Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Ebooks are not accessible in bedrooms, bathrooms, beaches and buses says...

I found this ShelfAwareness quote of the day to be bizarre:

"Bedrooms, bathrooms, beaches and buses will keep the physical book alive."–John Edwards, president and CEO of printer Edwards Brothers, in aDetroit Free Press profile. Edwards explained that "people will always want to do some of their reading in places where electronic formats are difficult to use."

I think bedrooms, bathrooms, and buses are exactly the type of place where electronic formats are the easiest to use.  Bedrooms are great because the isolated backlight or nightlight lit devices don't bother your partner. Plus, hardcovers are hard to hold in the bed, laying on one side or completely reposed.  Bathrooms and buses are great for ereading because the ebook is a lightweight, go anywhere device.   Beaches are the one place that I do think ereading can be dangerous because sand in your electronic device is no fun.  Having said that, I've read on the beach before and an eink device looks the best in bright sunlight.  In fact, it's in outdoor sunlight that the eink screen looks most paper like.  

John Edwards sounds like a guy who has never done any ereading on a mobile device.  

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Chris
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 10:25:26

    Although having a bookstand makes a major difference for reading hard covers in bed (or anywhere, for me). Tragically no longer made, the Readupon was the best.

  2. (Jān)
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 10:49:22

    I read almost all my ebooks in bed.

    It’s a pretty sad day when a publisher is hoping that bathroom / beach reading will keep paper books alive. What kinds of novels will be marketed toward that?

  3. Azure
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:02:30

    I’m still a little nervous about taking my ebook reader to a bathroom and I don’t think I’d take it to a beach. But bedroom? It’s one of the best reasons to own an ebook reader! And I don’t get the last one. Why on earth would an ebook not be accessible on a bus? I’ve taken my ebook reader with me when I’m riding a Metrolink train and I’ve never had a problem with it. That’s just weird.

  4. jmc
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:07:07

    I read ebooks in bed. Not at the beach. And absolutely not in the bathroom — no reading materials in there at all, thanks.

  5. Jane
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:12:38

    @(Jān): Good point. Similar to the point someone else made last week (or was it two weeks ago) that there is something wrong with an industry that relies on purchases of books that people will never read.

  6. Shiloh Walker
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:13:55

    Hmmmm…. I’ve read my Sony in bed, in a car, in the tub, on a plane, on a train…oh, wait. Not a train. But still.

    All those places are great places to read ebooks, especially in the car or a plane. Packing ten cajillion books when I’m going out of town is so much easier when I can pack them on an SD card instead of my purse or carryon.

  7. spyscribbler
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:57:36

    You nailed it. I carry my Kindle with me everywhere. Now I don’t have a bathroom book, a downstairs book, a book by the bed… I just have my Kindle. I love it, and all my books are always on it, so I can read whatever I feel like reading whenever I want to.

    The only place I read a paper book is in the sauna and whirlpool.

  8. Meljean
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:58:18

    I guess I’m not surprised that if he’s a printer, he’s going to be pointing out places that he thinks people won’t want to take ebooks.

    I’ve just recently bought my reader (eBookwise … have had some issues with format, but otherwise love it) and the best place for it has been while I’m trying to get my daughter to sleep, because I can have the lights off and read (and not fall asleep myself, as I used to do).

  9. Jennifer
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 12:42:32

    Maybe like me, he likes to read in the bathtub! I sometimes seriously wish I could take the iPhone in there with me, but I’ve been known to drop physical books into the tub. Can’t imagine dropping anything more expensive than that.

  10. Mo
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 12:54:35

    I too take my Kinde everywhere. When I am reading in my whirlpool I just pop it into a ziplog bag and rest it on a floaty and life is good.

  11. Lori
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 14:03:56

    I agree with you, Jane. I read my ebooks in bed all the time. It’s the best place. My hubby is so grateful not to have the light on late at night anymore. And, yes, if I’m in the middle of an ebook, I certainly don’t put it down to go to the bathroom. I just have to turn it off an set it aside to wash my hands. But you have to do the same thing with a paperback that you don’t want to get wet. What’s the difference? OK, not in the bathtub, but yeah, everywhere else.

    I won’t take it to the beach, sand issues aside, because the ebookwise tends to have issues in bright sunlight, but otherwise it goes everywhere I go.

  12. Jules Jones
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 14:29:14

    Not taking my Cybook into the bathroom, and *definitely* not taking it to the beach (though there I’d be worried about theft as well as sand in the innards, since I go to the beach to swim). But anyone who’s read my Cybook burblings on my LJ over the last couple of months knows that the “prise from my cold dead hands” factor is the fact that I can read it on the bus without feeling sick, unlike a dead tree book.

    Of course, my bus route is one where mugging is not something I worry about. Maybe he thinks anyone who uses the bus has to worry about displaying items that cost any more than a mass market paperback.

  13. Lori Perkins
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 15:07:25

    I loved taking my Sony reader to the beach and the pool this summer.

    But I put it in my handbag and read everywhere, even on line at the Post Office and the supermarket. I am never without a good book to read.

  14. MaryK
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 16:16:59

    @Jules Jones:

    the “prise from my cold dead hands” factor is the fact that I can read it on the bus without feeling sick, unlike a dead tree book.

    That’s amazing! Why is it, do you think?

    I can’t do anything in a vehicle (except drive) without getting sick. I wish I could test this myself! Price would be no object if it meant I could read in a moving vehicle.

  15. DS
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 20:41:44

    Take my Kindle everywhere and during the recent election my friends and I discussed what books we were going to read while standing on line waiting our turn to vote.

  16. Angelia Sparrow
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 22:24:02

    I don’t think he’s thinking we HAVE readers.
    He’s thinking you don’t cart your desktop or laptop to the bedroom.

    Before I got my Sony reader, I found e-books a nuisance. I carted deadtree editions to the bedroom and bathroom and drs office and all.

    Now that I have my reader? it goes everywhere. Including the bathroom. No tub use, though. I don’t read anything in the tub since I drenched my copy of Pippi Goes on Board about age 10.

  17. Jessica Kennedy
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 23:39:18

    Couldn’t agree with you more!

    My Kindle goes EVERYWHERE! Even the pool! A ziploc baggy was my best friend this summer!

  18. GrowlyCub
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 00:19:29

    He's thinking you don't cart your desktop or laptop to the bedroom.

    That just shows what he knows. My house is wifi networked. My 10.7in, 2.9lb laptop is never turned off, sleeps right next to me and goes into the bathroom with me if the fancy strikes. I wouldn’t take it into the tub, but after dunking two paperbacks I was sentimentally attached to, no reading material goes into the tub with me. That’s what audiobooks are for. :)

    I feel pity for him because he’s obviously completely out of touch and exposed his ignorance in public. What a faux pas for a publishing company exec!

  19. Jules Jones
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 02:36:51

    MaryK, I haven’t tried reading it in a car, and I don’t think I’d get away with it there. But I don’t have anything like as much trouble with reading in an urban bus, so it doesn’t need to be much of an improvement for me to get away with reading more than a few lines.

  20. Christina
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 08:56:27

    I use the Metrorail in DC to commute to work. I've been taking casual note of what my fellow riders read ever since I've started coming to this site and reading the articles about reading habits, etc.

    I thought, of all areas, this would be the one where I'd see more dedicated ereaders. Surprisingly, I've only seen a few. Not counting the group who are obviously using their Blackberries to answer email, I notice a lot of audio devices (iPods, etc.) , which may or may not be used for books. My mother, and fellow commuter, does use hers exclusively for audiobooks, so that's at least one.

    However, I've observed that many riders seem to prefer library books. And I wonder, is this mainly due to the fact that they only read books during their commutes, and it makes more sense to check a books out of the library than it would to buy it? If that's the case, ebooks would never be a practical choice for them. Library books can be checked out for free and returned.

    There is also the possibility the reason is based solely on money. For all I know, the library book readers are avid readers but are on a tight budget, can't justify buying a book they know they will only read once, and/or find ebooks not cost effective to justify the cost of the ereader (a paperback can be swapped, sold, donated – but what about an unwanted ebook?).

    I think ebooks are here to stay, but I don't think print books are going to be obsolete overnight, either.

  21. Jane
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 10:10:23

    @Christina: I agree with you that print books aren’t going to be obsolete anytime soon. There are alot of libraries that offer ebooks in the same way that you can obtain paper books. In fact, anyone can join the NYPL for $100 and check in and out the ebooks that they have.

  22. Christina
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 10:05:43

    In fact, anyone can join the NYPL for $100 and check in and out the ebooks that they have.

    Wow. Learned something new. I wonder how many people know about it. That would be an incentive for me to reconsider buying a eReader.

  23. Jane
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 10:07:30

    You’d have to buy an ereader that views either Mobipocket or Adobe, I think. Here’s the link to an article I did during the summer.

  24. Christina
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 11:01:44

    I must have skipped that article! I live in Fairfax County, so I could take advantage of DC’s elibrary.

  25. Mireya
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 05:26:29

    This made me laugh. That is exactly the type of comment that makes me go on “teaching” mode to enlighten the world about the beauty of ebooks, making sure I dispel preconceived (and more often than not ignorant) notions.

    And this is someone in the business? Boggles the mind.

    Mireya who brings her gizmo (Pocket PC in her case) essentially everywhere but the bathtub or the beach.

%d bloggers like this: