Ebooks revisited

01Jan11

I can’t remember what year I learned about Project Gutenberg, but I decided to see how active the digital library/archive is. And they are active supporting ebook formats for everything from PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, and Android devices with over 30,000 books. Each record in Gutenberg has QR codes and links to Twitter. Very nifty.

I laugh at Kobo reader that is offering a 100 free classic books during Christmas rush, when most are copyright free and in the public domain. I have not done my comparison shopping but the majority, if not all, are likely available at Project Gutenberg.

As for my own experiment this holiday season, I tried reading Devil in the White City about murder and other lurid things at the Chicago World Fair in 1893. I was warned that it was a slow read in parts, and I honestly couldn’t get engaged in it. But one of my major frustrations was using the dictionary. I couldn’t get the hang of it. Each time I swiped across an unknown word, I ended turning a page instead. Also there was random underlined bits that be linked to other e-book version with links. That was distracting. But a main selling point or feature was a great big unabridged dictionary so I could click, open a new window and learn new words as I came across it. I did not open user manual as I was being smarty pants and possibly arrogant, as I thought using the dictionary should be intuitive. Dear readers, if you consult manuals regularly, let me know as I would be curious. I think good user design or user interface would not require me to read the manual.

At this point not in love the Sony eReader but that may change down the road. Until then I wait on sidelines for better design.

- Brenda




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