Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Great book leads to e-book quandary

Normally, reading gives me immense pleasure. But thanks to the competing e-book formats on the market, I'm getting the exact opposite of pleasure (Pain? Agony? Glenn Beck?) trying to solve a reading-related quandry.

I read a review about this great book The Other Wes Moore : One Name, Two Fates. The synopsis from Barnes and Noble.com: Two kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same decaying city within a year of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.

The story looks at how, despite the similar backgrounds, critical decision points and adult influences in each young man's life ultimately lead them to their wildly divergent current positions. As the mom of a Black son, I'm fascinated to read about these young men and how they and their families successfully and unsuccessfully navigate the difficult influences of modern urban living.

But the book isn't available in the e-book format I want for perusing on my phone (Mobipocket) at a good price. It's the same price as hardback! Or it's available in the proprietary e-book formats of Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook reader or an iPad/iPhone reader for $10-$12 less. But I don't have any of those devices! Aaargh: I feel like I'm back in the days of Betamax vs. VHS vs. Blu-Ray vs. DVD.

I think it's a book I'll want to keep in perpetuity and refer back to or loan out, so I may have to spring for the hardcopy and the e-book for ease of reading right now (while putting the baby to bed at night). I know: so 2002, but necessary I guess.
How do you prefer to read these days? E-book or real book?


  1. I still read real books so would recommend getting a paper copy, ESP if you want to loan it out.

  2. Hard copy. Easy to share, easy to show a particular page or illustration without having to wait for the e-reader to boot up.

    Plus, if you lose your e-reader, do you lose all your books? At least with the hard copy, you lose just that one book.

  3. Good points! I think you're right: I've got to get at least one hard copy, even though it makes it harder to find time to read that way. It's like hard copy books are embedded with tiny homing beacons that call toddlers and babies from every corner of the house. Which is of course great when I'm reading One Fish, Two Fish. Not so much when it's more mature fare.