03 October 2011

How Much Does an E-Book Weigh?

As grateful as I am that e-books became widely available just about the time I began to have trouble managing regular physical books, some e-book features require this elderly canine to attempt some new tricks.

I've been reading regular books for a long time, you understand, and I'm pretty well accustomed to that way of doing things. For example, just about any e-reader gives you some way to tell how much progress you've made through the book, and while I know the slider bar on the edge of the screen (or whatever) is conveying that information, it is not (yet) as intuitive as comparing the difference in thickness between the pages on the left side of the open book with the thickness of the pages on the right.

I also seem to have a heck of a time remembering to note how many pages are in an e-book. With physical books, it's obvious, isn't it? The breadth of the spine, the weight when you pick it up — it's not something you have to remind yourself to do. E-books, on the other hand, all look pretty much the same. It was only after I got started onCryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) that I noticed that turning virtual pages seemed to have remarkably little effect on the position of the slider bar at the edge of the window. I guess it wouldn't. Turns out the darned thing is 1168 pages long, although admittedly that includes what they call "e-book extras".

If I'd been paying attention, I would've realized that I didn't need to check out any other books at the same time; particularly not The Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin, 835 pages) and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Haruki Murakami, 640 pages). The Game of Thrones returned itself to the library when I was part way through it, thoughtfully sparing me any overdue fines. I had to put it back on hold, and I'm waiting for my name to get back to the top of the list.

Format aside, I guess it's a good sign when you finish a really long book, and would look for other books by the same author. Cryptonomicon is something of a classic in its genre, and deservedly so. Parallel storylines, engagingly geeky characters, elements of the theory and history of cryptology — it took me a while to get into it, but it was a lot more fun than I expected.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle… not so much. My English-major daughter recommended the author, so I expected it to be challenging. Opaque was more like it.

Just because I knew you'd want my opinion.


  1. I absolutely hated it when the book would disappear when I was in the middle of it. Fortunately, one good thing about my DH changing my OS over to Linux is that he had to put in a virtual Windows OS so I could still get my library books. This way I download the book in Windows, then move it over to Linux. The decrypter program changes all the WMA books (e.g. most of them) into MP3 books. Anyway, once they are moved they stay on my computer unless, 'er, I mean until, I erase them. It affords me all the time I need to finish the book, or to keep the book until I am ready to read it.

    It's not stealing ... I'm just a slow reader.

  2. e-book, what's an e-book? ;)

    Glad you have this form of a book available to you to continue reading.

    Your Luddite blogger pal, Donna

  3. Okay, you both are using formats I'm not familiar with. Slider bar? Linux? LOL. I click my way. (Kindle)

    Speaking of books, I'm reading "Tomatoland". I swear I'll never eat another tomato again. I suggest you don't read it if you really love your tomatoes. =(