web analytics

The problems of pBooks

Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, January 13th, 2012 - 30 comments
Categories: humour, parody - Tags:

This morning my iPad was drained of power because I’d left a charger in a hotel in Dunedin at New Years so didn’t have one by the bed*. So for the first time in a month I reached into the vast numbers of books that litter our shelves. I was curious because I’d recently read and resonated with Ken Perrot’s post on pBooks at Open Parachute.

People talk about the attraction of a pBook’s smell. Can’t say I noticed that. But I was frustrated that my habit of checking the meaning of new words with a simple click to a loaded dictionary was not available. It is so much more effort to take a dictionary down off a bookshelf and look a word up. I see this will also be a hassle with footnotes and endnotes in more technical books.

I agree with him and he also put up a great video on the support problems of pBooks.


Apart from the usability issues you also have to consider the bulk of the thousands of books on our shelves. We’re moving in a month so I can get a larger home working space (and room for more screens). That means I’m going to have start raiding the local supermarkets again for boxes to transport these bulky information sources with. Selecting a new residence when in the possession of large numbers of pBooks has the additional complication of finding one with enough bookshelf space or walls to drop book cases on. It was bad enough when I had an entire corridor of my apartment lined with them. Then Lyn brought all her books in to increase the wallspace required. And then there is the aesthetics of having mismatched book sizes and clashing spine colours in our living areas…

The hundreds of books and short stories on Calibre on my  computer, and with other copies on my cell phone and pad, move with ease. Now all we have to do is get the batteries better and reduce the power consumption…..

* After having dinner with my parents and a horde of family in a raucous bedlam I wasn’t going to sleep. So I was playing Civ Rev in bed in the dark last night after reading the pad. It was too much effort going downstairs to plug the pad into a computer to power up when I finally did fall asleep.

30 comments on “The problems of pBooks”

  1. tc 1

    I still find pBooks better on the eyes than a screen after all day on computers as it’s rather more soothing than a screen, no matter how high def it is.

    You find they also come back up alot quicker when they go down and make much better door stops.

    • lprent 1.1

      My best door stop from many years was a full height SCSI 1GB drive from the early 90’s after it died. Nice compact and very very solid and weighty. Ummm a bit like this one

      It beat the hell out of my previous one – a tome called “After the Australopithenes” which was somewhat bigger but nowhere near the same density.

      There are better door stops than pBooks.

  2. ianmac 2

    The bookcase above is magnificent. I enlarged it so I could see how a whole new world operates. Intriguing. My own overcrowded bookcase looks just like it but has no gremlins that I can see – so far.

  3. Rich 3

    I’m thinking about having sliding stacks in my new home. I’ve been reading Kapital online and am unimpressed with the ease of use – then again, it might be Mr Marx’s turgid prose – chapter I in bullet points:
    – things have value
    – different kinds of things have different per-quantity values
    – you can express the value of one sort of thing as being a different quantity of another thing

  4. prism 4

    Great vide clip. Looking up a physical dictionary is good value though, you go for one word and get others around it as well. Like mosque and mosquito – humorous people can build a whole skit out of that.
    An intriguing bookcase too. I also have numerous books to which I am attached (invisibly). I now have a copy of Adam Smith on CD – this is a new way for me to gather info. – while I am doing the chores (the mindless ones).

    • and great for scrabble too – the dictionary that is. We’ve been having major scrabble sessions over the hollys and what a game it is. I’ve learned many new words and not just the ‘Qi’s’ either. Yes sure you can look up the word via the smartphone but the satisfying thump of closing the dictionary after a word has been confirmed cannot be equalled IMO because so many senses are acivated at that moment.

  5. Populuxe1 5

    The great thing about pBooks is that no one can control who you give it to, and no one can alter the contents. Also the tactile pleasures of turning a page cannot be ignored.

    • Descendant Of Smith 5.1

      Last time I moved towns about six and a half thousand books had to go – it’s quite cool that I can now get them back as e-books without the bulk.

      I’ve never been able to find a copy of The Dog Crusoe in a second -hand bookshop – one of my favourite childhood books – but it’s free electronically.

      Having built up a quite large collection again I’m thinking my fiction will probably be replaced over time electronically – less so for my non-fiction and rugby and cricket books.

      It seems a reasonable compromise for now that I’m comfortable with – that will also keep my wife happy who never understands why I have so many books.

      I do like the smell and physicality of books though.

      While iPad has a bit more glare than Kindle etc it has colour so comics go well with it – it remains my favoured e-option.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      If we were being rational about it then all books would be digitised and be available to read by everyone world wide. None of this DRM BS. There is absolutely no reason any more for people to own books.

      • Vicky32 5.2.1

        There is absolutely no reason any more for people to own books.

        I disagree! For one thing, I don’t like reading off a screen – and I can’t see that changing even if I had a tablet or an e-reader. You can’t comfortably curl up in bed with a screen, or scribble marginalia.. Having and reading physical books is very satisfying sensually!

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1

          You can’t comfortably curl up in bed with a screen, or scribble marginalia..

          Actually, you can.

          • marty mars 5.2.1.1.1

            I think vicky32 is talking about humans D 🙂

          • Vicky32 5.2.1.1.2

            Actually, you can.

            Really? 🙂
            If I had an e-reader, there is still aun irreducible minimum of pbooks that I would want to keep… Although I like the idea of going mimilalist and having less clutter…

      • marty mars 5.2.2

        what happens when the power ceases?

        I agree with vicky32 – there is a sensuality with books that digital just cannot achieve. A tactile pleasure hard-wired into us – maybe it reminds us of checking to see if the fruit is ripe.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.1

          Power won’t cease as it’s not a technology that we will lose.

          • marty mars 5.2.2.1.1

            perhaps and maybe

            nice to see you being optimistic

            • Colonial Viper 5.2.2.1.1.1

              That’s for NZ. In a lot of places power is going to be a major problem.

              BTW there is absolutely no room in this future for optimists or pessimists. That shit will get us killed.

      • John D 5.2.3

        and therefore book authors work for free? and musicians too?

        I am all in favour of easy access to media, but how do the creators of such work get paid?

  6. randal 6

    the ideal would be to have the facility to print out an e-book if so desired.
    otherwise it is great to have acces to books that were stolen immediately from the public library such as “The Secrets of the Temple” by William Grieder.
    by right wingers of course.
    this book is an explaration of how the reagan white house and the federal reserve smashed the american economy in the 80’s.
    its essential insights are still relevant today as the world is in a comparable state of deflation and asset theft by right wing technocrats who know how to work the system.
    see the poal debacle.

  7. Sanctuary 7

    I have an iPad and a kindle. I used them initially for books, but now I have gone back to buying real books for stuff that I actually want to absorb. iPads and Kindles are fantastic for comics (brilliant for comics actuially), magazines, the internet, email, all that stuff. My iPad has a 3G connection as well, and it has also replaced my Wises guide.

    But you can’t read an e-reader in the bath (my favourite refuge of contemplation) or dog ear important pages, or scribble notes in the margin, or use a highlighter to mark pages with significant quotes. You can’t hold your place whilst flicking back a few pages quickly using an e-reader.

    So I wouldn’t be without my iPad ever, but for serious stuff the technology of the first century AD (the codex book) is still the hot dog on my street – which shows just what a revolutionary and advanced invention it actually was 2000 years ago.

  8. Ms X 8

    How do you lend someone an ebook? I know they can buy/download it for themselves, but for me there is nothing nicer than sharing a book with a friend who will appreciate it. Seems more personal to me.
    Am I missing something?

  9. Populuxe1 9

    Books furnish a room, from leather-bound antiques to garish paperback cover art. You don’t get that with an iBook – there’s none of the “thingness” of it. An iBook doesn’t really exist when it’s switched off, but a book is a thing of aesthetic beauty – a well-stocked bookshelf is a display of personal taste and learning.

  10. Populuxe1 10

    Actually, if anything, iBooks are the tools of Capitalism and authoritarian forces because it dramatically increases the ways that information can be controlled.

    • Descendant Of Smith 10.1

      No not really.

      If you wanted you can still print and read and share – so no worse off.

      You can if you wish access as many e-books as you like via the internet and anyone can publish / make available anything that is currently suppressed or not available in this country as an ebook or text.

      DRM isn’t a barrier in e-books any more than it is with music or movies unless you want it to be.

      The fact is that if you wished to get e-books without paying via a capitalist model you can in reality do so quite easily and with little fuss – it is much easier to avoid capitalism albeit via a capitalist invention – than it is to try and get hold of a real book that is not available here – even then you will need to use a capitalist system to obtain it e.g. shipping and mail and customs.

      It’s an enhancement not a backwards step.

      • Populuxe1 10.1.1

        But there’s nothing to stop me or anyone else altering that text before handing it on, just as – I suspect – it would be far easier for a dedicated group of hackers to eliminate the electronic version of a text from the web than it would be to track down and destroy every last printed version. I’m simply arguing for the contingency of respecting the paper book over fanboy presentism. Right now Canterbury University is ditching much of its real book collection in favour of electronic versions covered in various restrictions and full of technical issues that make me really hate using them – I think it’s one of the shittiest things a university can do (for instance, it’s very difficult to casually browse iBooks as you might a real bookshelf).
        Some links to consider:
        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203893404577098343417771160.html
        http://cardiffbookhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/interview-robert-darnton/
        I also fear the loss to historical archives represented by email
         

        • Populuxe1 10.1.1.1

          And of course the initial cost of a kindle or iPad is astronomical compared to buying a book or joining a public library

  11. Lanthanide 11

    eBooks can’t do this:

  12. Populuxe1 12

    Which would you rather accidentally drop on concrete, an eBook or a pBook?

  13. I was fortunate to get a Kindle for Christmas – I love it! I hate reading large documents on computers, but the e-ink screen is just fantastic. Add to that how cheap it is to buy a vast range off books off Amazon – it’s a winner!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government freezes elderly out of insulation subsidy
    Government cuts to the Warm Up New Zealand insulation subsidy means it will now only be available for rental properties and could leave many elderly homeowners cold this winter, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In this year’s Budget the Government ...
    12 hours ago
  • Shewan report delivers rebuke to National
    John Shewan’s report into foreign trusts is a rebuke to John Key and the National Party who have protected an industry that has damaged New Zealand’s reputation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Three years ago the Inland Revenue Department ...
    13 hours ago
  • Auckland Airport rail analysis must be made public
    The Government should publicly release its detailed analysis of rail to Auckland Airport before it closes off options, so the public can have an informed debate, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Transport Agency today said it is ...
    16 hours ago
  • Minister approved OIO consent despite death and investigations
    Louise Upston must say if she knew Intueri was being prosecuted for the death of a student and under a funding investigation when she approved its overseas investment consent to buy another education provider, says Labour’s Land Information and Associate ...
    2 days ago
  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    3 days ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    4 days ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    4 days ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    4 days ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    5 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    5 days ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    5 days ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    5 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    6 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    6 days ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    6 days ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    6 days ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    6 days ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    7 days ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    7 days ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    7 days ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    1 week ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    1 week ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    1 week ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    1 week ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    1 week ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    1 week ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Massey East houses a start but Nick Smith should think bigger
    The Massey East 196-home development is a start but the Government must think bigger if it is to end the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “It is great the Government is finally realising it needs to build ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More changes needed to ensure fewer cases like Teina Pora’s
    Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Labour sends condolences to UK
    The New Zealand Labour Party is sickened and saddened by the murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Ms Cox was killed in cold blood while simply doing her job as a constituent MP. She ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shameful refugee quota increase still leaves NZ at the bottom of the list
    Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota by 1000 places until 2018.  It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Paula Bennett as a victim hard to swallow
    The National Party spin machine has gone into overdrive to try and present Paula Bennett as the victim in the Te Puea Marae smear saga, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Bill English in Parliament today tried valiantly to paint ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Voters to have the final veto on paid parental leave
    New Zealanders will have the final right of veto on a Government that has ignored democracy and is out of touch with the pressures and demands on families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Today’s decision by National to veto 26 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Collins should put Kiwis’ money where her mouth is
    Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash is calling on anyone who has received a speeding ticket for going up to 5km/h over the 100km/hr open road speed limit to write to him and he will take it up on their behalf ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the leadership on equal pay for work of equal value?
    The gender pay gap in the public service is worse than in the private sector. I’ve always found this particularly galling because I expect our Government to provide an example to the private sector on things like human rights, rather ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis’ real disposable income goes nowhere for the year
    New Zealanders’ hard work for the last year resulted in no increase in real disposable income, showing Kiwis aren’t getting ahead under National, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Today’s GDP figures reveal that real gross national disposable income per ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pora case a case to learn from
    Conformation that Teina Pora will receive $2.5million from the Crown for more than 20 years of wrongful imprisonment does not fix the flaws in our system that led to this miscarriage of justice, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to start again with RMA changes
    The National Government’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act have attracted more than 800 submissions, many of them critical of key aspects of the Resource Legislation Bill. There has been much criticism of the new regulation making powers given ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • Bennett’s briefing completely unacceptable
    It is completely unacceptable that Paula Bennett briefed her political staff on the police investigation into Hurimoana Dennis after her meeting with him, despite it having nothing to do with her social housing portfolio, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to Green Building Council
    Building smarter, greener cities It will be clear to anyone who has been watching the public debate on the housing crisis that housing in New Zealand is sadly far from being economically sustainable when Auckland has the fourth most unaffordable ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere