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

  • Black widows slip lax biosecurity web
    The discovery of black widow spiders in imported grapes highlights once again the Government’s lax attitude to biosecurity risks, Labour’s Primary Industries and Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI officials are trying to talk down the find, saying the spiders… ...
    30 mins ago
  • Census puts numbers on Nats’ callous indifference to housing crisis
    Just-released census data has revealed the human cost of National’s housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The census shows more than 20,000 people homeless and living in dodgy and temporary shelter: boarding houses, motor camps, caravans and cars,… ...
    2 hours ago
  • Child abuse stats reveal tragic truth
    The Government has scored an own goal with its report card on Better Public Service Targets only highlighting its failure to tackle child abuse, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “One of National’s top 10 goals, set out in a… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Minister, failure to plan is planning to fail
    Climate Change Minister Tim Groser must immediately set a clear carbon budget if he wants to have any chance of meeting the emission reductions he has announced, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “National’s dirty little secret is that… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Confidence slumps in Auckland
    Auckland has joined the rest of the country in seeing a major slump in business confidence, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “This proves that in spite of the housing bubble, the city is not immune from nervousness about the… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Government has no credible climate change plan
    Today’s announced climate change target falls short of the ambition required to meet even our existing targets, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “The target announced today amounts to a decrease of only 11 per cent from 1990 levels. This… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Auckland house prices now 10 times incomes
    Auckland house prices have risen so steeply the typical house in our biggest city now costs 10 times the median Auckland household income, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Barfoot and Thompson reports the median house sale price in June… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time for economic spin is over
     Business confidence in the latest NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion falling to its lowest level in three years is yet another warning of a staggering economy that cannot be ignored, says Labour's leader Andrew Little.   “This comes on the back of dairy prices falling… ...
    1 day ago
  • Bullying contributes to Auckland being stripped of ICU training
    Complaints of bullying and harassment by supervisors which have contributed to Auckland’s critical care department losing its training accreditation are further evidence of the appalling culture at executive level, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The department had its accreditation… ...
    4 days ago
  • Broadband failure sucks up more cash
    The Commerce Committee has blocked an inquiry into the $300 million rural broadband initiative (RBI) despite mounting evidence it’s a massive policy failure and waste of money, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “The Government is about to spend an… ...
    5 days ago
  • TISA – Another secret trade deal you may never have heard of
      This post first appeared on The Daily Blog You’ve probably heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by now and the widespread concerns around it but what about the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) also being currently negotiated by… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    5 days ago
  • Health chickens coming home to roost as Dunedin loses right to train doctor...
    News today that Dunedin Hospital has lost orthopaedic training accreditation is a major blow and proves the Government’s prevarication is having devastating consequences, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Losing orthopaedic advanced training is serious. There is a knock on… ...
    6 days ago
  • $74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control
    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    6 days ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    6 days ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    6 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    6 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    6 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    6 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    7 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    7 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    7 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    7 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    1 week ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    1 week ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    1 week ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere