Monday, December 27, 2010

The Kindle vs. a real book

The other day, I wrote a post about Timothy Ferriss's new book The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. Glenn and I had both the Kindle edition and the actual book and I read part of it on the Kindle first, then switched to the real book. I must say, I was disappointed to read this particular book on the Kindle. Why?

For many reasons. First, Ferriss's book is huge and feels so substantial that it gave me a sense that I really got a lot for the low cost. The Kindle edition, not so much. Second, in order to use the exercises which are a bit complicated, the reader needs to see the pictures. I was surprised how easy it was to figure out the stretches and exercise moves with the actual book which I could also drop on the floor beside me and flip through the pictures as I did some of the workouts. I can't flip through the Kindle that way. Finally, I like to go back and forth in the book to other chapters quickly, especially when writing about the book in my previous post and it is hard and more cumbersome to do so with a Kindle.

For those of you who are Kindle users, have you had a similar (or different) experience?


Blogger Carteach said...

Nook reader here....

There is a difference in type of books, and that is the root of the issue.

I have many hundreds of books, both on the shelves and on the Nook. The Nook though... is reserved almost exclusively for novels, Sci Fi, and such fare. The technical books, the books packed with data, diagrams, images, and solid information.... those are hard copy and live on the shelves.

Novels lend themselves well to an E-reader, and seldom need illustration as they form the pictures in the readers mind, using words.

7:31 AM, December 27, 2010  
Blogger Pete the Streak said...

I disagree. Complex novels weave so many characters into the first few chapters, I find it impossible to keep them straight without referring back to previous sections.

7:39 AM, December 27, 2010  
Blogger Michael K said...

I use the Kindle for novels and buy the book for non-fiction. I found, particularly, that leafing back and forth was too frustrating on the Kindle.

12:20 PM, December 27, 2010  
Blogger Rich Hailey said...

I've had a Kindle for about six months now, and while I love it, there are some books that I buy as a hard copy. Sometimes, it's for the reasons you and the other commentors have noted, that some books require more flexibility than an e-reader offers, although by using bookmarks, I've been able to overcome that limitation to a certain extent.

But the bigger reason is that it is impossible to lend a copy of a book you've downloaded. Several members of my family share my tastes in reading, and after I finish a book, they like to read it. If it's on the kindle, I lose my kindle for as long as they take to read it.

Adding to that, publishers have forced Amazon to raise their e-book prices to nearly that of the discounted hard cover price, which is really short sighted of them, since if it is a book that I know my kids will want to read, I'll just buy a single hard copy for an extra dollar or two and then let them read it when I am done. On the other hand, if the e-book were significantly cheaper, I'd be more likely to purchase multiple copies for each Kindle.

1:02 PM, December 27, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: Kindle? iPad? Whatever It Takes....

I have Kindle on my iPad.

Kindle is 'okay', but I perfer the Eucalyptus app for reading. But Eucalyptus is limited to things out of copyright protection. [Note: Advantages....Disadvantages....]

Eucalyptus has a fast scrolling capability that Kindle, in it's current form, lacks. Maybe a future version will have that capability added on to it.

In the meantime, why get a Kindle or a Nook or any other highly specialized computer reader when you can get an iPad and do a hell of a lot more, including reading recipes while in the kitchen working on a meal. Or play a game of airhockey with someone else: they on their iPod and you on your iPad. Or Monopoly. Or Scrabble. Let alone do some serious star-gazing with Distant Suns.

Merry Christmas,

[Your computer may beat you at chess...but not at kickboxing!]

1:50 PM, December 27, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

P.S. I left out:

• Word Processing
• Slide Shows
• Watch movies like Serenity
• Topographic mapping with GPS capabilities
• Automotive GPS
• E-mailing Postcards
• Etc., etc., etc.....

1:55 PM, December 27, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: Kindle Controls

Ah HA!

I found the slider control in the Kindle. Apologies for my earlier erroneous report.


P.S. Currently re-reading Lucifer's Hammer. But also downloaded the Larry Niven series on Fleet of Worlds.

4:27 AM, December 28, 2010  
Blogger Former SSG said...

I use my kindle for fiction and bios, but would buy a real book for anything with serious illustrations or charts. As for sharing, my mom is on my account (up to 5 devices) and iphones and droids can ba added for kids, etc., to read what you've bought. We don't have a problem sharing within those 5 devices.

When I was going to buy one for my mom, I asked her - Do you like reading, or do you like books? (The answer can be both.) He wrists are worn out with arthritis, so the kindle is easier for her to hold.

I really enjoy this blog....

10:08 AM, December 28, 2010  
Blogger Bill said...

Like other commenters, I use the Kindle for fiction and still buy hard-copy for my non-fiction. I find illustrations on the Kindle, particularly the color ones to be very weak, at best. Being able to leaf back and forth is easy on the hard-copy, frustrating on the kindle.

My wife and I have both Kindles on the same account, so we can share books without a problem.

10:51 AM, December 28, 2010  
Blogger Sandeep said...

Aren't book lighter on the eye than kindle screen?

11:11 AM, December 28, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I just don't see much of an advantage to electronic readers. I have to worry about batteries, protecting it from damgage (dropping, bumping, rain, cold, putting stuff on top of it, etc). I've read sometimes/somehow books can be taken back by Amazon on the Kindle. Books can be more easily shared and stored. I've had a box of books in my alternately freezing cold/sauna hot garage for years. No harm done.

12:01 PM, December 28, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am amused that Helen refers to dead tree books as "real" as opposed to the same identical book that might be in e-reader form.

12:33 PM, December 28, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: DADvocate
RE: Advantages & Disadvantages

Sure, any electronic device can take a beating and fail. So can books.

On the other hand, can YOU carry around 300+ books in your hip pocket? I can, with Eucalyptus and Kindle and Apple's iBooks.

Indeed, sitting in the pub 100 miles away from home, waiting for a 20-something (my daughter) to show up for lunch, I can read ANY of those books on this iPad, as well as type this comment. Let alone play any of the games I mentioned (above), including SimCity and Civilization. I can also challenge the bartender to make something from one of the several mixology apps or begin a randomly selected polite Bargument with the app of the same name.

What's my point? See the RE: of this comment.


P.S. And YES I did have an iPad bite the proverbial 'dust'. Or rather a rock while ATVing about the family cabin. I was intent upon waypoint marking all the various landmarks on and around the property when a BFR threw me and the iPad, in case, absorbed the bulk of the impact rather than my body. Gotta learn to twist harder and faster....

2:32 PM, December 28, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

On the other hand, can YOU carry around 300+ books in your hip pocket? I can, with Eucalyptus and Kindle and Apple's iBooks.

I only read one book at a time unless I'm in school which I haven't been for quite a while.

Generally, I find myself quite immune from boredom and the need for perpetual entertainment that many others seem to need. Sitting in a pub, I can find something already there to read, strike up a conversation with another, people watch or simply contently sip a brew. I enjoy those unplanned moments as they allow the world to bring something unexpected into my life and, maybe, broaden it a little, or a lot.

3:33 PM, December 28, 2010  
Blogger Frank said...

I don't think I'd ever buy an art book on the Kindle, but there are serious advantages otherwise.

I was on a panel recently discussing Victorian era Fantasy/SF, and the roots of Steampunk. I remembered an American cowboy being in the original Dracula, and that fit nicely with a point I wanted to make. I was confronted with finding the right closet containing the right box that had my copy of Dracula in it, or downloading the free version to my PC's Kindle app.

Easy choice, plus it was easy to search for "cowboy" and find the references I needed.

Also there's lots of advantages from an author's standpoint as my wife has her novel China Harbor up in the Kindle store.

7:36 PM, December 28, 2010  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

up until now the only reason i ever felt badly about owning several thousand books was the daunting task of lifting boxes full of them when moving i have the term "dead tree books" floating around my consciousness.

thanks fred.

i`m going to have some dead animal carcass now....

2:38 PM, December 29, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Frank - it's certainly easier to publish when you don't have to physically print anything.

You're panel example is a good one but also specific to a small number of situations.

One thing I like about having printed dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference books is that when looking up one thing, you often come across something else that piques your interest and increase you knowledge more than expected. Electronic references don't do this sort of thing as much. One of the games a friend of mine and I played while bored in the 4th and 5th grade was look up words in the dictionary. Sometimes we would race to see who could find it first and other times "make up" a word and see if it really existed. (Yeah, 4th and 5th grade was way to easy and boring for us.)

9:59 PM, December 29, 2010  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

I don't have a Kindle, have never even seen one. I read books.

2:15 AM, December 30, 2010  
Blogger Jason said...

Since the Kindle version linked to actual videos of most of the exercises, and photograph series of others, I found it very convenient to read The 4-Hour Body on the Kindle app on my iPad.

2:33 AM, December 31, 2010  
Blogger Larry said...

How about this one: You can't buy Kindle e-books at the used book book sale, you can't check them out at the library, you can't sell or give them away when you are finished...

8:56 AM, December 31, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: Larry....

....has SOME valid points. However, about the business about "sell or give them away when you are finished", it is pretty obvious that Larry is NOT an ENTJ by the MBTI.

For the uninformed, ENTJs can re-read a book or watch a DVD NUMEROUS TIMES and get the same benefits of the experience, and then some, each time.

Case in point. I'm wildly ENTJ. I'm reading Lucifer's Hammer for the umpteenth time. And I'm STILL getting more out of it this time than all the other times I've read it. Maybe it's reading it on the iPad Kindle app. Reading electronically means reading more slowly.

Additionally, I can't even BEGIN to recount the number of times I've watched Serenity.


[I aim to misbehave. -- Malcolm]

9:34 AM, December 31, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Helen
RE: Uuuuuhhhhh.....

Since the Kindle version linked to actual videos of most of the exercises, and photograph series of others, I found it very convenient to read The 4-Hour Body on the Kindle app on my iPad. -- Jason

....WHICH version of Kindle are you using, that you complain about images?

Seems to me, that your complaint did not mention the particular capability that Jason reports. Why is that?


[Why get a single-purpose computer in the first place, when, for a few dollars more, you can go First Class?]

9:38 AM, December 31, 2010  
Blogger Maddad said...

I've had a Kindle for a week and I love it. I travel a lot and after a week or two on the road, I have pretty much read every airport book out there, and I'm still carrying my library book in my carry on bag. My library books tend to be non-fiction and are big and heavy, and even with read and return I always end up with at least one fat paperback in my bag. This thing is thin, I hacked an old leather day-timer as a cover, AND I can dump all of the pdfs I get on to it, read them, and mark them up. And it looks like paper. I charged it when I got it and haven't charged it since. I haven't been this happy with a bit of hardware since my first Blackberry.

10:18 AM, December 31, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Maddad
RE: Okay..... like your Kindle.

Tell me....

....can you plot the stars on it? Send picture postcards? Play air-hockey? Or any of the other things I've mentioned in posts (above) here?


[The Truth will out....]

11:17 AM, December 31, 2010  
Blogger JMW - said...

Fully agree with your comments. Can also be a challenge with travel books (maps, etc.) and similar. I too, like to use both real books and e-books.

Would say though that the main advantages for me with the Kindle are: a) great when travelling and do not need to lug books; b) the number of free classics is substantial and has got me to start reading older books that I may not have purchased; c) maybe it is the result of reading old-style writing, but I very much enjoy the embedded dictionary and have learned a lot about the English language, as well as about word origins from Latin, Greek, etc.; d) portability in reading on iPad, iPhone as well as Kindle.

3:18 PM, January 01, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once went to India and packed a lot of books for the long flight there and back. With a Kindle I could have taken a nearly endless amount of books in the same space.

I don't have a Kindle, but if I go on a long flight again I'll have my Kindle app, and iBook app on my iPhone loaded up and ready to go.

8:24 PM, January 02, 2011  

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