An eBook Frustration

The digital publishing world is one of the most schizophrenic marketplaces. Now, let me qualify that by saying: I work for a publisher. I help make print and digital books. I know the challenges and the limitations. That being said….

I just bought an iBooks ebook thinking: “I can read this immediately and on any of my devices, because Mavericks put iBooks right on my desktop. I’m living in the future!” But what was the first thing that greeted me upon opening my new eBook…

iBooks iOS pop up - This book was designed for iBooks on iOS.

Ugh! Are you serious!? My suped-up laptop can’t do whatever it is this book was designed to do? This stinks. Ebooks have now grown into such a multi-headed enhanced hydra that they can no longer consistently deliver on what is one of the biggest perks of an eBook… instant access on multiple devices.

But too be honest all of my frustration (and this blog post) could have been avoided if the publisher had simply stated something along the lines of “best for iOS-only reading” in the product description or marketing copy or email promotion… anywhere.

So publishers… please… please… PLEASE… use your own books and see where your frustration lies. Chances are your “ugh!” will be the same one your readers will utter. So think of them and work harder on the book or take the time to be up front with your readers. They will all appreciate you more for it.

 

  • helmsb

    Totally agree. Publishers need to eat their own dogfood. I’ve actually stayed away from iBooks for the most part (except for some graphic heavy books) and read mostly Kindle titles. I tend to switch between iPad, Kindle and Web (I actually really like read.amazon.com) so I focus more on the text content and not the “interactive” features that seem to be popular in iBooks titles.

  • Jenna Weber

    Yes! I’ve been trying to use ebooks consistently for the past 2 years or so, and just today was telling my husband I think I may be done. I never held a particular sentimental attachment to the physical form, so ebooks seemed appealing to me – no holding/lugging heavy hardbacks, glowing ereaders for reading at night, instant access, easy storage, search ability, etc. The minimalist in me so wanted to love ebooks. But I’ve run into so many headaches! Switching among devices, formats being weird, stuff not getting formatted correctly, irritating DRM issues, not being able to get the book i want in the format I need. I’ve primarily purchased Kobo Books, Google Books, and Sony books – so this problem is definitely not limited to iBooks. I think I may be asking Santa for real books again this Christmas.

  • I’ve often wondered how many folks read “on the web” vs. just using their devices. It seems that one usually (though not in this case) gains some features when reading on a PC rather than device.

  • Sounds like we’ve had many of the same headaches. “Real” books certainly are making a come back this year for Christmas. Not only for the reasons you mentioned, but have you ever tried to “gift” an eBook!? Sheesh. It always feels like a half-baked process. It’s all just moving so fast that publishers can’t keep up! The only one who loses in all of this is the frustrated reader.

    Thank you for stopping by and reading!

  • helmsb

    I use it out of convenience. It’s super low friction as you just go to a webpage and login and it still syncs your position. I use it a lot when I don’t have my iPad with me. I just can’t stand reading books on my iPhone.

  • helmsb

    Yeah, I love giving books as gifts and eBook gifting is darn near impossible.
    I also really like lending books and I don’t do it nearly as much as my collection of more modern books has shifted to electronic.
    I love the convenience but miss the “physicalness”