Friday, June 15, 2012

Books: The Digital Part

I talked yesterday about some reasons I still buy print books. And yet I do read digital books. A lot of digital books. What's the deal with that?

Sure, you know all the usual reasons. Carrying an entire library in a reader the size of a thin paperback? That's pretty heady stuff.


Being able to search for a part you wanted to look back at simply by keying in a few words rather than diligently poring through the entire book. Oh yes, that counts.

Being able to buy a book online and read it immediately? Definitely.

But I think one of my favorite parts of reading digital books (and dislike watching other people reading digital books) is the anonymity of it. I can read anything I want and no one will turn their nose up at what I'm reading. I can read a book 4, 5, 6 times or more and no one will say "Haven't you already read that?" Because they can't tell what I'm reading. (Conversely, because I like seeing what other people are reading, this works in reverse, too. I miss out on being able to strike up conversations about other people's books. Instead, the conversation tends to turn to the reader itself). Still, I do like that whole secretive aspect. I like feeling a bit mysterious.

So, if you too read digital, what is your favorite part of the experience?


Mary Preston said...

I very rarely use my Kindle. It's just not the same.

Laney4 said...

I don't own an eReader. I have won pdf files of books, though not the same thing at all. With the pdf files, I read three books on my computer and decided I hated it; I spend too much time on the Internet/computer already.

After that, I printed the story by reducing the font (to 7.5 sometimes), changing the margins (to .3 inches everywhere), replacing with my own page numbering (as the original had the page numbers manually placed), and then painstakingly deleting all the line breaks so the entire page width could be used. Still, it reduced my printed pages drastically and created less paper to carry around. I tended to carry them upstairs to a comfy chair/couch and read the story there, or sometimes I took the pages to badminton and read between games (like I do with printed books), but it's not as enjoyable, to me, as a printed book.

A negative, to me, with digital is that I can't pass my books on to my friends and their moms when I'm done reading them. Sometimes I win a bunch of books and am not interested in some of them (paranormal, usually), so I pass those new printed books immediately on to those I know will enjoy them - and they love how they are usually autographed as well. How do you autograph a digital book?

Myrna Mackenzie said...

I think there's some way to autograph a digital book (at least I know people have done it), but I doubt it would ever feel "real" in the same way a printed one does. And I do think there are negatives to ereaders. Reading with a device isn't the same at all, but it's not like reading on a computer, either, and it didn't take me long to get into it. I think once I had assured myself that I could do both and enjoy both, that was when I decided that I now had the best of both worlds.

True, they can't be loaned (well, they can but only once), but lots of ebooks are now available through libraries or through Amazon's lending program, so they can still be recommended and read for free.

Plus, more and more books are digital only (there's often a print component but print on demand books are too expensive most of the time). In addition to all the self-published books that are digital only, the new publisher, Entangled (essentially series romance) is digital. I'm reading one of those right now.

I don't know. It's a trade-off, but I do like digital. It's becoming my first choice when I buy books.