Book, ebook, paperback, hardcover

Continuing the discussion from Just books, six and a half years later:

We don’t really say ebook anymore, do we? But we do say “I read it on an ereader”

I do hear people say audiobook, still.

What do you say when you’re referring to different book formats?

I normally say “I got it on my kindle”. I don’t say ebook much either.

That said, I’m trying to go 95% back to paperback books. It’s so much better to be able to donate or give the book away when you’re done. I do find digital books best for reference.

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People and intellectual property and lack of imagination has failed me.

I want to read any thing on paper and digitally, at my leisure.

if i see something interesting, i sort of burn a memory of where it was on the page, so for me physical books are better for reference!

but it’s not a recallable memory. it’s more like… if i’m looking for a favorite passage or poem, i’ll flip through the book and it’s like warmer (not literally) if i’m closer to it. it feels like when i’m playing piano and if i think logically about what i’m playing, i can’t play it, but if i let go and stop thinking, sometimes it just comes out of my fingers, like my hands remember but i don’t. or like my conscious mind doesn’t.

we have a word for that: muscle memory. it’s interesting, i never really put it together that i activate my muscle memory when i’m stationary and reading a book. but it makes sense.

i’m struck by how important physical space is to my function of writing memories. yesterday i met someone new, asked them a question while they were across the table, and later when they moved to my side of the table i asked them the same question again because i didn’t realize they were the same person for a second. object permanence lol.

and sometimes when i recall a favorite passage or recall reading a book that meant soemthing to me, i feel suddenly transported to where i was when i read it, like in atlas cafe when i read the end of ancillary justice “and if i had wings, i’d be a sailpod” and my room in 4th grade staring at fractals in jurassic park or in the bottom bunk in a big hostel in berlin reading mockingjay.

this is so true! i find myself getting a kindle version of something for convenience (both borrowing a digital copy from the library and buying a digital copy from amazon, i’m sorry!) and then being unable to stop myself from buying a physical copy if i loved the book, so i can read it again and then lend it to someone.

side note… what device do you use to read ebooks (lol)? and i ask this question assuming we will forgive each other for having used amazon devices or goodreads in the past and maybe in the future even sigh.

i have an old used kindle but i read on my phone instead. i love reading entire books on my phone.

“never lend books,” said big adama. and it was even a tiny character relationship development point later. she gave it back and if i recall correctly was sad about not having much time to read it and said “it belongs in your library.” it’s almost like the writers regretted looking like they were using their platform to say never lend books so they showed another character disagreeing. lol.

apparently, i have a lot to say about books!


I wonder if this is the photocopy/xerox phenomina. I still say eBook but im either reading on my laptop or a Kobo Forma. (When not dead-tree or audiobook). Kindle though has become the dominant ereading platform, so it makes a kind of sense to me that it is synonymous with it; whereas I tend to have to draw a distinction pretty often that im not on the kindle platform.

Though in terms of my RPG groups, if their more technical people we tend to talk file formats “PDF” / “ePub” etc. Mainly because things like OneBookShelf/DriveThruRPG are largely not on the same file format playing field as the rest of the industry.

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Interestingly enough, I feel the opposite, but maybe that’s because of my brain. My usual method of finding references in books is that I remember what the paragraph looked like on the page (perhaps with other graphics or notes around it or on nearby pages) and flip through pages until I find that visual memory.

It’s really hard to do that with an ebook! And I find that at least for e-readers don’t actually make searching much better (although perhaps that’s more of the use-case for Kindle’s X-Ray feature… I never really used it!)


For computery technical refrence I tend to like ebooks mainly because their often available DRM free and outright free/gratis; and shelf space is a premium sometimes.

Any reference book I reference frequently can benefit from a dead tree copy though. Mainly because flipping to arbitrary page without knowing the page number per se has always been faster and more intuitive than scrolling through okular or fbreader or a hardware ereader. (for me anyway).

Which is typically why ill bother to get the dead tree version of RPGs I run, but otherwise stick to PDFs as a player.

Fiction or any book with a narrative meant to be read in linear order doesn’t really inspire a lot of jumping around unless im looking for a quote. So when available in a format I can decrypt I tend to pick it up electronically, though being in a physical used bookstore is a regular occurrence for me and impulse buys override this principle.


If I could get decent ebook rendering in Emacs, and be able to swoop through books (each yer heart out X-Ray) that would be really dope. Then maybe I’d consider more technical e-books as being useful. (not to mention great extras like D&D reference books! Where’s that treasure table again?)

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Okay, here’s what we do today:

  • when @susan and I discuss books, we just say “book/s”.
  • if a book is digital I specify format, because I only discuss the digital quality of a book when handling the logistics of format, for sharing purposes, and really, to determine if an epub or a mobi is needed.

I read mostly digital books, Clover reads mostly print, and Susan reads evenly between the two.

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Awwwww, I just realized we missed calling them bitbacks and analog codices! C’mon roaring twenties, let’s mod our lang!

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