A few months ago, I told you about the use of e-readers as a tool in education, something I researched for my studies. I already stated in the article that an e-reader just isn’t something for me, but I wanted to keep it positive. Sometimes, however, I do have to read a novel in another format than paper, because a lot of books for reviewing are distributed before the book is actually printed. When I review for Passionate Platform I ask for a print of the text (or I can ask my editor to print it for me), but with books for my blog it’s just not worthwhile for me to let my printer go through a whole book. Last week I had to read a book that’s not yet published and that was only available to me in a digital format. Here’s some reasons why I personally hate this very much.
- The letters are incredibly small. And I know that you’re supposed to be able to change this in the settings, but I’m reading from a PDF, not an EPUB, so my e-reader doesn’t recognize it. I’m constantly trying to zoom in just a little bit, to make sure all the text still fits on the screen, but the zooming and fitting of the page really screws with my immersion. It is possible to convert a PDF to an EPUB, but I don’t want to go through this hassle every time.
- I can’t drop it. My house is filled with very unstable stacks of books, and every now and then some of them fall over. This wouldn’t be a big deal: books are sturdy, they’ll manage. But I constantly have to be so careful with my e-reader. I can’t put it in the same bag as some loose keys, I can’t throw it on a loose stack of books, I can’t spill tea over it. I’m just too aware that I’m working with expensive technology.
- The software tends to flip. One time I put my e-reader on and it was suddenly on a other page than when I stopped reading. A lot of times I try to change the zoom but it goes to the next page. Sometimes the frame just freezes and I have to reboot the whole thing. Paper books don’t do this.
- I can’t make notes. As someone who writes about what she reads, bookmarks and notes are a very important part of my process. It makes it easier to write reviews and helps me set up my main argument during the course of my reading. Luckily this book isn’t too difficult so it’s not that big of a problem to write my review, but it will be harder to find the right quotes to support my argument.
- E-books doesn’t look pretty. Now, I know this is a very subjective argument, but it can become a problem when you’re looking for new books. When looking for an e-book to download, there’s no serendipity like in a store. There’s no cover to grasp your attention. There’s no back page to give you a first impression, or pages to flip through. Of course there’s summaries and first chapters to read, but the lack of visuals will may cause a lot of people to stop browsing beyond what they already know.