Thursday, December 09, 2010

The digital book is not for me just yet

Writing about all the things you could do with newspaper got me thinking about what other items are now becoming redundant in this digital age.

Records were largely made redundant by CDs which are now under threat by MP3 downloads. Cine film was superseded by digital tape which is now falling foul of DVDs, built in hard drives and memory cards and of course films on VHS tapes have given way to DVDs. I am sure I have missed a few things out there and left the odd gap but not to worry.

What is interesting me most at the moment is the digital book.

Before we came to Spain we had loads of books, enough to fill a large bookcase twice over. We pruned that down to three shelves full (in total about 3m). Amongst those there are reference titles which get thumbed from time to time. The rest are all non-fiction and cover everything from gardening to barbecuing with a fair emphasis on cooking. Some of the books have been read from cover to cover, some have been dipped into and others barely touched and yet they all take up space and gather dust.

Aside from all that factual stuff, Pam is an avid reader of novels and regularly stocks up on paperbacks to see her through a season or two.

Wouldn't it be great if all those books could be stored on a simple device the size of a very slim notebook computer? Well of course they can and there is a growing choice of tablets you can buy which do just this.

The one I have investigated in a bit more depth is the Amazon Kindle which is not badly priced, has good capacity and some interesting features.There are a couple of stumbling blocks though.

First off, the device is grey scale which would be useless for all those travel and photography books in my collection. For Pam’s novels though that would not be an issue. What would be though, is the fact that many of titles she would buy are just not available in digitised format yet and those that are cost more than the paperback format. Over 480, 000 or whatever Amazon claim might seem like a lot of titles but pales in comparison to the number of books that are actually in print.

All that means is that I am kind of put off the idea, at least for the moment. It might be worth watching for developments though.

1 comment:

Will said...

Interesting comments, Keith. I totally agree. I use a lot of local history books which is a very specialist area. Very few titles available for Kindle. It would be quite nice to have some of one's favourite novels (I'm a Hardy fan) on a Kindle, but why pay again when you have hard copies on your shelf?
I also agree with your sentiments about lack of colour. I see people with I-Pads on the train, but hardly see anyone with a Kindle. My friend said that he saw a guy waiting for the train the other morning and he was watching a film on his I-Pad! Takes all sorts, I suppose.