Monday, 12 November 2012

eBooks: One research student's view

eBooks - the killer app for handheld learning? Gareth Johnson laments the plight of those who read eBooks on the big screen - but he doesn't want to buy a dedicated eBook reader, or be tied down by the DRM of Death on the Kindle or iBooks. So here's the view from the desktop:

Gareth Johnson My thanks to Alan for asking me to produce something on eBooks for this blog, doubtless as a result of my recent post on my own blog. I'm talking primarily about books that I'm accessing from various libraries, rather than eBooks that I own. Since I don't own (and don't intend to own) a portable eReader, personally purchased eBooks are not of any interest to me. I guess my experience in reading eBooks is a bit different from anyone just reading chunks of a work, or seeking to read for pleasure. I'm reading a lot of entire books at the moment to broaden and develop my subject field knowledge. And because libraries increasingly want to save money on shelving space and re-shelving staff the eBook is a sexy prospect for them; but one that I would argue significantly diminishes the experience of the serious scholar.

Anyway between my previous post and the short film I've made, there's probably not a lot more to add - except to summarise what has been my experience to date:
  • Reading entire eBooks on a computer screen is painful
  • Publisher DRM heavy interfaces make the experience worse
  • Being unable to easily print or access a copy of the book off line is a pain
  • PDF is a more acceptable and intuitive format than most publisher interfaces

1 comment:

  1. I totally feel your pain where reading eBooks on a computer screen is concerned. I've had to read quite a lot of material on my PC this semester (since I'm, quite frankly, to stingy to print out all of it ;) ), and my eyes really punished me for it.

    The problem is that most of the material my university offers are pdf files, so reading them on a dedicated reader is pretty much out of the question because they look horrible.