eReading: The Love Affair Wanes

Media, Reading & Writing

I don’t think I’ll be doing too many more of these eReader posts, as my love affair with e-reading is definitely on the slide.

Having now read several books on my Sony pocket eReader, I can say that I love it for being able to use the on-screen dictionary, the fact that it fits my jeans pocket and the ease of having a library on hand. And for not being the Kindle, which appears to have been designed by monkeys who like steampunk.

But I hate it for DRM – the outrageous rip-off of digital rights management that prevents me from reading the e-book I have just paid for. Purchasing ‘The Psychopath Test’ by Jon Ronson on Kindle For Mac, I found I couldn’t translate it to my Sony because it was protected, which is like someone selling me a book that I can read in my home but not on a bus.

Attempting to find a way to shift it across – and there are several, although you need a degree in IT to manage it – I wasted the best part of a day and accidentally deleted the e-book. So now I have to buy it again. But next time, it’ll be in a paper format. Why waste time trying to export it by stripping off the DRM (technically illegal apart from anything else) when I can wait to read it in paperback?

My other cavil is that, to Mac users, eReaders are like something out of the ark, clunky and painfully unresponsive. So right now, the Hate side has started to outweigh the Love. Let’s wait until AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) flexible screens hit next year and re-evaluate the whole thing. Meanwhile, the eReader goes in a drawer, to be used on holidays and long journeys, which is what it’s designed for.

My library just whispered ‘Thank You’.

11 comments on “eReading: The Love Affair Wanes”

  1. Cid says:

    There’s one massive problem with e-readers – my big arse. If I happen to have a paperback in my back pocket, forget it’s there and sit down on the tube, I don’t end up with a broken piece of expensive kit in my pocket, so the book wins.

  2. Mike Cane says:

    Chris, you shouldn’t have to buy it again from Amazon. Just re-download it. And that doesn’t look like a textbook, so it shouldn’t be in TPZ format and should convert.

  3. Mike Cane says:

    Oh, one other thing. There should be a new all-touchscreen Kindle soon, getting rid of all those damned buttons. I can’t say it will be as sexy as the Sony Reader — Amazon has yet to show it knows what sexy design is — but it should be smaller overall and less offensive to the eye.

  4. Martha says:

    Nokia in cahoots with Microsoft (ARGH!!) will be rolling out an e-reader within a year – I’m waiting to see what they come up with.

  5. Vickie Farrar says:

    Hey, not just your library, but little libraries all over the world just stood up and cheered.

    In the 1990’s, amazon put out a thing which I think was called The Rocket Reader, the dinosaur of electronic reading devices. Back then, in a state of enthusiastic naivety, I bought one (I think it cost $239 or so) and downloaded a book by Stephen King; if I recall correctly, at the time, this was the only format in which that book was available. I never finished reading it, very discouraged with the whole cumbersome process. Since then, I have been quite leery of electronic reading devices, sticking loyally to 3D touchable pages.

  6. Nikki-ann says:

    You shouldn’t been to buy it again, you should be able to download it again from your account.

  7. Rick says:

    … AND having downloaded it again, you should be able to install the KINDLE app on that annoying iPad2 and read it on that. That being said, I totally agree about the annoying DRM as well as the regional restrictions. I often buy books from AMAZON UK that are not available here in Canada, but they restrict me from buying KINDLE books. How terribly un-green of them. The carbon footprint of my boot is on their butt(* arse for you lot).

  8. I.A.M. says:

    Some people shouldn’t get into electronic books due to the steep learning curve owing to lack of previous tech-grounding.

    AMOLED screens are sexy, but they’ll tire your eyes the same way your computer screen will. Sony, Kindle, Kobo, and other e-ink screens will not do so.

    …I’ll go back into my previous mode of “run silent; run deep” now.

  9. Daniel says:

    The two problems you’ve mentioned are the primary reasons, along with price, that I haven’t forked over for an eReader yet. When I can buy a brand new, reliable, pocket sized, eInk based reader for less than fifty quid I’ll jump on-board and gorge myself at Project Gutenberg, while waiting patiently for the day that DRM isn’t an issue when buying new books, but for now they remain an overpriced delivery system for something I can enjoy without the extra step in the process. When you combine an emergent technology with an emergent business model, there end up being too many headaches and fiscal risks for the consumer.

    Two to four years down the line, though, things may look very different indeed; different to the point that printed books hold the same status as music on vinyl, which is to say something for late adopters, Luddites, purists and collectors only.

  10. Cindie White says:

    I have an iPad but have yet to download a single book. I began reading at age 4. My bookshelves are stuffed with lovely spines. Bookstores and libraries thrill my soul. I always have a book in my bag. The iPad is for email and Facebook, period. I love books. (That should go on my grave marker when I die in a hundred years.)

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