the Little Red Reviewer

Epic Pie Chart of E-book Severe Dislike, part 1

Posted on: December 17, 2010

Lovers of kindles, nooks, and other electronic e-reader devices may want to look away.

I give you the Epic Pie Chart of E-Book Severe Dislike!

Cue epic music!!!   dun duuun DUN!

explanation after the jump.

e-book pricing: beyond the price of the gizmo, why am I paying for a bunch of pixels? the programming only has to be done once, it doesn’t take any additional resources, what value am I getting for mysix to fifteen bucks?

no page headers: might just be for specific books, but I have heard with electronic anthologies there are no page headers. Go back to the place you were at, and I really hope you remember what short story you were reading. Anyone have any experience with this?

electronic gizmo/learning curve: paper books don’t need to be plugged in, don’t need to be set up, don’t need an account, don’t need a battery or protective case. Other than learning to read, physical books don’t have a learning curve.

Library Schmibrary! can you take an e-book out of your library for your kindle or nook? I’ve noticed that audio books can sometimes be “taken out” of the library on i-pods and other Apple devices. I’m pretty proud of those 3 library cards in my wallet. I actually like browsing at the library and am very spoiled to have three libraries close to wear I live, one within walking distance!

the whole DRM thing: I could go on forever on this one, so let’s just leave it at if I buy something, I’m buying so I can fucking own it. Read it in any room in my house, or outside, or at work. Scribble all over the thing if I want. Lend it to a friend. Trade it in at the used bookstore. Throw it at the wall or in the trash if it really sucks. Donate it to Goodwill. Mail it to my cousin. Get it autographed and put it on e-bay. DRM isn’t friends with any of that stuff, so I don’t want to be friends with DRM. And from what I’ve heard e-readers don’t take well to being thrown across the room when the book you spend $10 on sucks ass-chunks.

This book sucked! How can I sell it? If you bought it for your e-reader I don’t think you can. Or better yet, if you switch devices I don’t think there is a way to transfer files from your first generation Kindle to the super sexy NookColor your mother-in-law just bought you. e-books are a little like cassette tapes. in 5 years everyone will be onto a newer, sexier device, and you’ll have to repurchase your entire collection.

I have really shitty eyesight: this might not apply to you. My shitty eyeballs don’t like electronic anything. what’s your contact lens prescription (cue 1-800 contacts commercial: “It’s on the side of the box!”)? I wear a +8 in one eye and a +9 in the other.  maybe it’s the refresh rate, maybe it’s the depth perception thing, but these pathetic eyeballs really dislike electronic text.  Which hopefully explains my lack of posting on other people’s blogs.

is this just a listing of the downsides of e-books and e-readers?  It ain’t called the Epic Pie Chart of E-Book ambivalence, is it?

what you say? what’s the entire left side of my Epic Pie Chart of E-Book Severe Dislike? that my friend, is part two of this story!  Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!!

25 Responses to "Epic Pie Chart of E-book Severe Dislike, part 1"

I love this.

How about adding the seller’s ability to delete books you’ve already purchased from their bookstore, and your device?


aarrghhh!!! that too!!!

which leads me to wonder – are banned books available as e-books? What happens if you purchase a handful of scandalous best sellers that then become banned books, or banned books in only certain parts of the country/world? do they just *poof* disappear from your device?


Amazon clearly has the power to do so.

I’m not sure about other retailers like BN.

Amazon has also demonstrated that they are completely spineless when it comes to government pressure and censorship in the case of Wikileaks.


Hah, I’m totally with you on most of these points. However, I also have terrible eyes (not quite as bad as yours, but still pretty bad), and at least for me, all of the hype about how the Kindle e-Ink system is just like reading paper is actually true.

My Kindle’s good for very specific things (travel, waiting in line at the post office, etc.), but it will never, ever, ever replace paper books in my heart.


Heh, agree about the “book fetish object” bit, but a couple of other thoughts:

(a) Library books – Nook owners can checkout library books from many public libraries. I do this all the time in Seattle. Check if your library supports Overdrive (a company that provides ebook access). If not you can buy a Philadelphia Library card for $15/year as a non-resident.

(b) Book sharing – Nook owners can share books with each other (not all ebooks support this feature). You can check out: to find other Nook owners to share with.

But ebooks are definitely not the same as having a shelf full of books. Of course, I don’t really miss my CaseLogic wallets of CDs at this point either now that I have an iPod/iTunes/etc.


— James


My library does have Overdrive, and I’ve librarians there helping people use it, so that is a good thing. however, when I was looking at the FAQs on their site, many non-Apple devices said “limited fuctions”, something to do with noncompatible DRM.

it’s nice that some kindle books support sharing, but why not all?


It’s my understanding that most brands of eReaders (not Kindle) support ePub format and work with the Adobe Digital Editions & Overdrive software that most libraries use. So people who have Sony, Nook, Springform, Kobo, and, I think, Cruz eReaders can theoretically check out books from their local library system.

Note the “theoretically.” I was recently gifted with a Kobo reader, so I’ll be putting this to the test in the nearish future.


I so agree with you. I don’t even know where to start! I mean, what happens if your e-reader drops dead or passes through a cyber disturbance and deletes everything? Who’s going to restore it? And of course all that other good stuff mentioned above.

The only use I can think of for an e-reader, for me anyway, would be for disposable reading like a newspaper or magazines or perhaps if I traveled a lot. Maybe.

And about the eyes, I’m a +5 and my eyes don’t like the screen either. The higher the + number the harder it is for the eye to focus close, or so my eye doc tells me.


[…] Manga/Graphic Novels Epic Pie Chart of E-book Severe Dislike, part 1 […]


I don’t think that e-readers are replacements for books any more than cell phones are a replacement for face-to-face talks with people. There are things that are very nice and convenient about e-books and e-book readers, and I think you should mention them, Redhead.

By the way, what e-books have you used, or are you just commenting on how they fail to appeal to you?

—yes, Kindle-lover, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love print books, too.


I am going to do my damndest to make sure my wife does not see this article (she bought me a Kindle for Christmas) – but oh how I laughed.


Opally, I’ve read some Cory Doctorow stuff you can download off his website, and some Bacigalupi short stories that were on his site. for someone who bitches about e-readers, I’m a super hypocrite, I’ve never even used an e-reader! only read stuff off a computer screen.

Emmet, I’m happy i could make you laugh! 🙂


tsk, tsk, Redhead, this is like writing a review of a car without ever driving it. We do like to laugh at absurd technology fads, so you’re in good company. I could rant about a few things I don’t use, like Facebook!


I admit that I have been wondering what the appeal of e-readers are to people who have easy access to libraries full of free books in English. As for me, I have iPhone which I read books on, and I’m hoping to get an ereader, and I love the fact that it allows me to get books out of libraries in America. I’m also able to get books for Net Galley which publishers arent’ willing to send me because they won’t mail books to Israel. so for me it’s a wonderful option, though I do still prefer paper books and continue to buy them.


haha. Ok. I love the post. And yes there are definitely some annoying things about them. But, I also love my nook. Don’t get me wrong, it will NEVER replace my physical library, (I get high off the look and smell of books) but…I carry currently about 1000 books with me in my purse everywhere I go. Everything else aside, there’s something to be said for that.

Also as far as the e-library being lost if your nook is sold, damaged, what have you… I actually just went through this. I had to do a factory reset on my nook. When it came back up I just re-registered it with my previous username/password and it took a few minutes….ok hours?…lol but it put all my books back on there for me. Your library is always backed up on their servers.

It doesn’t back up anything you’ve added without going through them though. So all the books I’d added with Calibre, I had to re-download from my computer in a separate step as well.

I had other thoughts, but I think they were all covered by people above.

Oh, there are certain books that I want in e-format and others that must be paper for me. I think just from playing with it for a year I’ve gotten to know what I prefer for each format and I would think that would be different for different people.


As an aside–I’ve fallen in love with Calibre. It’s made downloading documents and stories onto my reader actually pleasant. I’m so glad I saw someone recommend it online this weekend.


Agreed. I tell anyone I know with an e-reader about it.


This post made me laugh. Especially with the learning curve. I received an eReader recently, and while some books have been easy peasy to access and page through, there are a few that have been right pains in my butt. I spent WAY too much time on user forums this weekend trying to figure out how to make my PDFs easier to read on my device.

I will say that reading on a device that uses eInk totally pwns reading on a LCD-type screen; much, much less eye strain. I HATE reading books on my smart phone, because the back-lit screen hurts my eyes after a while. No eye strain so far with my Kobo. I really, really could’ve used this in grad school when I had professors assigning articles-turned-PDF to read. Reams and reams of research–all read on my laptop. Ouch. Would’ve been easier on my eyes w/one of these readers.

I’ll be testing library borrowing access in the nearish future. I’m super curious to see if it works. I have a large stack–much like the one you described in a recent post–of unread books @ my house, so I don’t need to borrow, but I will just to see how it works, and if I like it. 🙂


Kindle has a free conversion service: send a PDF attached to an email to your unique Kindle email address, with the word “convert” on the subject line, and the file is converted to Kindle format and sent to your Kindle wirelessly. I hate reading PDFs, too. Not sure that works with fancy multi-column PDFs tho, such as newsletters.

You’re right about the nonexistent-to-very-limited Library lending for Kindle; I think that’s its weakest aspect compared to other e-readers.


Thankfully, I found Calibre, which, two days in, has been a god-send for managing my ebook collection. Thus far converting PDFs and html documents to ePub formating has been super easy.

I like, too, that with it I have a fair bit of control over how the end document appears, as far as font size and such go. Best free software I’ve used in a long time; I’m totally donating to them as soon as I’m able.


LOVE THIS!! I think ebooks are a nice concept for books you don’t care about–like text books. But for people who actually LIKE reading, who care about collecting books…yeah, you find me squarely in that half of the pie chart wanting to hang on to my pretty books that smell nice and I can hold and pick up and flip through and mark favorite pages…and so on.

And my paper book is never going to become technologically obsolete–at least not in a way that’s going to render it no longer usable–and once I’ve bought it, Amazon can’t take it back from my bookshelf. I really, really wonder if anyone at Amazon thought about the PR consequences of yanking back ebook copies of 1984 people had bought. Of all the books to have suddenly disappear…Big Brother is not only watching, he is taking your book away.

My other objection not listed here–as far as I know you can’t loan friends ebooks. I’ve read a lot of really popular books that I didn’t want to pay for and that the library had endless waitlists for by borrowing them from friends. And I would do that with a digital book…how exactly?


I’ve wondered if they recognized the irony in yanking 1984 as well.

My conclusion was they must have, because the book’s rough message is so universally known. The only way the situation could have been more ridiculous was if they yanked Fahrenheit 451.


🙂 That really would have been brilliant, had it been Fahrenheit 451.

I’m torn on what to think. They MUST have known…it’s so obvious…it’s a well-known book.

And yet…they went ahead with this anyway. I like imagining the scene in some PR manager’s office when they came in and told him. “You did what? With WHAT book???”


You CAN loan most books purchased through Barnes & Noble for Nook. The caveat: it’s a one time per person two-week loan and only to other Nook owners. It’s not perfect, but it’s something.


[…] just don’t jive with e-readers. Read part one, which covered the right half of the pie chart here.   We now move over the left half. . . . See that entire left side of the pie chart? I can […]


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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