Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Handling books

A woman said to me yesterday that she has arthritic hands and has trouble holding and using a large book.  I advised her to get a Kindle.  I think the Barnes and Noble ereader Nook and the Japanese ereader Kobo are quite possibly very good ones, too.  I have seen an article or two in Google News, my main source for what is happening, lately emphasizing the feeling of some young people that large paper books are more fun, more emphatically brainy and easier to highlight and flip back and forth in.

I am quite happy using Kindle readers and am still amazed at the technology that can allow me to shop for books while moving in a car or train.  I grant that no sensible person really needs to shop for books at such times but it is still fascinating to me.  I think Amazon does a good job at getting books converted into a good electronic form.  Such form includes the cover, the title page, the copyright page, the table of contents, the text, the index and any notes and references.  All of that in eform can be found, marked, highlighted, copied and re-found.  The type can be resized from very small to very large.  The display can be black letters on a white background or the reverse.  Such changes can be very important if a person has eyesight limitations.

Kindle readers can easily hold hundreds of books.  Sometimes, that is a distraction, knowing that you could switch to any one of the others but sometimes it is a comfort or just handy.  

With any tablet, smartphone, Kindle ereader or computer, you can read any book you have purchased.  There is such a thing as a download limit so if you download an item from your archives more than the limit, you will have to delete the item from something else or buy another copy.  However, the base price of an ebook is still $9.99 and another copy would usually not be very expensive.  If you and someone else uses readers connected to the same account, any book purchased for one of the readers can be read on the other readers.

Besides price, convenience and speed, there is the matter of physical weight, storage and dusting.  Paper books are heavy and take up space.  Electronic versions of books take up virtually no space and never need dusting.

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