The Bookworm Goes Green



Back in February I wrote a blog post about my indecision over whether to buy an ereader or not. My main concerns over this purchase were:

  1. Cost: why aren’t ebooks cheaper?
  2. Technology: will I buy lots of new ebooks and the format then becomes obsolete?
  3. Should I hold on and wait for the iPad?
  4. Would I miss the paper experience and sharing books with my friends?
  5. I wanted a pretty one, I’m a typical girl, I like pink, I can’t help it!
  6. Would the page turn technology keep up with the speed of my reading?

A month later, my procrastination is over and I am now in possession of a shiny new Sony Touch Digital Book.

The main driver behind my decision was storage. There is no escaping the fact that I absolutely love books and I don’t plan on giving up this obsession… ever. But, sadly my house really cannot take any more. You’ve heard about the lady and her cats, well I’m the lady and the books, I feel one day their mass will smother and kill me. Suffocation by narrative.

There’s also handbag space. While I no longer work and commute into London every day, I still go into town on a regular basis for client meetings. There’s nothing more irritating than being near to the end one a book and having to cram two into your handbag. With my nifty new ereader I can now carry over 350 with me or 13,000 with a memory card.

So how does it stand up against my concerns? Well, firstly while there’s a great array of digital books past their copyright available for free, new ebooks are still too expensive in my opinion. I can’t share them with my friends or more importantly my sister. And, there’s no lovely new book paper and print mixture smell.

Yet, despite these complaints, I love it!

I can carry hundreds of books with me wherever I go. I can download a new book in minutes without having to wait for my Amazon delivery. Nobody knows what I’m reading, I can read the trashiest novel without some snoot raising their eyebrows over their Financial Times.

The e-ink technology is superb, there’s no flicker and after my first couple of pages I was knee deep in my novel and didn’t give the lack of paper a second thought. As the action started to enthral me I barely registered that I was clicking a button to turn a page instead of feeling the swoosh of crisp paper. It has a dictionary included so if an author decides to puzzle me with a new word I can look up its meaning then and there without puzzling all day until I can get to a computer and Google it.

The battery life is pretty good to, I think it depends on your reading volume, but so far it seems to be living up to the two week manufacture promise. Appearance wise, I got it in red, it may not be pink, but it’s still rather stylish.

Essentially, if you love books, read a lot of books and travel an ereader should become as essential as your iPod. Forget sentimentality, the experience is just as good as the paper one and better for the environment too. My only hope is that technology finds a way for be able to lend and share them with friends, it’s the one thing I can see I’m really going to miss.

Side Note: Why Sony?

If you’re considering purchasing your very first ereader too, you may wonder why I chose the Sony? I did spend a good few days vacillating over the Sony or forking out and paying for a Kindle to be shipped internationally. The main benefit of the Kindle for me was its 3G technology, meaning I could buy books any time, anywhere. But the biggest reason that I decided against it was that I could only buy books from Amazon. Amazon ebooks are locked in a proprietary format, so that they can only be read on Kindles. I cannot transfer it to another reader and I’m locked into whatever price Amazon decides to set.

The Sony ereader takes ebooks in an ‘epub’ format, which is becoming an industry standard. Think Blu-ray versus vs HD-DVD, you want to make sure you’re backing the winning technology

The theory being that in the future should my ereader become as old as my much loved Casio cassette player, I will just be able to transfer by books to a new reader rather than replace them all once again.

I will have my eye on the market as the iPad becomes available, but I dismissed it for three reasons. It will not be e-ink, so there will be glare which will cause eye fatigue. At present it will not be released in the UK with iBooks, my assumption is they’re still negotiating with UK publishing rights, and thirdly the price. It is expected the retail in the UK at around the same price it is in Dollars in the US, hardly fair for us Brits. I’m not an expert, this is just my humble opinion.

4 comments

  1. Simon Button says:

    RE the ipad, things are never fair for use Brits tech wise. I don’t know why we get taken advantage of so much.

    One thing that i’d never thought about ereaders is the anonymity of what book you’re reading. So I could be be reading some smutty bit of adult fiction or reading Charles Dickens Hard Times (not smutty despite the name) and get the same reaction from those around me!

    But right now I don’t read enough to warrant this technological marvel. One day…

  2. Natz says:

    All that and more!!! I agree with everything you’ve said! Isn’t it amazing how you don’t even realise you’re turning the page. I keep whizzing through books and wondering how the hell it happened.

    My name is Natz and I love my sexy black e reader ;o)

  3. Adrian says:

    Good post, I couldn’t agree more. I can’t vouch for the e-reader you purchased, but I can vouch for the design and build quality of all Sony gear. In the last few years ‘ve bought 2 digital walkmans, 2 smartphones and a VAIO laptop and they’re all amazingly solid and beautiful things.

    E-books do seem rather overpriced. And so are MP3′s. It’s the big publishing companies milking us for as much cash as they can (even on back catalogue stuff) as per usual.

    As for Apple’s iPad, I think the e-book thing is kind of a bonus feature. If people buy it purely as an e-reader they’ll be disappointed. It’s price is heftier in the UK because they know us Brits are quite used to getting ripped off and will just pay it.

    Personally, I still don’t get why the iPad hasn’t got a webcam or a single USB port; I can only conclude (as with a volume control and copy & paste with the iPod Touch and iPhone respectivley) Apple know what they’re doing and these things will miraculously appear in v2, so everyone goes out and buys another one.

  4. Laura says:

    Hi Adrian,
    Thanks for the visit and the comment :)
    I didn’t know the iPad comes without a USB port seems mad! There’s also been a lot of comments on its lack of flash. As much as they look superb it seems it’s certainly worth waiting for the 2nd or even 3rd generation by the looks of things.

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