Saturday, February 19, 2011

eBooks and eReaders

The NEW greatest product of the last few years has been eReaders and tablets.  We had digital pictures, movies, and music for years, but we have only had proper eBooks (not pdf's) for a couple years.  No one thought to put a book in a computer. We built huge libraries and databases to catalog those books, and  NO ONE said "Hey, we should stop buying these big things and just get a digital copy." I do not like to read text books (most people don't), and an eReader will put all those books in one place. Plus, I can get them instantly.  Here is another reason eBooks are better than normal books, if you read books that have citations (which must text books do), all the citation links work on the eReader, so you can read what the author read.  Kindle software also allows you to change font size and background color, so you can adjust settings to your level of comfort.  The other type of eBook I am familiar with is a .pdf ., which is not really an eBook, but they are the de facto standard for many publications.  On an eReader, the pdfs are a little harder to work with, as there is no way to change the look and feel of the pdf.  Currently, I have 4 Amazon Kindle books and 3 .pdf style books (I'm just starting down this road). They all work very well and I intend to purchase more.  The original reason I wanted a an eReader is that, as a Master's student, one ends up buying lots of books, many of which you may choose not to sell back because they contain information that is important to keep. Or you can't sell back because the book store does not want that book.  eBooks are cheaper than the real thing (10-50% cheaper),  and, to top it all off, they are better for the environment since there are no production and distribution costs.

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