web analytics
The Standard

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

  • ANZ has moral obligation to fully compensate farmers
      The ANZ Bank has a moral obligation to fully compensate farmers after the High Court today declared it breached the Fair Trading Act by misleadingly representing interest rate swap loans, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. The Commerce… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Fairfax can’t use restructure to cut terms and conditions
    The restructure and upheavals at Fairfax should not be used as an opportunity to cut journalists’ terms and conditions, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Businesses have to adapt to new technologies and consumer demands and there is… ...
    13 hours ago
  • McCully excuses unravel in Saudi sheep scandal
    Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Nats break health and education spending promises
    National has outstanding promises of almost $1 billion to be spent on health, education and agriculture from the Future Investment Fund but has only $536 million left in the fund, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “John Key and Bill… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Manurewa youth leaders acknowledged
    The depth and breadth of leadership of youth throughout Manurewa, which has been recognized at the Youth Week Award ceremony held at Parliament this week, should make the community extremely proud, Manurewa Labour MP Louisa Wall says. “The 'Limitless Youth… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Oi Auckland Transport: fare’s fair
    Auckland Transport should go back to the drawing board on its proposal to charge commuters for its park-and-rides, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “When we need to be getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, it’s… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Is Nick Smith making it up as he goes along?
      Housing Minister Nick Smith must release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the Government’s Budget announcement, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “If the public is to have any faith the Government is not just… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Norway moves first to dump coal investments
    The Green Party today called on the Government to secure cross-party support to sell its investments in coal mining companies.The Norwegian Parliament's finance committee agreed in a bipartisan motion yesterday to instruct the $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund to sell… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    19 hours ago
  • Fonterra payout $13b black hole over 2 years
    Fonterra’s dramatic cut to its forecast farmgate payout over this season and next will lead to a $13 billion black hole over two years, and shows the need for a plan to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Labour calls for select ctte inquiry into Rural Broadband Initiative
    Labour is calling for an immediate inquiry into the flailing $300 million rural broadband initiative, before companies and consumers are forced to pick up the tab for the new $150 million broadband tax, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “Rural… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Public broadcasting takes big hit under National Government
    Public broadcasting funding has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms since the National Government took office in 2009, leading to the erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture, says Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. … ...
    21 hours ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another snag
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    1 day ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another sang
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle
    The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker. “The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature… ...
    2 days ago
  • McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal
    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.… ...
    2 days ago
  • National must back our future doctors
    National must support our future doctors and agree to the calls from the Medical Students’ Association and the Young Nats to lift the arbitrary 7 year cap on student loans for medical and dental students, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Taxpayer the loser after Government folds
    Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Govt’s lack of ambition for women
    Yesterday, the Government put out a media release entitled “Number of women leaders continues to grow”. It was to inform us that the percentage of women on state-appointed boards has increased to 41.7%, up from 41.1% in 2013. Well, woo-hoo… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council
    The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Reform – not money – needed for meat sector
    The National Government continues to throw good money after bad at the meat industry instead of addressing the fundamental problem of its dysfunctional structure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The latest Primary Growth Partnership grant to the venison… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government cuts corners on school bus funding
    The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding… ...
    2 days ago
  • Women the losers under National’s cuts
    National’s poor performance in appointing women to state sector boards is set to get worse with funding cuts to the nomination service provided by the Ministry for Women, Labour’s Woman’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Minister for Women Louise Upston… ...
    2 days ago
  • Help sought by agencies now asked to help
    The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson… ...
    2 days ago
  • Wellington got loud again on climate
    On Monday night, in Wellington, I attended the last of the Government’s climate target consultation meetings. It was quite well attended with maybe 150 people, not bad for a second meeting with very little notice and, as far as I… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    3 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    3 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    3 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    3 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    3 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    3 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    3 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    3 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    4 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    4 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    6 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    6 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    7 days ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    7 days ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    7 days ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    7 days ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    7 days ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    7 days ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    7 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    7 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    7 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    7 days ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere