E-books vs Paper?

St
Studio717
Posts: 376
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:27 pm
Location: California

Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:54 pm Post

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language comes in at a whopping 1842 pages. When I looked up the use of 'they' for another thread, I was so wishing I had a digital version, posterity be damned. :twisted: That behemoth is heavy!

I love all my books. I have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them. I did not like the moving bill the last time we moved. I did like that someone else was paying it. :wink: (But if we ever did have to pay it, many of the books would have to go.)

Ma
Maria
Posts: 614
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:47 am

Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:21 pm Post

Yes, Studio717 has an important point: Works of reference. I did not grasp my dictionaries from the shelves in the recent 2 years. Only digital dictionaries. Life has become so easy....

Maria

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20902
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:33 pm Post

This evening I was reading "Fix-It Duck" with my three year-old son. Nice thick card pages, all beautiful illustrations with simple text. That is where the digital book will fall down. There is just no way that a digital book can replace the whole bedtime routine of a child going and picking a book, sitting and turning the pages and getting the idea of left-to-right (in Western languages) sequencing and so forth. For us adults the physicality of a book may just be a luxury that can be compensated for with search fields and the ability to have a hundred books in your pocket. But for a young child, the physicality of a book is intrinsic to the whole excitement of reading and early understanding of text...
Best,
Keith

User avatar
alexwein
Posts: 1063
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:30 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Ashland, Oregon, USA
Contact:

Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:38 pm Post

Yeah, good point, Keith. Having no kids, I didn't think of this. But having BEEN one, I remember well that feeling of 'curling up' with a good book. Of that tactile aspect of it and the illustrations and the feeling of turning those huge pages (seemed huge at the time). I also have referred to curling up with a book twice in this post, at least twice I think, and that makes me think that my connection to paper books is tied up with those experiences I had as a kid. It's definitely a comfort thing, a tactile thing.

For reference material, I am completely in agreement with all those who want these in digital form. I've even gone so far as to scan entire books so I could have them on the computer and not have to lug them around and to have the always accessible.

But for anything with more profound personal meaning, like the works of Ramana Maharshi, or a really wonderful novel I can immerse myself in, it's gotta be a paper book! I don't like the environmental repercussions, however. Maybe they will start making books out of processed bamboo? Seems to be the latest 'green' product--fast growing, non-toxic, a very sustainable product. They are even making bamboo bed linens and they feel as soft and comfy as cotton. Or did someone mention this already?

Alexandria
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
-Chuck Close
http://alexandriapallas.com

Kh
Khadrelt
Posts: 361
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:22 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Utah, USA
Contact:

Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:59 pm Post

Maria wrote:I did not grasp my dictionaries from the shelves in the recent 2 years. Only digital dictionaries.


Funny, I have the exact opposite experience. The last thing I want to do while writing is switch to another program and look stuff up. I keep my dictionary/thesaurus/grammar/whatever books right next to my desk so I can quickly flip through them while I'm working.

I also prefer paper dictionaries because it's easier to search for a word when you don't know what the word is. Maybe other people don't experience this, but I'll find myself knowing that I need a word - I can't remember what it is, I only remember that it starts with 'D.' It's much easier to just scan the pages of a paper dictionary than type 'd' in a digital one and scroll down through the list. For me, anyway.

Online
User avatar
xiamenese
Posts: 4532
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:32 am
Platform: Mac
Location: London or Exeter, UK.

Sat Apr 21, 2007 2:26 am Post

Khadrelt wrote:
Maria wrote:I did not grasp my dictionaries from the shelves in the recent 2 years. Only digital dictionaries.


Funny, I have the exact opposite experience. The last thing I want to do while writing is switch to another program and look stuff up. I keep my dictionary/thesaurus/grammar/whatever books right next to my desk so I can quickly flip through them while I'm working.

I also prefer paper dictionaries because it's easier to search for a word when you don't know what the word is. Maybe other people don't experience this, but I'll find myself knowing that I need a word - I can't remember what it is, I only remember that it starts with 'D.' It's much easier to just scan the pages of a paper dictionary than type 'd' in a digital one and scroll down through the list. For me, anyway.

For me too, paper dictionaries win hands down ... maybe it's just a form of procrastination or something, but when you look something up in a paper dictionary, you get all the other information on the page, all the words that surround the one you're looking up. In my experience you don't get that on-line.

Here in China I have few books ... and only a Chinese-English and an English Chinese dictionary, so I have to use on-line English dictionaries. I have to say I don't enjoy the experience.

Mark

da
dafu
Posts: 564
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:33 am
Platform: Mac
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Sat Apr 21, 2007 2:46 am Post

Well, I have to say that when I need to do quick translations I love electronic dictionaries. It's so much better than throwing the monstrous paper slabs around. But when subtlety is required I much prefer paper because you see related words or the word "context." It seems to me it really should be quite easy for the digital dictionary makers to make context display an option.

Dave

Ma
Maria
Posts: 614
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:47 am

Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:29 am Post

Hi, your dictionary approach is astonishing for me personnally. When I remember myself sitting there with 7 or so dictionaries just to translate one simple word (Kanji-Japanese, Classical-Japanese - Modern Japanese, Modern Japanese - English, English - German, Terms for several disciplines), I got heavy arms just looking at it. I could have never been as productive as I was in the last 3 years with these tools. And how much do I appreciate these databases, that tell me binomial name of animals or plants we found in sites, their translation into English, their looks and habitat, and then I have a good basis to check whether all these translations in the normal dictionaries (paper or digital) are correct. It is a workflow that I did not dare dreaming of just a few years ago.

Otherwise, I prefer books on paper to stone inscriptions and texts on bamboo and wood. Yes.

Happy weekend,
Maria

St
Studio717
Posts: 376
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:27 pm
Location: California

Sat Apr 21, 2007 7:20 pm Post

I own two copies of those gigantic 2nd edition Webster's (even keep one out on my dictionary stand), one copy of the micro edition of the OED, and 17 other dictionaries (not counting my non-English ones).

But for a quick definition or to make sure I have the right word (I still have to look up discrete and discreet everytime), I do a right click and then choose "Look up in Dictionary." It's very handy and will often go a bit more into the definition and explain the differences (discrete and discreet are a good example).

A number of years ago, I even bought the OED on CD-ROM. (It's a pain in the *ss to use, though, and is Win-only.) Fortunately, today, I can look up words online through a subscription of my local public library. Very nice.

All of this is for non-specialized words, of course. My field, if you will, is history, so most of what I need can be found in regular dictionaries.

Online
User avatar
xiamenese
Posts: 4532
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:32 am
Platform: Mac
Location: London or Exeter, UK.

Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:52 am Post

Maria wrote:Hi, your dictionary approach is astonishing for me personnally. When I remember myself sitting there with 7 or so dictionaries just to translate one simple word (Kanji-Japanese, Classical-Japanese - Modern Japanese, Modern Japanese - English, English - German, Terms for several disciplines), I got heavy arms just looking at it. I could have never been as productive as I was in the last 3 years with these tools. And how much do I appreciate these databases, that tell me binomial name of animals or plants we found in sites, their translation into English, their looks and habitat, and then I have a good basis to check whether all these translations in the normal dictionaries (paper or digital) are correct. It is a workflow that I did not dare dreaming of just a few years ago.

Otherwise, I prefer books on paper to stone inscriptions and texts on bamboo and wood. Yes.

Happy weekend,
Maria

My intended point was not that online dictionaries, thesauri, etc. are less convenient, efficient, timesaving and so on, rather that I don't enjoy using them, whereas I do enjoy using a paper dictionary and the serendipitous discoveries that can be made on the same page. So, for preference, I will always use a paper dictionary or set of paper dictionaries.
Mark :)

Ma
Maria
Posts: 614
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:47 am

Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:01 am Post

xiamenese wrote:...
whereas I do enjoy using a paper dictionary and the serendipitous discoveries that can be made on the same page. ...


Ah, I see. And I envy you that you can enjoy this work. I think I have to change my attitude towards translation work.... :?

All the best,
Maria