What I Miss from Paper and What I Want from Ebooks
9/30/2011 By: Bob Sprankle
I’ve been reading entirely with ebooks for about nine
months without touching paper. Ebooks are great . . . but
there are things I miss from paper books, and things that
I still want from ebooks that have yet to come to fruition.
Here’s what I miss about paper books:
■ The smell of books.
■ The feel, the weight of books.
■ Being able to tell how far along I am in a book. This
is extremely hard to do—at least for me—when I see a
percentage at the bottom of the screen of my progress.
■ When I read my ebook in public, no one has any idea
of what I’m reading. Gone are the days when another
reader comes up to me in a café because he/she has
seen the book I’m reading and wants to connect over
■ Lending books, while “possible” requires
planning, compatible operating systems, and timeconstraints.
■ My bookshelf seems to have suffered an untimely
death, with no new books coming in to accompany
or replace the old books. I’ve got more
space in the house, for sure, but gone
are the days when a friend or my
wife or my daughter can peruse
my library and find something
of interest that is new.
Now for a list of things that I
still expect from ebooks:
■ Much more social networking.
I can see how
many people have highlighted
from the Kindle books
that I’m reading,
but where is the
with this shared
■ Why can’t I have the
“people” experience when
purchasing books? “Face-to-face” technology could
make personal interaction possible. For example,
wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the option of interacting
with other Amazon readers/shoppers with
similar reading interests?
■ Ebooks need to mirror the experience of the Web
in the sense that I can “link out” to other books or
experiences from within the book. Ebooks are definitely
moving in this direction, but truly seamless and
integrated experiences with other media are still in the
process of being realized.
■ And, finally, where is the “bonus-disc” material with
ebooks? Just as DVDs are being issued with out-takes,
interviews, extended/alternate versions, etc., ebooks
could easily be complemented with extras.
The possibilities and the identities of ebooks are still
being realized and I doubt we’re even close to understanding
their full potential.
What will you miss from paper books as ebooks
become more dominant? Leave your comment on
Bob’s post: http://tinyurl.com/3ktr8aq