White Paper vs. Paperwhite: Evaluating the Ebook Experience

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 16:00:15 +0000

There are certain things that you just don’t say around publishing people. One of those things you don’t say is that cats smell. I learned this one the hard way a few months ago.

JK cats don't smell

Curriculum directors take note.

And when everyone gets into a romantic discussion about the odor of the stacks in an aged library or the tingle in one’s spine as they crack a new hardback. Well . . . you better not say, “Meh.”

While many are attached to the idea of the printed word, there are plenty of other people who are enthusiastic about the progression of new entertainment technologies. Since the debut of the first generation Kindle almost ten years ago, this progression has included an unignorable emphasis on ebooks.

Setting aside loyalties to the printed page for just a minute, let’s take a measured look at some of the perks of ereading.

  1. Ebooks can go with you anywhere. Whether it is in the Kindle format, Apple iBooks, or another file type, you can bring an ebook wherever you can bring a smartphone or tablet. Some prefer using ereaders, but apps now allow you to download your books as offline content and enjoy the exploits of your favorite characters even when the train is halfway through the tunnel and unable to connect to wifi . . . or even 3G!
  2. Adjustable accessibility. Is your grandparent reading their old western novels or cozy mysteries on a digital tablet these days instead of watching Wheel of Fortune reruns? They must have a really cool grandchild who showed them how easy ereaders are to use! Most ereaders have functions that allow one to adjust type size of the type in the books they’re reading. Ereaders can provide greater accessibility than print books for people who need visual assistance or for those whose hands may not be able to hold open hundreds of tightly bound pages. Size is adjustable for ebooks’ reflowable type, and tablets lay flat, making reading a matter of simply propping up a book in the right way and enjoying.
  3. Just-cuz customizing. Does reading Georgia font remind you of a control-freak former employer that forced you to use that typeface for each memo? There’s no need for you to cringe through an entire book that elicits that uncomfortable memory. With most ebooks, you can just switch to Cambria, Times New Roman, or even a sans-serif font like Calibri or Helvetica. Did one of your characters use a scathing comeback you’d like to remember to use on that scamp in the apartment across the hall? Ereaders permit highlighting and can store your annotations for later in an easily reachable window.
  4. Private reading can now occur in public.We have video proof that people will judge your book by its cover when you read in public (caution: VIDEO IS SLIGHTLY NAUGHTY). With ebooks, however, nobody will be able to see which book you are reading unless they’re hovering over your shoulder. And if that’s the case, they’re the ones who are snooping and should be embarrassed. Right?

In a world where so many bury their faces in their phones, books provide alternatives in more ways than one. A printed book will always be available to draw total and complete focus and anchor you to the physical world through its scent and the feel of its pages. Your smartphone or tablet, however, can also deliver your self-selected content to you. So while you’re stuck in line at the post office or crammed into a rush-hour train car, you can transcend the usual social media clickbait and catch up with an old favorite or an intriguing new tome.

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