire Lighting, and loo paper when you forget to Pack any.
wouldnt want to Try the Latter with a Kindle.
Biggest bonus of Physical books is when read they can be passed on to and give pleasure to countless Other people. Or given to a charity Shop to raise money.
Either that or they are dyslexic - easy mistake to make.
> You know when some one is working class when their TV is bigger than their bookcase.
No, that's not being working class. That's being stupid.
To answer the OP, I've always thouhght those people waving the latest electronic gadget around are the ones showing off.
> You know when some one is working class when their TV is bigger than their bookcase.
Or they have a visual impairment... or they enjoy watching movies on a very big screen. neither of which would stop them enjoying a good book - perhaqps they get all their reading matter from the library (maybe at the same time as they pick up their rental DVD).
Like everyone keeps saying, paper books and e-books both arrive out of, and constitute, different kinds of search. Here is an example of something brilliant, an absolute gem of a quotation, that I found quite quickly via the paper-book route, but would have had much more trouble finding via the e-book route, because I wouldn't have been looking in the right way. There are of course examples that point in the other direction.
Anyway, the gem:
There is at the back of all our lives an abyss of light, more blinding and unfathomable than any abyss of darkness; and it is the abyss of actuality, of existence, of the fact that things truly are, and that we ourselves are incredibly and sometimes almost incredulously real. It is the fundamental fact of being, as against not being; it is unthinkable, yet we cannot unthink it, though we may sometimes be unthinking about it; unthinking and especially unthanking. For he who has realized this reality knows that it does outweigh, literally to infinity, all lesser regrets or arguments for negation, and that under all our grumblings there is a subconscious substance of gratitude.
(G.K.Chesterton, Chaucer (London: Faber, 1932), pp.36-7)
What a beautiful quote.
I've found similar passages of brilliance in Les Miserables and, as I read on my Kindle, I've highlighted them. This record of highlighted passages will stay with me for as long as I have an Amazon account.
Both approaches are two sides of the same coin, however, and it's the words themselves that really matter...
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