I like my ereader. (Ok, mostly I like reading on an ereader because it makes me feel like I'm on Star Trek and I'll admit that that's the real reason I wanted one.) But there are things I've noticed about ereaders that make me stop and say "this is why books will last!" I can like ereaders, but I still see lots of problems with them. Granted, these might be somewhat device specific, but I think most ereaders have the same problems. Most of my ereader experience has been with the Sony Pocket Reader (in pink of course), but I've also read on the Kobo (the discounted Borders price appealed to me under the guise of "it's a gift for Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan!), and most recently the Nook Simple Touch.
- I like to end reading on a chapter. I also like to flip and see how many pages I have left in a chapter to see how much I can keep reading before I really need to go to bed (or go to work, clean the house, make dinner-all that stuff that I have to do instead of read). But with an ereader, I can't do this. I have no way of knowing how many pages are left in a chapter. I know how many pages are left in the book, but that doesn't help when I say "just one more chapter" and the chapter ends up being 50 pages longer than I wanted to read!
- I can't flip between pages easily. I like to go back and look at things as I'm reading-was that the character mentioned earlier, how old was that person, what was the name of that thing again, etc. You can do this with ereaders but it makes it harder to flip pages. I can't as easily flip several pages to check something and flip back. Instead, I have to press buttons and it takes me a much longer time. I could go back to the table of contents (if there is one for that book, which many times on the egalleys I've read are not offered) and possibly search by chapter, but it's still a multi-step process. It's a lot more time intensive. Same thing if you're a reader who likes to flip to the end of the book to make sure things will turn out OK. I'm not a reader who does this, but I know readers who do, and this becomes much more difficult to do with a ebook.
- When I was reading on my Sony one day my dog jumped onto my lap and somehow pressed a button with his paw that sent my book back to page one. That book was one of the aforementioned egalleys with no chapters. Since I had been knocked back the beginning and my ereader bookmarks the last page I was on, I had to slowly page my way page by page back to page 283. This was very annoying and time consuming!
- Formatting can be off. This is a problem with reading with different text sizes. I really love having the option to change the text size, but it can be annoying when I read a full page of text and then turn to page only to find one or two words or lines left because my text size didn't leave enough room. I noticed that with the Kobo when I was trying to read egalleys I had to page left and right (that didn't last long-I gave up and read a print book instead). I've also noticed that words will be formatted strangely. This might be more in egalleys, so if anyone's noticed it in ebooks too, I'd love to know. I was reading an egalley the other day and noticed that words would be broken up like: fan tastic or be cause. Or the word would start on one line and be spaced down to the next with no hyphen. And this happened a lot! It slowed down my reading because I would have to stop and rethink the words.
- I'll admit it-I'm a book eavesdropper. If you're reading a book around me, I'm going to try and figure out what you're reading. I can't help it-I love sharing books and there's nothing better than seeing someone read a book you loved and saying "isn't that book great!" You loose that with ereaders and instead reading become a more solitary act. By hiding what you're reading, you loose the camaraderie that comes with finding other readers who enjoy what you do. Ereaders make reading a lone act that others can't share in as easily.
- Along with that, I loved what Elizabeth Bluemie talks about in her post "Is the Personal Library Doomed?" How many times do you go to friends houses and check out their bookcases? We were recently at a Halloween party of some newer acquaintances that hopefully will become closer friends. After seeing their bookshelf full of similar reading tastes, Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan turned to me and said, "I think we will be great friends!" to which I wholeheartdly agreed. Anyone who owns Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman's books are sure to be good friends of ours!
- Similarly, you don't get to see what books are loved and what books are favorites. Sure, you can browse through someone's ereader and see what books they own or have been reading, but you can't see the wear and tear, notes, dog-eared (gasp!) pages, and worn covers that show the book has been read and loved over and over. There's nothing better than reading an old friend who shows the signs of being an old friend. I also love sharing books with my friends and I love when they browse my bookshelves and ask if they can borrow a book. You can still lend people books on ereaders, but I think it looses some of the magic when it's done electronically.
- You can't read ebooks in the bathtub. OK, you could, but it's not as easy you probably wouldn't want to risk it. Ereaders can break-and somewhat easily too! My Sony started freezing up on me and I'd have to reset the whole thing just to get back to the book I was reading. When I was trying to fix it one day after it froze yet again, it dropped off my desk and the screen cracked, distorting the text-so goodbye ereader. My Nook so far is good, but it's had some freezing problems to with the page turning as well. Ereaders aren't designed to last long and this can make them very frustrating to read on when they are dying.