On Electronic Books

e-books featured image

The good parts.

The convenience of the Kindle – of acquisition, of portability and storage – is undeniable.
From an online vendor, an entire book is mine to read, study and enjoy with one or two clicks. Through my local library, a few more clicks are required, but the mere idea of getting e-books on loan from the library holds enormous appeal.

The things I dislike about Kindles.

Loose lines due to justified text. This causes eye strain (on top of the eye strain of having to read on an electronic device). Users deserve more control over type in this regard. Not all publishers justify text, bless the ones that don’t.

My Kindles hold a lot of instructional texts, mostly on the subject of web design as well as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. These books are laced with critical diagrams and illustrations which occasionally, in portrait view on my Kindle Paperwhite, run off the edge of the page, and are frequently poor in contrast.

Web design books
A selection of the many design/development texts on my shelves.

For this reason, I often read heavily illustrated ebooks using my old, first generation Kindle Fire, or, I read a print edition.

Does not feel like a book. Period.

Enough said.

Digital Rights Management.

There has been much written on the subject of DRM and e readers – suffice it to say that I lean toward the Open Source side of the issue. Many e-books are offered in plain-old HyperText Markup Language and Cascading Style Sheets. This is a natural fit; HTML was meant for textual content from day one.

One could complain that many books are not available in an e-edition; I don’t go that far, after all, there are many books that never made it off of papyrus and on to paper-bound folios – we just can’t have it all.

I look forward to the continued development of the format; maybe one day an electronic book will be as beautiful, and the tactile experience as satisfyingly as it is with an actual book.

By Beau

Painter, designer (print and digital) since the twentieth century.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *