OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

Print versus the eBook

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 17:10

Fig.1. The Pity of War (1999) Niall Ferguson. Same page/location.

Unless someone can offer me away around this I have found myself, after reading, highlighting and adding notes to an eBook that the only way I could properly cite it would be to purchase a print copy. This I did for £1.86 exclusing p&p. Cheapest of all would have been the library, but getting it sent from an outlying library then not being able to locate my library card ... 

Even for £1.86 I will not annotate the printed page. I'm loathe even to break its back ... some 500 pages takes some negotiation. 

I have long taken the view that the amount of effort required to pull together your thoughts does more good than harm in the long run - I've engaged with and 'constructed' my personal understanding of what is being said here rather than on a whim highlighing pages in the eBook and never giving them a second thought. Matching up the Kindle Location to a page number has had me jumping back and forth.

Is there an easy way to do this? I find I look for tables and charts, or references (that are standard in both formats) near to the 'search' I\ve done in the Kindle book. Indexing is crude, the difference between throwing a dart or a kitchen knife at a target across the room.

In one made moment of 'blending' the approaches I thought I could buy two paperbacks, tear out the pages and wallpaper them to the garage wall, then use coloured string and such like to seek out all the links like some murder mystery investigation.

OTT (Over the top).

Will printed books soon seem as archaic as a codex or papyrus?

The highlights and notes in the eBook have been less useful than I had hoped. They were just jottings, moments that hinted at a need to give something further thought - more detailed notes would need to come on a third read through. I've managed two.

The book is chunky, a thicks as a telephone directory. You get NO impression of size with an eBook, not the weight, presence of page numbers.

I need to play around with it further still. I do wonder if after all there is real educational value, savings and practicality to loading an eReader with standard texts. A student has no excuse if that term's books are on a device in their bag. What is best practice with use of eBooks in post compulsory education?


Permalink Add your comment
Share post



New comment

THis sounds like my concerns about on-line course work.  In the eyes and out the ears without stopping long in the brain to be assimilated.  I am concerned.

Re replacing the books, as  a luddite I have to admit I love reading books and newspapers and rarely get past the third paragraph in online articles.  I have just been very naughty and spent my whole day off reading a (long) novel from cover to cover, including the piece about the historical events and social norms prevailing at the time appended at the back.  Books just look,  feel and smell right.

Design Museum

New comment

Hi Cathy,

The reassuring sense that I am increasingly reading is the rather obvious 'celebration' of all formats for their many different benefits and uses. Guess what. Paper is mobile and robust! It is too sad these days to visit any museum and find 'Out of Order' notices on the touchscreens or other IT based 'solutions'. Give me a well designed leaflet!!! 

I have an abiding philosophy regarding learning - 'effort'. 

Whatever the student's motivation, or lack thereof, what they do must require ... I suddenly hear a Latin teacher's catchphrase ... 'engagement of the grey matter'. Not easy, on the surface grazing, but tackling the ting, struggling with it, chasing down infromation, constructing your own version of the facts, having some barrier to get over or through ... 

On the matter of books, I am empyting a garage we got to take some of the content of our house when we moved ... six years ago! There are carefully packed boxes childrens books going up to the roof. Each was a treasure moment, some of them favourites read and looked at over several weeks or months. Whilst my daughter loved them my son spotted Dad at a computer and has only ever had eyes for the screen since ... 

I actually thought I should think about digging a 'time capsule' and burrying the books!!!