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Old 12-07-2014, 08:18   #1
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Kindle vs Physical Books

Howdy Folks,

First let me start by saying my goal here isn't to discuss the merits of e-readers in general, I know this has been covered many times. For my part I love my kindle and the fact that with it I can take 100s of books with me with minimal weight and space requirements. E-ink readers are also super easy to read in direct sunlight and anything with an LED backlight is great in low light, so I'm convinced of the merits for basic text, and to me for novels it's a no brainer.

That being said, in my reading I've found that reference material doesn't always translate well to a simple E-reader. For instance, books like "The Voyagers Handbook", "Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat" or "The Underwater Photographer" are all excellent books IMHO but due to their content tables, charts, and diagrams are hard for me to read electronically. The electronic format also makes it harder to flip back and forth between specific pages/illustrations to help cement a concept in my mind.

So I bring this up because I'm curious what others do here. There have been several reference books that after buying electronic copies, I've wished I opted for physical books. At the same time, I recognize the fact that I probably don't want to be hauling several hundred pounds of books around with us on the boat. For instance, I'm wanting to pick up a copy of the Pardey's "Storm Tactics" book and am torn between the cheaper and space saving electronic version vs having a physical copy I can easily flip through anytime.

-EB
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:37   #2
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBrown View Post
Howdy Folks,

First let me start by saying my goal here isn't to discuss the merits of e-readers in general, I know this has been covered many times. For my part I love my kindle and the fact that with it I can take 100s of books with me with minimal weight and space requirements. E-ink readers are also super easy to read in direct sunlight and anything with an LED backlight is great in low light, so I'm convinced of the merits for basic text, and to me for novels it's a no brainer.

That being said, in my reading I've found that reference material doesn't always translate well to a simple E-reader. For instance, books like "The Voyagers Handbook", "Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat" or "The Underwater Photographer" are all excellent books IMHO but due to their content tables, charts, and diagrams are hard for me to read electronically. The electronic format also makes it harder to flip back and forth between specific pages/illustrations to help cement a concept in my mind.

So I bring this up because I'm curious what others do here. There have been several reference books that after buying electronic copies, I've wished I opted for physical books. At the same time, I recognize the fact that I probably don't want to be hauling several hundred pounds of books around with us on the boat. For instance, I'm wanting to pick up a copy of the Pardey's "Storm Tactics" book and am torn between the cheaper and space saving electronic version vs having a physical copy I can easily flip through anytime.

-EB
I agree with you on the reference book issue on E readers. I have Pardey's Storm Tactics on my Kindle and there are several diagrams that are just unreadable. I would recommend the hard copy version. Though it would be helpful if publishers would provide a website where one could see and download the charts, diagrams, photos etc published on E Readers for better viewing or printing out on a regular computer.
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Old 12-07-2014, 09:01   #3
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

There's no way around it, some books absolutely require an iPad like tablet. Same for magazines. I receive Cruising Outpost, Sail, and Cruising World on my iPad.

I wish all books were available via ebook. I just had to buy the hard copy of Rebecca Wittman's "Brightwork" books because they were not available via ebook. "The Art of Finishing Wood" isn't even in print and I had to buy a used copy. Authors need to get control of their work because publishers are missing the boat.
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Old 12-07-2014, 09:15   #4
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

Get the Kindle app for an iPad.
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Old 12-07-2014, 09:23   #5
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

Some material just doesn't translate well to some e-formats.

However, a LOT of material on the Kindle has just been dumped there. It often has come from an OCR scan (common when old out-of-print books are being Kindled) or prepared by an author trying to follow Amazon's instructions with no real clue about electronic publishing.

I've found that a constructive complaint to Amazon, and to the author directly when they have supplied an email address, often gets a revision and correction soon after.

Part of the problem is from Amazon's Kindle system, which apparently is simply not as robust as Adobe's PDF (when used properly) but better preserves their digital rights management. And then, part of the problem is also apparently in the Kindles themselves. I've seen sections repeated in some Kindle e-books, which correct themselves after a device reboot or reload.

Going to a 10 or 12 inch tablet can also help, since material that was originally laid out for a larger page just can't be displayed legibly and properly on a small one. That can also mean having more than one device, to read on the most appropriate one for the material.

Switching pages, not as easy, but the "go to" functions help there. They're sometimes very inconvenient, with Amazon's choice of "locus" instead of pages. Another mixed blessing of Kindle. Still, Amazon often eventually listens to complaints, and the most productive thing is to hammer on Mr. Bezos and his minions until they get the message. Politely but very persistently.

What they really need is to admit that their entire Kindle publishing model is wrong. Authors need editors and publishers, they really can't just dump material into a hopper and get anything but e-confetti out of it. Amazon needs to ante up for a quality control (publication) system.
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Old 12-07-2014, 09:23   #6
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

Even on the iPad, some publishers have not taken the time to ensure that the conversion to e format has been smooth. Even my Sailing for Dummies book has some messed up images. I can usually figure out the images, though. The real problem is when they block the text itself


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Old 12-07-2014, 11:04   #7
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

This question is part of the larger dialogue going on in the publishing world. The definition, the very concept, of the term "book" has been subject to much scrutiny and is splintering. 15 years ago an atlas was a book and the best way of accessing geographic and demographic information, dictionary was the universal standard for looking up a definition etc. Now both these types of content have found a new and 'better' storage medium and access system.

As well, the current crop of ebooks and readers have now definitely achieved a satisfactory level of functionality when it comes to text-based content such as novels or certain (most?) kinds of non-fiction. I love mine.

What we haven't done yet is been able to separate the myriad types of reference books into any sort of consistent structure that allows or facilitates the necessary transformation of content and presentation. Currently most electronic reference books with any significant amount of graphical information are merely converted 'books' with no thought to how or why the information needs to be presented. This makes them worse than useless in most cases and generally not worth the effort in the rest.

Wikis and webpages are making headway in transforming how we utilize content, but so far they haven't really succeeded in the handheld/portable sphere. So until we start to rethink how the kind of content in these books needs to be used and then invent the technology to consistently make the content easily available we are just playing with the toys. Just compare learning a new piece of software using the webpages or help screens vs the good old fashioned manuals. The logic behind the presentation just isn't universal enough.

In short, keep those books. We just ain't there yet.
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Old 12-07-2014, 14:23   #8
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

We buy everything possible in Kindle only. You can read them all on your smartphone, your tablet or your computer. We read the type books you mention on larger screens. Read them on our televisions even as we link our tablets and computers to our tv's and you can even do that with smartphones. The key is getting a large screen. On a 60" television screen we get far more than on a book page. But, yes, certain kindle books don't read well on a phone, or on a kindle. Now we don't actually have any kindles, just android and windows.
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Old 12-07-2014, 14:34   #9
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

I love books, but my minimalist efforts have had me contemplating shifting into a Kindle. I did find this great link...

Waterproofed Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Generation)(Without Sponsored Offers)

I liked the Paperwhite Kindle because you can sit out and read without the glare...and who doesn't love the 8 week battery life. As for manuals and 'must have' books - I'll be keeping those paper versions.
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Old 12-07-2014, 18:21   #10
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

The Kindle App on my Samsung tablet (10" ) is way better than the native Kindle software (at least on my old Kindle). Especially for reference material. Searching is much better. Large table/image display/navigation is much better. Zoom is much better. And I can fit a full page on a screen...none of this "location" rubbish. Full color too. Back lighting on tablet is adjustable over a wide range (pop up light on my Kindle case was way bright and not adjustable...very annoying for my GF if reading in bed...dimly back lit tablet is hardly noticeable and still very readable).

Haven't used my Kindle since I got a tablet.
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Old 12-07-2014, 18:54   #11
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBrown View Post
Howdy Folks,

First let me start by saying my goal here isn't to discuss the merits of e-readers in general, I know this has been covered many times. For my part I love my kindle and the fact that with it I can take 100s of books with me with minimal weight and space requirements. E-ink readers are also super easy to read in direct sunlight and anything with an LED backlight is great in low light, so I'm convinced of the merits for basic text, and to me for novels it's a no brainer.
So the discussion immediately devolves into the merits of various e-reader - LOL...


Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBrown View Post
"The Voyagers Handbook", "Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat" or "The Underwater Photographer" are all excellent books IMHO but due to their content tables, charts, and diagrams are hard for me to read electronically. The electronic format also makes it harder to flip back and forth between specific pages/illustrations to help cement a concept in my mind.
Specifically to reference material and "what to do about it."

There are certain reference tomes that I will still have in hard copy. There is a utility in flipping back and forth between pages and diagrams etc that is still easier and more intuitive with paper.

What those reference books are for the individual is the tough part.

You mention "Storm Tactics." I can't imaging cracking this book open in the heat of battle. This is stuff you are going to have to learn and internalize. One might consider printing and laminating "key" things and storing in a binder. Kind of like a pilot's QRF (Quick reference handbook) of urgent and emergency procedures.

Other reference tomes have 400 pages of words and 50 pages of "real" content.

I look at my 4 bookcases sitting here and 1 is full of paperbacks (ba-dupe), one is computer books (mastering DOS, Understanding the IBM AT) cute to have but unnecessary (ba-dupe), you get the idea.

Actual paper reference books? Maybe 5-10 books.
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Old 12-07-2014, 20:12   #12
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

I like my Kindle for novel type books. Anything technical, I find it best to get printed copies. Print makes it easier to me for flipping between multiple pages and making notes in them if necessary.
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Old 12-07-2014, 20:59   #13
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

We have an older kindle that can go online via 3g as well as wireless, the 3g connection is free and we have used it in Mexico and Honduras to send and check e-mails. But what I wanted to mention here is that it works great for viewing radiofax weather information, much easier to see than on a computer screen!
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Old 13-07-2014, 01:28   #14
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

ever tried to wipe your arse ,or roll a cigarette with a kindle,when the paper runs out.....
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Old 13-07-2014, 01:34   #15
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Re: Kindle vs physical books

Or swat a mosquito with one?
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