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Old 10-12-2009, 07:39 AM   #1
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But You Can't Read an Ebook in the Bath

The next time I read some smug newspaper columnist, show-off blogger, reading/writing forum correspondent, friend, neighbour or relative tell me "but you can't read an ebook in the bath", I swear I will draw back my first and smack him in the nose (even if the him is a her). It's as lame an excuse to knock this huge step forward as once claiming that cinema will never replace the seaside Punch and Judy tent.

I will respond similarly fistwise to those who say that you cannot curl up in an armchair/bed/beach lounger/tent/haystack with an ebook. I will also physically assault those who tell me that their treebooks are to be 'treasured' .. books should not be considered ornaments; they are mere delivery devices for literature, for kissake! What's important; the gift or the wrapping paper?

Since the Kindle launched internationally last week, these hackneyed cliches are cropping up daily yet again. Nothing new, just the old 'ebook in the bath/bed/beach/etc' stuff again. Is there not a new objection that (excuse me) actually holds water?

By the way; ever drop a tree book in te bath?

For ten years, I've been promoting the very idea of ebooks left and right in every way possible ... including publshing nearly 150 titles in ebooks and giving many away free of charge, just to introduce people the to experience.

Since I got an e-reader (something I'd been dreaming of since the last century), I've tried even harder to explain the advantages of ebook reading ... until I'm blue in the face. The ereader has one very, very simple thing going for it: It's as far superior to the treebook as the codex is to the scroll or carved tablet of clay or stone. Fin.

I now, officially, give up. None are so blind as those who refuse to see, and I'm sick to the back teeth of trying to open the eyes of the naysayers. The only thing that brightens the horizon is the fact that these folks will have to eat as many words as those who once said the motor car would never replace the horse, that the paperback was doomed to failure, that the earth is most certainly flat, and there ain't no possibility of talking pictures because the film and the phonograph can never be properly synchronised. And who wants to hear pictures talk anyway? That's not the point of pictures.

And they laughed at Marconi ... not because he invented radio (he didn't) but because he believed -- and later proved -- that you could put it into a convenient box that anyone could use to listen to the music, the plays and the conversations it broadcasts.

Maybe this post is better suited to the 'rant and rave' section, but I thought I'd risk it here to ask a simple question ...

What are the objections to ebooks and ebook readers (adinfinauseam) that drive you nuts because they spout from prejudice rather than hands-on experience?

Hoots. Neil (Sorry; but they do say, too, that converts are the most passionate)
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:50 AM   #2
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the one that really gets me going is this one:

"But I love the smell of books!"

So shove a fricking piece of paper up your nose and read... geez!

Seriously though, I think that is one of the most stupid excuses as to why e-reader will never replace books.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:05 AM   #3
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Most comments aimed at me are about the lack of available ebooks in the UK. Most of them are in the US which we cannot get.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:13 AM   #4
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No, next time you mention AquaPac and stuff like that that really allow you to read in bath without any fear for your device even if you drop it in the water. Ever tried to turn pages on a pbook inside a waterproff bag ?
I think I've read here about people that put their reader in such a bag and then let it float on the water. I'm at work and a bit lazy so I can't give you an exact thread for reference about this.

EDIT : as for a real on-topic reply, there are no objections that drive me nuts. For most of them I reply "Just try it and you'll see".

Last edited by Gaurnim; 10-12-2009 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:32 AM   #5
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Yeah ... Slite ... the smell of books. Try a soft leather cover for your reader and you get the look, the feel AND the smell of the highest quality hardback possible (and you don't need two hands to hold it). As for availability of titles, Panda -- how many titles does your local high street bookstore carry? Will they give you classics freeof charge or promise you the latest hot best seller within half an hour of release? IF you're ordering a treebook on line in the hot flush of enthusiasm, will the online store deliver it within the nexst two minutes? Gaurnim -- you're right, of course, but I tend not to read whilst scuba diving. Also, those who complain have glanced at readers, perhaps, but never given them time. Knee-jerk reporting. Ereaders are an acquired taste like Cognac and also Marmite sandwiches. There is only one thing to recommend treebooks ... you can use them to prop up a wobbly table. OK, two things, you can also throw them at the wall when they're trash ... much more satisfying than merely tapping the delete button, I guess. Neil
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:43 AM   #6
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Yes I'm all for putting down ebook devices in their current manifestations...but I agree that rejecting them on nostalgia alone is annoying.

"but...the sense of awe you get from seeing a bookshelf" probably gets me the most.

Or anything that involves the word "magic".

Once the devices accelerate away from geologically-significant response times and inferior design (both in the books and the devices) and interfacing while taking advantage of their digital heritage with insta-dictionaries and search...I think I'll be an ebook zealot. Sadly, that's still a little ways in the future if we're lucky.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:44 AM   #7
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I don't think it's a question of either pbooks or ebooks.
Sometimes the pbook is better than an ebook version, and sometimes it's the other way round.
I wouldn't yet opt for the ebook version of an art book for example.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:01 AM   #8
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If the means of presentation is true to the words of the original, you must go for the most convenient means of delivery (not necessarily the prettiest); you buy the ebook and use an ereader. Simple. I do realise that there are publications where graphics are not yet well produced in ebook form. OK, a case for that particular treebook. In terms of black on white, sheer word delivery, though, the ebook has it. N
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:35 AM   #9
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Yeah ... Slite ... the smell of books. Try a soft leather cover for your reader and you get the look, the feel AND the smell of the highest quality hardback possible (and you don't need two hands to hold it). As for availability of titles, Panda -- how many titles does your local high street bookstore carry? Will they give you classics freeof charge or promise you the latest hot best seller within half an hour of release? IF you're ordering a treebook on line in the hot flush of enthusiasm, will the online store deliver it within the nexst two minutes? Gaurnim -- you're right, of course, but I tend not to read whilst scuba diving. Also, those who complain have glanced at readers, perhaps, but never given them time. Knee-jerk reporting. Ereaders are an acquired taste like Cognac and also Marmite sandwiches. There is only one thing to recommend treebooks ... you can use them to prop up a wobbly table. OK, two things, you can also throw them at the wall when they're trash ... much more satisfying than merely tapping the delete button, I guess. Neil
Ohhh never throw a dead tree book, no matter the provocation. This is a lesson I learnt many years ago when I threw a dead tree book at my dearly beloved. The book missed dearly beloved and hit the roller blind of our bedroom window (facing a somewhat busy road). Said roller blind flew upwards leaving me totally naked and visible to any who passed by. Mmm instant mortification with me dropping quickly behind the bed and rolling about in fits of hysterical laughter begging dearly beloved to rescue situation. Did nothing for the fact that I was deeply miffed at him for some, now, obscure reason.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:49 AM   #10
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Well, there you go, Sianon; just see the trouble treebooks can get you into -- assault and battery, vandalism, indecent exposure, destruction of public library property. I have faced none of these charges since investing in a PRS-505. Thank you for bringing to my attention even more factors in favour of ebook reading. Best wishes, and good luck to your husband. And I hope your analyst might see you through the trauma of the treebook embarrassment of cowering, naked behind the bed whilst passers-by rubber-necked to see what you were reading. A dreaful experience. And, no doubt, you were on the closing pages of the last chapter. I've not been there, but I can imagine the horror and sympathise heart and soul. Neil
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:52 AM   #11
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I don't think it's a question of either pbooks or ebooks.
Sometimes the pbook is better than an ebook version, and sometimes it's the other way round.
I wouldn't yet opt for the ebook version of an art book for example.
I agree, some books are just not made for ebooks. But would you take that large artbook with you in the bathtub? Or curl around it in bed or a sofa?

And to those that complain you can't read an ebook in bath? They are wrong. I've been reading my PDA (which was more expensive than my Mini) in the bathtub for as long as I have it. And I don't use a watertight casing either. Just don't drop it in the water and dry your hands before reading. But, wouldn't you do the same with a book?

Actually, I rather read on my electronic book than on my paper book while in the tub. I can put my other hand in the water as I only need one hand to read...


My advice: tell them their loss, and turn away.


I even made pictures of my cat, once, as I was soaking in the tub... My PDA has a camera built in and the cat was fishing for my toes...
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:55 AM   #12
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I was chatting with someone about the Kindle once, and their response, having read a couple of pages from it was:
Quote:
Naaa. It's too complicated. Books are much easier to use.
I've yet to work out the correct response to that.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:01 AM   #13
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I was chatting with someone about the Kindle once, and their response, having read a couple of pages from it was:

I've yet to work out the correct response to that.
"Begone troglodyte!" could be one response
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:17 AM   #14
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The people who annoy the crap out of me are the ones who can't even articulate what they don't like about ebooks. "I just don't think I would like that."

"Why?"

"I just don't think I would."

What the hell do you say to that? I think the physical violence that has been suggested is the only reasonable response.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:30 AM   #15
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Talking about 'complicated', you chaps and chappesses ever seen this clip about the medieval help desk? Great fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIuFfxg9saE
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