eBook Evolution

I have written about ebooks a few times in the past. I started in 2008 with the Sony E-Reader, and then moved on to an iPad in 2011, and then to the Kindle in 2014. As a lifelong, heavy reader, books have always been a significant part of my life. The eBook and reader has been a godsend. Yet, all is not perfect in the reader world.

Being a long time e-reader user, an early adopter, and several technology nodes along the way, the challenge is that I have books from multiple vendors, in multiple formats, and that complicates life.

Sony was the first stop in the path to an e-reader. It started using proprietary Sony only formats. Yet, as the technology evolved, and Amazon become a powerful player, Sony books ended up being in protected ePub format. Moving them was trivial using Calibre, and they remain in my library.

I later bought a second generation iPad, about the time that Apple launched their bookstore. I have to admit, that the reading experience on the iPad with the Apple application was/is outstanding. However, the protection that Apple uses for their books is not removable, so you are limited to using the iPad or now the iBooks application on the Mac to read them. That would be OK if I always used my iPad to read, but alas, I prefer to use an e-ink reader (no distractions, a better immersive environment.)

All was well until the second Sony reader began to die. Its battery always sucked, and I ended up replacing it less than 18 months after buying it. However, even with the new battery, it really never lived up to the quality or performance of the original reader I had from Sony. Bummer.

I could have turned 100% to the iPad, but at its core, I still prefer the e-ink based readers. However, at this time, late 2013, the battle was over. There were some also rans, the iPad, or the Kindle.

So I took the plunge, and bought a Paperwhite kindle (wifi only, without the ads). As much as it pains me, it is now a damn good reader, and the Amazon book ecosystem is solid. Huge selection, reasonable prices, and a painless purchase/access process. It really just works.

Of course, the Amazon format files are protected (again, it is trivial to remove this protection).

The integration with Calibre is excellent, and converting my extensive collection of ePub books to .mobi format for the Kindle is trivial.

One thing is for certain, the only loser here is printed books. It has to be a special book indeed where I buy a dead tree version.

So, like much of my digital life, I have many epochs of detritus, collections spanning multiple technologies. Don’t get me started about my music collection (Amazon, Apple, Google Play, and my ripped CD’s).