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Do you prefer paper books to read technical writings?

 
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Hello:

For some time I've been reading technical books in my e-reader. Indeed, I read the Java Tutorials and the book "Effective Java" on it. However, following certain chapters turned very hard some times. It was because I needed going back and forward every time to re-read certain concepts that I wanted to settle. But, at least in my e-reader, moving through so many pages was insanely slow :S .

Now I need to buy a few books and am thinking in purchasing the versions in paper. One of these books is "Beginning Java EE 7". Apart of having read that the digital version is a mess and buggy, I've seen that the content is massive :O . So I believe that following a book like this one in an e-reader is crazy. What do you opine? Do you prefer digital or paper books to read technical books?

Thank you.

PS: another issue that annoys me is that wide graphics, tables and charts look like cut :S .
 
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I use both formats. I keep e-books on my tablet for easy access and portability. But I find paper books much better if I'm really trying to study something properly, because of the ability to skip back and forth easily. I recall reading somewhere that people tend to retain information better from paper books, perhaps because using the physical book provides extra memorable context features, but I can't remember where I saw this: must have been on a screen then!

Many publishers offer deals if you buy the paper and e-books at the same time, and at least one tech publisher often offers a free e-book download if you buy the print version.
 
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I long ago ran out of room for more paper books.

One thing that I have found is that technical ebooks work out much better as PDFs when they are available over Kindle or Nook formats. I love my Kindle for reading novels, but I read technical books as PDFs (when available) on my iPad.

But even then, yeah, page flipping is much easier with paper books. But I love the searcahbility and the weight and volume ( ) of ebooks.

In a perfect world, I'd have both, but I don't live in that world.
 
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I prefer paper tech books because:
1) I like to scribble in my books (it's not the same electronically)
2) I remember spatially where things are and haven't been able to reproduce this memory electronically. I once told a co-worker that the answer to her question was in the first part of the "blue" book on the top of the page. We found it quickly with that description. The term I was trying to recall was "unobtrusive JavaScript."
3) It's easier to read a paper book on the subway. (cops come by sometimes and tell you that you shouldn't use an iPad on the subway.)
4) I can lend my paper books to teammates to look up things and motivate them to buy the book. It's often satisfying when lending out a book and then seeing a new copy appear on their desk when your book gets returned.

For novels, I prefer paper books because I usually read in the evening and a paper book is more relaxing.
 
Avor Nadal
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First of all, thank you for your opinions . They've been very useful for me. I share many of your opinions regarding the appropriate uses of paper and electronic books. I believe that I'll start reading paper books usually and use PDFs to check specific parts when I need it.

chris webster wrote:Many publishers offer deals if you buy the paper and e-books at the same time, and at least one tech publisher often offers a free e-book download if you buy the print version.



Interesting. The next time I'll try to take a look to this kind of publishers first. Thanks!

Bear Bibeault wrote:One thing that I have found is that technical ebooks work out much better as PDFs when they are available over Kindle or Nook formats. I love my Kindle for reading novels, but I read technical books as PDFs (when available) on my iPad.



That's exactly what I've felt when I've needed to read an electronic document, that the typical PDF reader lets me check specific parts faster than an e-book. Specially when I need to scroll up to a previous page or search for a specific term that I read somewhere. Unfortunately my eyes get tired too soon when I read long documents on an LCD screen :/ .

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I prefer paper tech books because:
2) I remember spatially where things are and haven't been able to reproduce this memory electronically. I once told a co-worker that the answer to her question was in the first part of the "blue" book on the top of the page. We found it quickly with that description. The term I was trying to recall was "unobtrusive JavaScript."



Good point too. In my personal experience, the "thickness" of the group of pages that I've already read gives me an important clue when I need to locate a paragraph that I read many pages ago. I know that e-books also have a progress bar, but it's not so comfortable to check it while you're reading.

 
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