Thursday, 10 February 2011

Battle of the Hard Copy

In the battle of book versus e.reader, I thought I would argue for the case of The Book to the bitter end. Until today, when I find that Asda is selling a 5in View Quest Mediabox for £52.
Not that I have £52 aching to be spent, but it is half the price of a Kindle and not only has hundreds of books which can be stored, but you can also watch videos, listen to music and use a voice recorder on it.
It might have been the voice recorder feature that made my ears prick up – figuratively speaking – but anyway I started to look into this wonder tool which was clearly more than a gadget and definitely something that would improve my quality of life. In fact, it was becoming a puzzle how I have managed without one.

But then the reviews started talking about how "the device lacks a link to the internet through the 3G mobile phone network which would allow books to be downloaded anywhere". Hmmm… what’s that mean ? and I am on Vodafone and don’t want to change.
Then it was mentioned that it’s very bad for eye strain and can’t be read properly outside because of the LED backlight and if you are not going to get an e-ink screen you might as well get e.books on your laptop (or in my case my lovely, neat Notepad computer)

And all the time in the back of my mind is the thought that these items are helping towards the demise of real books, bookshops and libraries. Haven’t I just last weekend signed petitions for keeping libraries open? There really is nothing better than having a “hard copy” book which can be read anywhere, anytime and unless it’s the complete set of Encyclopaedia Brittanica, easily transportable. Add to this the fact that I bought 3 new books from Smiths last Friday and have just ordered 2 from Amazon today and I really have to wonder what I was thinking of.

So I have rethought the idea of getting an e.reader. Even if they start selling them as BOGOF offers, I won’t be moved.
 Anyone want to debate for the other side ?


Anthony Cowin said...

Yes anything that is backlit will cause eye strain eventually. Teh beauty of devices like the Kindle is they use eInk technology. It's actually easier on the eye than ink paper, especially in sunlight.

Because of this I'm actually reading more now since I bought my Kindle and love it with a passion. I still have print books and I think there will always be a market and a need for them But for novel reading the Kindle is step as huge as the first Gutenberg press.

Lexia said...

No doubt in a few years time Tony, I will be thinking what a dinosaur I was, but in the meantime I will stick with what I have got. (and I still don't understand the 3G thing !)

Anthony Cowin said...

That's the beauty of technology, though admittedly it's a beauty a lot of people overlook, you can pick it up whenever you feel it fits in with your lifestyle. Technology or improvements are not vital, they just make things a bit better if you want them. But only when you want them, otherwise they can sometimes make things worse.

The 3G is just a way of allowing you to download books to your Kindle from anywhere in the world. As it also has an 'experimental' web browser so you can use it to access web content for free from anywhere too.