Print and Epub Versions of the Same Book: Socialnomics

Occasional mentions of downloadable books for electronic readers from my public libraries (GCCC Libraries) have passed in my tweet stream from one of my Twitter friends, librarian Kate Davis (@katiedavis). It was not until I received the email newsletter this week from the libraries that I realised how far the Overdrive service for ebooks (and audiobooks) had come (past services were limited in media types and range of devices). Effectively it heralds the start of a 24/7 library service for time-limited, electronic borrowings – the way of the future.

From the virtual library page we are told the range of media is the impressive:

  • Adobe® EPUB eBooks
  • Adobe® PDF eBooks
  • Mobipocket® eBooks
  • OverDrive WMA Audiobooks
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks
  • OverDrive Music

I immediately searched the epub/PDF catalogue which is understandably limited as it to be expected. Neverthe less I discovered quickly that Qualman’s Socialnomics title was available in epub format. Only a week previously I had tweeted my thanks to the library for ordering this same title for me in print. [Eric Qualman also tweeted me back.] What a coincidence! Another less significant coincidence is I already had Adobe Digital Editions installed on my PC, the recommended reader for the epub format of the ebook. For many months the free Digital Editions software has been my reader of choice for all my PDF documents, reports, papers, manuals and so on. This meant the download of the Socialnomics ebook was seamless and within less than a minute the book was on my PC screen – really great.

In a first for me I now have both the print and epub versions of the same book available while I am reading it. I can directly compare the two reading processes to see which I prefer. Since I don’t yet have a dedicated ebook reader capable of displaying epub format the comparison is between reading on my PC and the print form.

On the PC the usual huge advantages of ebooks become quickly apparent:

  • the links in the table of contents (always visible on the left in Digital Editions) take you straight to the major book sections
  • search takes you immediately to information you require (the index is no longer needed)
  • change the page and font size to suit you reading comfort
  • links in the text, footnotes, endnotes and so on all work
  • limited text copy allows for note taking

I quickly set up my netbooks and laptops to share the same ebook using the Adobe authorisation mechanism to its allowed limit of 5 devices. Netbooks extend the range of contexts for reading ebooks but of course are still not as convenient as dedicated ebook readers (and the printed book) in bed for example.

In the 48 hours of my print/ebook reading duality the ebook is winning. Both have to go back in 14 days when this first experiment will end and I will be able to report again.

I must give a big shoutout to Kate who I suspect had a really big part in bringing the beginnings of our local virtual 24/7 library to fruition. It will revolutionise reading habits.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

One Response to Print and Epub Versions of the Same Book: Socialnomics

  1. I took it on my trip to Crete, saw a woman reading a book I was interested in while waiting to board the plane, pulled out my Kindle, went to Kindle Store, bingo! I had the book before I had put my carryon away and fastened my seat belt.

    In Crete, decided to read another Kathy Reichs,thirty-seconds later I had the next in her series.

    Back home, sitting with my granddaughter Maddie, she asks if I can get a particular book on my kindle. ZAP! We have her book. Ooops. Grandma may have goofed. Now Maddie wants a Kindle. Mom and Dad are kind of leary about her having one. Maybe someone can explain how I could give her a Christmas Kindle with an expense account attached, as in up to forty dollars a month grandma covers, and all the others she pays for herself. (She’s only ten.) Any ideas out there?

    As a retired librarian of twenty-five years, I see a Kindle as an extension of my librarian philosophy: knowledge is power, knowledge is freedom. Kindle is a library in my pocket.

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