Call me old fashioned, but i just cannot see the attraction to eBooks.

Don’t get me wrong…the idea of digital books does have a coolness factor. Finally, a truly portable format! Save space on bookshelves! Searchable text! Electronic bookmarks! This is all cool stuff indeed.

Alas, I have no use for eBooks. Utilmately, when it comes time to actually read the text, I find the medium sorely lacking. I find it difficult to read stories on a computer monitor (or as HAHA calls it, a CRT) or even a PDA screen. The cool features such as searchable text and electronic bookmarks are worthless if I find the content hard to read. I just won’t bother.

And now today I came across this byline about a new innovation in eBooks. From the site:

The allure of reading a book in the Digital Web Book format is the almost tactile effect of 3D turning page transitions, which roll gently as if reading a traditional printed paper book. With the large, high quality computer screens found today in most homes and offices, the reading of eBooks is now a pleasure as opposed to the usual onerous task of struggling with awkward eBook reading devices and their often-buggy software.

I don’t know about you, but when I read from a book, the paper does not roll gently. And what kind of marketing nonsense is the “almost tactile effect of 3D turning page transitions”? Does it also come with the New Book Smell? Gimme a break. Digital reading is onerous no matter what cool features it sports.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: For me, there is value in holding a book.

And not just for reading. In some admittedly deranged way, a book is like a trophy to me. To be displayed on a shelf as a achievement. Look at me! I read that book! (Let’s pretend here that I have enough shelf space for the insane amount of books I buy, OK?)

The one good thing I can say about eBooks is that, in order to gain market acceptance, several sites offer free eBooks. Many are public domain stories but then there are others who provide fresh content. Science Fiction publisher Baen offers a free library of books founded on the belief that offereing it for free will actually increase sales (they publish the data to back it up, too).

And why do I think that free eBooks good? Because I can download them and print them out on good old fashioned paper.

Just the way I like it.

Filed under: Science and Technology

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