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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Which Format Is Best?

I've said before I get a lot of my knowledge from reading. I also get a lot of entertainment from reading as well. My main dilemma right now is figuring out which format is best. Should I get an e-book, audio book, or a printed and bound version? This is not an easy question to answer but I feel the copyright laws have a lot to do with the problem in making that decision.

Warning, the following paragraph is a personal rant, feel free to jump to the next one.

An author writes a book and expects that he/she should be paid for their efforts and  agree. But the question is how many times should they get paid for it? If 100 people enjoy their book then they should get paid 100 times for it. Now when I go and buy a book I can read that book as many times as I want for my entire life and never have to pay for it again. I have paid my fees and own the right to enjoy that book. My question is why should I have to pay again if I want to listen to that book? Oh you could say in that case you're not paying for the book again as much as paying the person that read it to you and those that recorded, engineered, produced, it etc. and to some extent you're right. What about an e-book version of the book? Why pay extra and sometimes even more for a version that is already created when the book is prepared for printing?


Now, back to the original question. Which version is best? Printed and bound copies can and eventually will wear out and they take a lot of space especially for someone that that is trying to eliminate clutter, but there's just something about having a book in your hand and turning the pages. E-book versions won't wear out and you still hold the reader in your hand like a book, but it's not a question of if technology will fail, but when. It always fails eventually and I have the stack of hard drives to prove it. Audio books are in a class of themselves. I can't see listening to how to maintain a diesel generator for entertainment and when I need to do the job, I need to be able to jump around and reference it. But when you want to listen to some entertainment and music isn't getting it there's nothing like a good story to get you where you want to go. I especially like the versions from Graphic Audio because they're not just read but are full productions like the old time radio programs with multiple voices and sound effects. Their tagline is A Movie In Your Mind and it's true. I must have listened to Jerry Ahern's Survivalist series a hundred times and they just release the final book which I need to get.

Personally I would like to have an e-book and printed version of every book I have just for the options, but since I currently have about seven thousand e-books not including the technical and magazines, That's just not an option. Magazines themselves are another issue. I love reading a magazine and I think the reason is with my ADD they are always something different.

My advice is get an e-reader and start building a collection. Don't forget all the free books available on the internet. I'm not advocating breaking copyright laws, but I believe if someone buys an e-book and doesn't like or want it they have every right to give it away just like a printed copy. You definitely will want to get a copy of calibre to manage the collection or it can get out of hand really quick.

If you like printed books, keep an eye on sites like craigslist and watch for free or bargain buys.

1 comment:

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