The Problem with Ebooks…

I love my phone.

I love my ereader.

I love my brand new tablet.

Quite frankly, I love being able to have lots of titles available to read whenever and wherever I happen to be.

(Even in the dark…)

I love that I can get titles from the library as long as I have an internet connection and the few minutes to find what I want from what’s available.

But there are two things that drive me nuts about ebooks.

1. There’s next to no way to tell exactly how long books are because everything is relative. You can see how much space the digital files will take up on your device, but page numbers? That’s dependent on the device you’re reading on. So even as you page through chapters, it will tell you the percentage of the chapter you have read or percentage of the book read.

It’s not going to tell you that you have completely fallen in love with a book that is over 400 pages long. Like Seraphina.

Which leads me to my next frustration:

2. There is no way to decide that it’s worth the hassle of the library fine to finish the book when the borrowing period is up. That’s because you don’t get an option. That protected file is going to expire when your borrowing period is up. And unless you were sneaky and didn’t tell all of your students about how incredibly awesome this book is and that they should go ahead and put it on their wishlists or on hold with the library immediately or unless your students don’t actually listen to you (not that there aren’t a zillion other people in our library system that don’t want to borrow the same book…because, let’s face it: it’s awesome)

Then you can’t even renew it for another 14 days.

So…here I am, making plans to stop at a library branch a good 30 miles from home to pick it up so I can find a way to finish this title this weekend.

(If it makes me sound a little less crazy, I’m also about 30 miles from home and will be until tomorrow so this library isn’t so far out of the way…)

I know others have different complaints about ebooks. Donalyn Miller wishes they smelled like books and felt like books. My dad was lamenting the fact that filing spatial memories of where to find anything in a digital book as we do not have the sense of three-dimensional space. While my students love that they are able to get instant gratification when they purchase ebooks, but they the copies are not much cheaper than paper copies and most of the time they cannot be shared.

I’ll go try to read as much as I can of Seraphina before it disappears from my reader or before I fall asleep – whichever happens first.

I’ll write some positives about ebooks tomorrow.


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