Is the eBook Worth Adopting Yet?

On December 21, 2007, I wrote a post asking why the ebook hadn’t caught on yet, and gave several reasons why I haven’t adopted this promising technology yet. Since writing that post, there have been some interesting developments. Amazon came out with a second edition Kindle and an app for the iPhone that allows you to read Kindle books. So far, I have a few Kindle books, although with one exception they’ve all been free. I’m debating whether to buy buy another book or not. There are a few books I’m determined to read, and I wonder whether or not to buy them for the Kindle to read on my iPhone.

What’s stopping me?

Well, for one, I’m realizing that it’s hard to take notes in Kindle books. I used to be shy about writing in my books, but recently I’ve started underlining, writing in questions, and writing in my own statements about material in the book. You can’t do that on Kindle for iPhone. It also doesn’t allow cut-copy-paste yet, so I can’t clip interesting quotes from the book into Evernote. The best I can do is exit out of Kindle for iPhone and record a Note to Self or Voice Note about whatever in the book stood out.

Of course, Kindle books don’t take up much room, and there’s no shipping cost. That’s a plus. But, I can’t loan a book to a friend, although most of my friends are capable of simply buying books that I recommend they read. I can’t ask my wife to read it. She’d have to buy it herself either in print or for her iPhone, but she hasn’t taken to reading books on hers yet.

I’m also not sure about the longevity of the books. Obviously, print books wear out after a time. I have a few that have seen better days. Even a few that I bought years ago and read once are yellowing. My copy of Wild At Heart is about beaten up after I read it myself, then taught it one quarter in my church.

I’m not sure what the answer is. Should I just go for broke and start buying books for the Kindle to read on my iPhone, or should I keep buying them in print for now? Hopefully the Kindle for iPhone app will improve to the point of allowing notes and highlighting, as well as copy-paste into other apps. What would really be nice is a desktop companion, like the new Barnes and Noble app has. I’ve also heard the B&N app is a little tough to set up.

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