As mentioned in a recent post, I purchased my first textbook for the A.E. Project as a Kindle eTextbook.
This was done for a few reasons:
So while the fourth one is particular to me, the first three are pretty universal. With those reasons in mind, I gladly bought the eTextbook version of my first course without thinking too much about it.
It turns out that the first (and largest) reason for my love of eBooks is voided with Kindle eTextbooks as you can't actually read them on your smartphone Kindle App or via the internet on the Kindle Cloud Reader.
Instead, you must download the Kindle Reading App to use on your PC or, according to the video above, a tablet of some kind. This is a large downside, as it essentially takes all the convenience of having Kindle in my pocket away and replaces it with me having to carry a laptop around with me if I want to read outside of my house. It also means I need to be plugged into an outlet, as my laptop usually dies after about three hours of use.
Rather than having a heavy textbook to lug around with no potential battery issues, I have a heavy laptop to lug around which requires constant charging. It's all the downsides of having a traditional book, without the upside of no battery!
Of course, if I am able to get my hands on a tablet ("Hello work iPad..."), this extreme downside could be eliminated as the battery life is ridiculous on the new tablets, essentially as long or longer than my smartphone.
However, even with the tablet, I will be taking an extra device with me everywhere I go. The beauty of smartphones today is that they are computers, cameras, books, email managers, and video and music players all-in-one. I'm so used to only having my wallet in one pocket and my smartphone in the other, that needing to take anything else with me when I step out my door is felt as a relatively large inconvenience.
Why I'll Still Buy eTextbooks for My Other Courses
Assuming the tablet version of the eTextbook works out alright, I will still buy eTextbooks for the other nine courses in my project. This is because eTextbooks on tablets, even with needing an extra device, are still lighter to carry around than most textbooks, have batteries that can last the entire day without needing to be recharged, travel easier between countries, can be read in the dark, can be purchased and read immediately, are cheaper, and allow me to heavily mark them up without my OCD kicking in.
In short, even with the downside, the other big upsides win out overall.
I'll be starting the reading for the course tomorrow and we'll see how it plays out in real life; perhaps, some other inconvenience or unexpected downside will pop up in the course of reading this first book. We'll just have to find out.