E-books are extra than simply digital facsimiles, and publishers want to comprehend that, pronto
Amazon’s Kindle, and its much less fashionable e-reader brethren, are nice for fiction, however making an attempt to eat content material that isn’t meant to be loved from cowl to cowl is an train in annoyance, frustration and distress. That’s a disgrace, as a result of it doesn’t need to be that approach.
Take journey books for instance. When trekking throughout the globe, lugging round 4-and-a-half kilos value of information books is an utter ache within the arse. Loading a shelf’s value of journey books onto an e-reader makes much more sense.
“E-books for the win,” I hear you whisper. However alas, the problem isn’t the load, however relatively the best way vacationers use information books. When on the street, you’ll eternally end up flipping between overview maps, native maps, the “what to do” part for the place you’re, the “the place to remain” part for the place you’re going, the “I’m hungry however we’re operating not on time so we aren’t the place we deliberate to be” pages and the “oh no, any person nicked my passport, now what the hell do I do?” chapter.
Paper books are fairly good at what they do
It isn’t actually e-books’ fault that they’re sometimes irritating. It seems that bodily paper books even have a tremendously environment friendly consumer interface. You should use fingers or Publish-it notes as bookmarks and flip forwards and backwards between sections quicker than you’ll be able to with another know-how. You possibly can write notes within the margin. You’ll be able to circle, spotlight and rip out pages if you would like. You may even do what a pal of mine did in an effort to save lots of weight: minimize aside half a dozen Lonely Planet guides and gaffer-tape them again collectively right into a custom-made journey itinerary.
When studying fiction, an e-reader can utterly exchange the paperback.
There are different ebook varieties which have comparable problems with non-linearity. I just lately discovered myself wanting into going again to high school and doing a GRE. The official information is the No. eight greatest-vendor in its class, however is worse than ineffective as a research information. The guide is filled with helpful info, however the Kindle model is completely, completely unusable. The formatting is damaged, positive, however that’s the least of its issues.
The ebook refers to issues like “see web page 29 for the scoring,” ignoring that the majority e-readers haven’t any idea of web page numbers. The one factor that together with these type of cross-references accomplishes is to inform the reader that they purchased the incorrect version of this ebook: “For those who had purchased the paper guide, that is the place we might offer you some helpful info. As an alternative, properly, right here — have a reference that’s completely ineffective to you.”
One other face-palm second pertains to the pattern questions and solutions. They’re separated within the guide, however there’s no shortcut/hyperlink between them. That’s simply dumb. In consequence, you’ll end up clicking again 25 occasions to re-learn the query, then ahead 25 occasions to learn the reply. Or realistically, you end up not doing that, and as an alternative sighing, reaching on your telephone and googling “methods to get a refund for a Kindle e-book.”
Not utilizing e-e-book tech is a horrible waste
Even when the writer wasn’t conscious of the potential of utilizing the sensible tech obtainable to e-e-book publishers (which could simply be an evidence, however a really embarrassing one at that), there are different methods of avoiding the difficulty. Within the case of the query/reply, for instance, merely repeating the query can be an answer: It’s not like they’re going to incur additional printing prices or run out of area in an e-guide.
For the “see web page 26 for extra details about X” problem, the writer might have stated “We’ll cowl X extra later on this ebook.” Not as helpful, however at the very least not actively antagonizing.
Some ebook varieties — and particularly ones masking graphics-heavy subjects comparable to images — don’t work properly on e-ink readers.
In leveling critique at publishers, I don’t even stroll away scot-free myself. Fairly a couple of of my very own books can be found as e-books, and my greatest-promoting e-book (The Guidelines of Images and When to Break Them) might be the dumbest instance of all. As you may think from its title, it is filled with pictures. A Kindle version exists, nevertheless it merely doesn’t make sense: The ebook is closely based mostly on examples, and making an attempt to get a deal with on the core ideas of the guide on a black-and-white gadget goes to be an train in futility.
Publishers: adapt or perish
The reality is that e-ink books are nice for sure issues. E-readers are good for taking fiction on vacation with you: You possibly can carry a library’s value of books on a tool that has weeks of battery life. And, as a bonus, no one can see that you simply’re studying Fifty Shades of Gray. Good.
The know-how constructed into the e-readers is maturing quickly. Highlighting, bookmarking and coping with footnotes, finish notes and cross-referencing is all normal. The most important change from 5 years in the past is that I can now see myself studying educational works on e-readers with out main issues.
General, the know-how is there. Utilizing platforms such because the iBooks Writer or Amazon’s personal publishing guides, there’s a whole lot of know-how and options out there to publishers — a lot of which could be very not often used. And that, women and gents, is a tiny tragedy.
Kindle is ideal for vacationers on the go — however publishers have to embrace the know-how.
For different makes use of, reminiscent of journey guides and books that depend on graphics and images, customized apps or (gasp) web sites might be a much better answer. For some vacationers, one thing like TripAdvisor or Foursquare may work properly, however each these apps depend on all the time-on Web connections, and for a lot of vacationers, not being related is both a part of the attract of journey or a technological/monetary necessity.
Having stated all that, bringing journey guides to telephones and tablets would make a number of sense. Along with lovely retina colour shows, most moveable units have GPS, cameras and a ton of options that make them higher suited to the duty at hand.
Finally, know-how will march on, and each e-ink, e-ebook and different publishing applied sciences will proceed getting higher. Within the meantime, if publishing needs to outlive as an business, they might be properly suggested to not maintain publishing un-tailored digital variations of wooden-pulp books. If this continues to occur, the most effective-case state of affairs is the readership tolerates being patronized — however extra realistically, readers will make a psychological observe by no means to purchase journey guides, educational books or images titles on e-readers once more.
Publishers, if you wish to keep in enterprise, cease conning your readers out of cash, and as an alternative embrace some great benefits of e-ebook applied sciences. Singeing your clients with disappointment for a number of dollars of brief-time period revenue merely isn’t value it.