eBooks, eBooks everywhere
Posted by selinalock on 22 October, 2010
eBook discussion are popping up in all areas of my life at the moment, from print vs e on the British Fantasy Society forum, the new Doctor Who book by Michael Moorcock being available on the Kindle, to creating comics for the iPhone/Pad, to students asking about them in inductions, to many friends having just bought Kindles or iPads… so a very hot topic, particularly since the Kindle came down in price recently.
I was kindly allowed to gatecrash the CULN eBook & eReader session being run by the BDRA last week. so, here’s a few thoughts from that session and other things I’ve been reading:
- What is an eBook? A document that can be read on an eReader?
- How do you read an eBook?
- Via computers, laptops, dedicated readers (Kindle, Sony eReader), iPad, iPhone, iTouch? Many different routes, some of which require the eBooks in certain formats.
- There is now a Kindle app for non-Kindle devices to allow people to buy ebooks from Amazon.
- eBooks formats: libraries still bound by publishers to use password/IP restricted sites, especially for textbooks, which only allow students to read the texts online rather than download them to their own devices. The students are generally not impressed with this, nor the copyright restrictions that mean they can’t print much off either…
- PDF – the favourite of academic journal publishers and still very popular with other publishers as an easy format for them to provide, but not a format that works well on dedicated eReaders.
- Doc (word docs), txt (plain text), html.
- Mobi (Mobipocket) format – used by the Kindle.
- ePub format – used by Sony.
- Why use an eReader instead of a laptop/ipad etc? eReaders like the Kindle and Sony use electronic paper technology, which mimics what ink looks like on paper. The theory being that tis makes is much easier to read the text and easier on the eyes. (Friends with a Kindle have commented they find it much easier to read than a computer screen).
- Computer screens are backlit making them much brighter, and possibly causing more eye strain. Are younger readers more used to this technology?
- Formats like Mobi and ePub are also designed to resize easily to the size of the device and reader requirements than traditional formats.
- it is very easy to convert a Word document to various eBook formats using free software like calibre. (We have a go, it really is easy!). Calibre can also act as an eBook file organiser. e.g. inplace of iTunes on the Sony eReader.
- Public libraries in the USA and Hampshire Libraries in the Uk have started experimenting with loaning eBooks using the Overdrive system. However, the Publishers Association have just announced new restrictions that look set to put a stop to a lot of eBook lending options!!
- Lots of free (mainly out of copyright or creative commons) eBooks out there on services such as Project Gutenberg, Feedbooks and Manybooks.
- Amazon have a new feature on all their book pages that allows you to ”Tell the publisher, I’d like this book on the Kindle” – is this where the pressure for eBooks will come from in future?
- Also a very interesting piece by SF&F writer Charles Stross on why eBooks don’t cost much less to produce than printed books.
I’m sure there’s been lots more stuff out there that I’ve forgotten, anyone?