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Off topic: The ultimate battle: electronic text reading devices vs books!
Thread poster: Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 7, 2011

Dear colleagues and nevertheless friends,

I cannot help noticing the apparent enthusiasm on the part of users of electronic text reading devices ("ETRDs") about the qualities of these products (I mean products like Kindle and the like, or tablet computers used as reading devices).

Are ETRDs really that good? Are they really comparable to actual books? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of them? Aren't ETRDs just a commercial illusion of books?

... See more
Dear colleagues and nevertheless friends,

I cannot help noticing the apparent enthusiasm on the part of users of electronic text reading devices ("ETRDs") about the qualities of these products (I mean products like Kindle and the like, or tablet computers used as reading devices).

Are ETRDs really that good? Are they really comparable to actual books? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of them? Aren't ETRDs just a commercial illusion of books?

I challenge you users of ETRDs to throw your pro-ETRD arguments against the coated walls of my Stronghold of the Printed Book and try to break my defenses! I will try to fight each of the arguments to death, and fight back if I can!

Are you the daring kind? Come on! I'm talking to you! I'm waiting, you... you... "electronister"!! AAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRHHHHHHH!!!!

Tomás
Because paper can be as strong as steel if the heart is brave!

PS: I intentionally avoid the use of the word "ebook" for electronic texts, since a book has always been, and will be, text and other features printed on bound sheets of paper. Saying that an electronic text is a "book" is like saying that a picture of a cow is a cow.
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lindaellen (X)

I love real books, but... May 7, 2011

I recently tried an ebook at my local library, I don't even remember which version it was, but it was fantastic... for specific purposes. The one I tried was light, easy to hold, easy on the eyes and I immediately told a friend who has back problems and finds it difficult to hold even middle-sized books.

I can image taking it on vacation filled with travel books and novels.

By the way I have a large library and many books that I cherish and many that I read once and no
... See more
I recently tried an ebook at my local library, I don't even remember which version it was, but it was fantastic... for specific purposes. The one I tried was light, easy to hold, easy on the eyes and I immediately told a friend who has back problems and finds it difficult to hold even middle-sized books.

I can image taking it on vacation filled with travel books and novels.

By the way I have a large library and many books that I cherish and many that I read once and now gather dust. Not all books are created equal.

So, if you need it - it's great.

Best wishes

lindaellen
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Maria Alvarez  Identity Verified
Spain
French to Spanish
+ ...
Naming books evolves May 7, 2011

Sorry, Tomás, but ebooks are more practical (you can carry on several works in one single device), ecological (no paper waste), cheap (after the first investment), and even healthy (no heavy bags full of books).

However, let's see what others think. Personally I love (paper) books, the sense of touching, the smelling, the binding,... I cannot experience the same pleasure with ebooks, although my bags when I travel are sometimes so heavy...

Best, María.


 

Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:19
German to Spanish
Well May 7, 2011

I start:

1. Ability to change Font
2. Ability to change Font size (some people could read without glasses)
3. Control of light intensity on the screen
4. Mode "Sepia" for a more pleasant viewing
5. Searchable!
6. Direct consultation of any word in Wikipedia
7. A device + thousands of books always the same weight / volume
8. Access to millions of FREE classics in many languages
9. Direct purchase, no waiting
10. No left page (alwa
... See more
I start:

1. Ability to change Font
2. Ability to change Font size (some people could read without glasses)
3. Control of light intensity on the screen
4. Mode "Sepia" for a more pleasant viewing
5. Searchable!
6. Direct consultation of any word in Wikipedia
7. A device + thousands of books always the same weight / volume
8. Access to millions of FREE classics in many languages
9. Direct purchase, no waiting
10. No left page (always uncomfortable due to the formation of curve)
11. Newspapers in a new dimension, links, dynamic, abonnements in different countries, social linked, etc.


Let me think, and I'll come back



[Edited at 2011-05-07 17:20 GMT]
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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Oh, a first contender! Grrreat! May 7, 2011

Maria Lila wrote:
Sorry, Tomás, but ebooks are more practical (you can carry on several works in one single device)

But the electronic reader is not practical in several ways:
- How many times have you dropped the books you were reading, because you fell asleep while reading them, somebody stumbled upon you, or you were plain clumsy? It has happened to me many times. If I was carrying an electronic device... I would have paid a new one many times already.

- If you drop your bag with a book in it, there is no damage really.

- Books and children get along well.

- How about coffee or food? How many times have you stained your books with them by accident? But yet, they keep working perfectly, although with a new "decoration".

- You can perfectly read a book in the underground at 10 PM at night, right?

These are practical situations that are incompatible with an electronic reader.

Maria Lila wrote:
...ecological (no paper waste)...

Not quite. Think that even a light monochrome reading device weights some 300 grams... and that it contains electronic components which will require difficult recycling procedures... as long as you are a responsible user and make sure it gets disposed of correctly. I reckon that if everybody had a reading device, very many of them would dispose of them in the city waste!

When your device gets obsolete (in 3-4 years time) or when it needs a new battery (also in 2-3 years time since batteries lose their load holding properties rather soon), you create more and more dangerous waste.

Imagine several billion people using electronic readers and replacing them every 3-4 years, as it happens with cellphones. We are creating a huge ecological problem as well as social and political problems in the countries the scarce raw material comes from (think of Africa and its minerals for instance).

If you read a bit about modern paper pulp plants and the lifecycle of paper, you will learn that:
- Modern pulp plants use only a fraction of the water they used to consume, as water is reused many times, then treated and only released to environment as water comparable to the water released by a municipal wastewater treatment plant, so rather clean in fact.

- All wood residues (lignin, bark, knots, unusable part of wood fibre) are burnt for energy, so in fact these plants produce energy for themselves and for a share of the local population.

- In paper recycling, the deinking sludge and other residues are burnt. Boiler plants in the paper industry have filters that capture flying ash and transform NOx into harmless substances.

All in all the production of paper is rather environment friendly. Of course, after you print a book it does not consume any energy at all, and it never gets too old to be practical to use. You don't have to buy a new version of the book.

When you dispose of a book... the only waste is a tiny bit of ink, wood fibre, a tiny bit of plastic and glue (both non-toxic), and non-toxic mineral components of paper. You could leave a book in the countryside and cause very little harm, if any.

So all in all, the printed book is far more ecological.

Maria Lila wrote:
...cheap (after the first investment)...

Not really. Are you sure you will keep your ebook for more than 3 years? Chances are that you will want to buy the new version every now and then, or that you get it as a present. So even if they appear to be cheap at first, the fact is that you will pay the device numerous times along your life, whereas with a book you only pay once.

Let's say I want to buy Pride and prejudice, which costs roughly 6 dollars in a Kindle version. A paper version costs as low as 8 dollars. If we extrapolate this, you would need to read some 60 books a year to compensate the extra cost of the reading device.

Maria Lila wrote:
...even healthy (no heavy bags full of books).

Why would you want to carry your library with you?


 

Maria Alvarez  Identity Verified
Spain
French to Spanish
+ ...
I'm not a good contender May 7, 2011

Tomás, let's hope Fernando can propose better arguments.

The real advantage I see it's avoiding paying weight surplus (or leaving clothes behind, my favorite option) at airports. And yes I have carried a library along with me, when I had to move from country to country, and everytime I go on vacations (Not too much lately).

Best, María.


 

Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:19
German to Spanish
In your case May 7, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

If I was carrying an electronic device... I would have paid a new one many times already.

- If you drop your bag with a book in it, there is no damage really.
- Books and children get along well.
ok.
u


I recommend you to buy a paper mobil phone!!!!


 

Debbi Steele  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:19
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Books out of copyright May 7, 2011

The one advantage I have found is the ability to get hold of free electronic copies (via Project Gutenberg and similar) of books that are out of copyright, including many classics that I have been meaning to read for ages and haven't got round to buying. Copyright varies from country to country, but in the UK it's 70 years after the death of the author so that covers a lot of great literature. I know you can use a library for the same thing, but that never quite managed to prompt me to start any... See more
The one advantage I have found is the ability to get hold of free electronic copies (via Project Gutenberg and similar) of books that are out of copyright, including many classics that I have been meaning to read for ages and haven't got round to buying. Copyright varies from country to country, but in the UK it's 70 years after the death of the author so that covers a lot of great literature. I know you can use a library for the same thing, but that never quite managed to prompt me to start any of them.

I totally agree about real books, though - they'll always be my preferred option, I think!


Edit: spelling corrected

[Edited at 2011-05-07 18:07 GMT]
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Dhiraj Khati  Identity Verified
Nepal
Local time: 08:04
Member (2009)
English to Nepali
+ ...
For me, ETRD May 7, 2011

I will go for broad screen readers rather than book.
It gives easy portable feature along with many other features that "real" books fails to give.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:19
Member (2008)
French to English
Longevity of books May 7, 2011

Debbi Steele wrote:

The one advantage I have found is the ability to get hold of free electronic copies (via Project Gutenberg and similar) of books that are out of copyright, including many classics that I have been meaning to read for ages and haven't got round to buying. Copyright varies from country to country, but in the UK it's 70 years after the death of the author so that covers a lot of great literature. I know you can use a library for the same thing, but that never quite managed to prompt me to start any of them.

I totally agree about real books, though - they'll always be my preferred option, I think!


At least those out of copyright books are readable!

There used to be a display at one of the science museums about the longevity of data and the ability of future generations to read it. Rosetta Stone is still readable after 2400 years as are many of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most books are still readable after 50-100 years, some much more. How many people can now read data from an 8" or 5-1/4" floppy disk? The point of the display was that there may be very little to show future generations when it requires both the data and the technology to read it.

The way its going, books written only for electronic reading may be inaccessible long before they're out of copyright.


 

isabel murillo  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Real books forever! May 7, 2011

Tomás,

I believe that nobody is going to be able to defeat you in this ultimate battle and break the coated walls of your Stronghold of the Printed Book!

Real books forever!


 

Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:19
German to Spanish
I can not believe May 7, 2011

John Fossey wrote:



The way its going, books written only for electronic reading may be inaccessible long before they're out of copyright.


You really think this!!!


What has to do the longevity of a physical medium with 1s and 0s?????

Digital books will never disappear as long as human beings exist.


 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:19
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Lack of availability of non-English books May 7, 2011

For me the greatest advantage of an "electronic text reading device" is the ability to purchase and download the books that I want in languages other than English.

Except that I can't.

So I haven't purchased an e-reader.













[Edited at 2011-05-07 20:43 GMT]


 

Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:19
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
I love my recently bought Kindle May 7, 2011

Some of the features I like most:

- mobility - I currently carry around in my Kindle some 100 volumes and collection is growing fast,
- I'm running out of storage space for books - I've been collecting books by dozen for decades and I have no idea where to put new ones
- ability to search the text - especially useful with textbooks
- instant dictionary - when reading in English but recently also for my first steps with German
- being able to increase size of
... See more
Some of the features I like most:

- mobility - I currently carry around in my Kindle some 100 volumes and collection is growing fast,
- I'm running out of storage space for books - I've been collecting books by dozen for decades and I have no idea where to put new ones
- ability to search the text - especially useful with textbooks
- instant dictionary - when reading in English but recently also for my first steps with German
- being able to increase size of the font - I am short sighted and when my eyes are tired or light conditions are poor I love being able to use really big font
- ease of making notes and accessing them afterwards
- ability to access thousands of books crucial for our civilization any time, anywhere and for free - if I had to buy all books in my kindle even in paperback, I would have to spend much more than the price of the device itself
- ability to try samples - I can have a quick look at short free samples of many books and frequently it's all I want - just to get the feeling how the book is written and in what style
- integration with Wikipedia for immediate search
- did you ever want to buy a book but it turned out that it's out of print? in case of ebooks this problem does not exist
- I am not an author but if I were very likely I would appreciate ease of entering the market - the only investment necessary is writing the book - once it is turned into an ebook it may be sold without any other investment - ideal for budding authors
- huge savings on P&P when I want to buy a book which is not available in a local bookstore

Maybe ebooks are not perfect but they have many advantages.

[Edited at 2011-05-07 20:44 GMT]
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Ambrose Li  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:19
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...
Québec Science article May 7, 2011

Some time ago, Québec Science (forgot which issue) reported that some scientists actually did an experiment to see how ebooks are doing. And their results (whether you agree with their criteria or their methodology), if I remember correctly: reading from ebooks is better than reading off from a computer; it’s still worse than reading from real books, but it’s the next best thing.

 
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