Do you like books? Paper ones, I mean? I do. I like the feel of them, I like the “compression of the pages that tells you you’re nearing the end” and I like the feeling when I discover a new book I want to read.
But I like e-books, too. I like the fact that I can choose one and start reading it a moment later, at any time of day or night, without having to go into town to a shop or even order it. I like the fact that I can go on holiday with umpteen books without needing an extra suitcase… and I like the fact that I can read without having a light on in the room if Julie’s asleep and I’m still reading!
So I tend to have some of both.
But ebooks can be confusing – partly because there are slightly different versions of them.
Ebook just means electronic book and it could be in pretty much any format. But nowadays when people say ebook, it’s usually from one of three places:
- Amazon, who have Kindle books.
- Google, who have Google Play, which is the store for all sorts of things for Android phones and tablets, including book.
- Apple, who have the iStore and like to call them iBooks instead of ebooks, just to be different.
It’s not about what book you’re reading – many books are in all three. But it does affect what devices you can read the book on.
If you buy an ebook (or get a free one) through the Apple iBook store, you can only read that ebook on devices made by Apple – the iPad and iPhone.
If you buy an ebook (or get a free one) through Google’s Play store, you can read it on an Android based device (eg an Android phone or tablet). You can also read it on an iPad or iPhone but only if you download the Google Play Books app onto that device – you can’t read it in the iBooks app that’s already on the device.
If you buy an ebook (or get a free one) through Amazon you can read it on Amazon’s Kindle or Fire devices but you can also read it on any other device if you download the Amazon Kindle app for that device – but you can’t read it in the iBooks app (if you have an iPad or iPhone) or the Google Play Books app.
You can use whichever of those three “stores” you prefer and you can even use a mixture – get some books from one, some from another.
I tend to use the Amazon one because it’s bigger than the others, with more choice (though the others are catching up) and because you can put the Amazon Kindle app on all the types of device to read the books.
You see, one of the things that used to worry me was what if I bought lots of ebooks that I really wanted, then my tablet broke and I got a new one.
I knew that if I got one of the same type, I could use the same account on it and still access all those books. But what if I changed to a different type?
Well, if the books you bought are from Amazon (or to be fair, Google), you can install the app on your new device, log in with the same account and away you go.
It doesn’t work the other way round – if you have an iPad and buy some books through the Apple store and then switch to (say) an Android tablet made by Google, you can’t get at those books on it.
But if you’d bought the books through Amazon on your iPad, then you could still access them on your new Android tablet.
It’s not just when you replace one device with another, either. Say I get an ebook on my tablet and get half way through it. Then I’m stuck waiting for a train one day and don’t have my tablet with me, but do have my phone with me. Then, as long as the phone is set up with the same account, I can carry on reading the same book – it should even remember where I’d got up to so I can just carry on.
Then when I go back to the tablet it’ll remember where I was up to on the phone.
As I said at the start, I like paper books too and I read a mixture of paper and e-books. I think both have their place!