Posted by: Corri van de Stege | July 23, 2011

The God Species by Mark Lynas: E-reader version or tangible hard copy?

I recently downloaded The God Species by Mark Lynas onto my e-reader and started reading it last night.  I now wish I’d bought a hard copy – it’s a non-fiction book and I think e-readers are great for novels, but not good if you want to be able to browse, go back and forth, look up references etc.  The God Species is one of those.  The book has a brilliant review in today’s Guardian, by Peter Forbes.   Reading this review and the reference to the Planetary Boundaries Group, which in fact inspired the writing of the book, I realise that I want to be able to read a chapter and the following and then return to an earlier chapter read, or dip into one of the following.  The problem with e-readers is that it is not so easy to do this, unless you keep absolute track of which page you were on and which page you read something or other.  You just cannot do it.  I need the markers, the folded corners, the underlining….  Heresy to some, I know, but that is what I do with non-fiction books.

So, that now defines the limits of e-readers I think.  I have a few more books on the reader and I now wish I had not bothered to buy them as e-Pub but rather had ordered the hard copy.  Lesson learned.  I wonder if you have had the same experience?




  1. I would wholeheartedly agree with you on the limitations of e-Readers. I end up having to take notes in a notebook when I am using them to make it easier to go back to sections that I found interesting.

    • I use the Sony reader … it allows bookmarks, highlights, notes etc.
      I can mark up as I go along. Works great.
      Take freehand notes and highlight sections of text you want to revisit later, just as you would in a real book, using the included stylus. If you prefer, a virtual keyboard is also available for entering quick notes or searching your eBooks. You can even export your notes to your computer using the Reader™ Library software.

  2. Ian – Yes I’m aware of the facility and it works great for novels I think. However, it’s the going backwards and forwards facility that I miss in the case of non-fiction books, where you may want to skip a chapter or go back to an earlier one. It’s not so easily done as with a hard copy I think…..

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