Monday, April 22, 2013

Musing Monday...On the Road Again...


 These Mondays come so quick!! Well,
 let's check out the questions at Should Be Reading...

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!

• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

If you have been reading my rants..I mean my musings... here for awhile..a few years perhaps, you might know that I have had a few issues with e books.
Well, then I got a Nook.
And then an iPad.
And a smartphone.
And I stopped going on about them quite as much, as I bought into their more positive aspects.
But what about one particular sub-set?

Travel guides.
Yes, it is time for caite to plan her next trip!

Now, on the surface, if ever there were any category of books that seemed to called for e-books, it would be travels guides. They tend to be big, awkward and heavy to carry in your luggage. They need to be updated frequently. They ideally are searchable and easy to take notes in. In all these ways, the e-book would seem to have the advantage.
In reality, it is not as clear.

I must admit this topic was suggested by the Bro this week. When the SIL and he and I are traveling together, he is the Big researcher. But I still like to do some reading, get ready for a destination.

And for that, I tend to fall back, at least at first, on a dead tree book. For an overview, for flipping around in a giant book to the parts that are relevant to your specific trip, a paper book is just easier. Then I think, when you actually get down to the trip and a lot of the big decisions have been made, an e-book or an app can be useful. And a lot lighter in your suitcase. Of course, there is also the time tested but rather painful method of tearing the needed chapters out of your giant travel guide to take with you. Yes, you read that correctly..tear chapter from a book.
People do it, I have done it...and while not ideal, it may have to do for now.

I think part of the problem is that maybe publishers have not quite gotten their travel e-books up to snuff yet. I am not sure what percentage of all books in general travel guides are, but it is a part if their business they do not seem to be taking too seriously yet in the new format.
If you look at what travelers online say, people posting on boards on travel sites and such, they all seem to feel that in reality e-books have a number of issues when it comes to travel guides.
They are, oddly, very bad at being searched on a specific topic or place, and also oddly, they tend to be out of date. One guy said how he ended up buying the almost 900 page paper guide for Germany when he say the e-version the publisher was selling online was 3 years old. 3 years? In travel terms, that can be an eternity. Hotels, restaurants, visitor sites open and close and old info is often bad info.

Another complaint is the maps in e-books tend to be rather unreadable. Again, I have to think that is an issue the publisher needs to address, could address. You can't tell me, with all the technology we have these days that you can provide a good map in an e-book. Really.

So at least for the time being, it seems that even the greatest fan of e-books is going to have to settle for a mix of formats. Buy the giant hulking paper travel guide..then buy an e-version to carry with you along with those torn out chapters...then buy an app or two for your smart phone......wait...wait one minute...

May those publishers know what they are doing after all!


  1. i know you know there are often different versions of mobile apps .. some are free and some cost from a dollar on up .. the free ones tend not to have the best graphics and what they do have is interspersed with ads ... just sayin' there's more than one way to read a map on a mobile device

    1. Yes, I have found some apps..usually the ones that cost a couple of bucks..pretty useful. I had some good ones in Rome for example, but I still went back to a paper map.
      And still got lost.

  2. Unless you have an iPad or something like it, pictures in ebooks aren't all that great. Where are you going on your trip?

    1. Perhaps I should keep it a is not until December and it seems like tempting fate.
      Ok, it is a river cruise to see the Christmas markets

  3. I can honestly say I have never read a travel guide on my kindle or my android. And by the looks of it, I might just stay away=)

    MyMonday Musing

  4. As you know we travel quite a bit, and also you know I love my e-books. But I can't do the e-travel guide. We always get the AAA guide to wherever we are going, plus we love the DK books because they have gorgeous pictures and are well organized. And they really aren't that huge. Once we get to our destination, then I will whip out my phone and search TripAdvisor or Yelp for restaurants and stuff for more detailed info. Improvements need to be made before I bend to the travel guide on the Kindle.

    1. I like the DK books a lot.. Lot of info in a small package.

  5. For planning a trip, I agree with you that the paper book is irreplaceable. There is nothing quite like flipping through pages with gorgeous photos of the places I'm going to get to see in person! And, assuming there is internet access where I am going, I find it's much more worthwhile to bring along a laptop (or an iPad, which I don't have but would totally bring if I did) for up-to-date information and maps.

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog today! I have been reading some of your past blogs concerning e-readers and I have to admit that I am on the fence about them as well -- and I own all five of the Nook editions. I really prefer "real" books and mostly use the Nook as a tablet that I check mail on, etc. I do have an ongoing list of books I have read so I don't duplicate and my granddaughter loves it. I guess I am glad I have it -- five is an overkill, clearly, but if I knew then what I know now.....I haven't tried the library feature yet, though. I should do that.

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