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I thought I would follow up my earlier post on eReaders as today I downloaded a free eBook. This was Growing Deeper by Chris Smith, a volume about how church communities can make “… connection in a disconnected age”. I might review it sometime although, to be honest, it is quite nice to get a free book that I don’t have to review!

So, I have all 9.4MB downloaded to my computer desktop and I am considering when I might actually read it. Ideally, I would like it available in more than one place as lunchtime at work is probably a good location but having it at home too. I could download it directly there but each time causes a bandwidth hit for the supplier and, since I’m not sure I’m going to donate any money for it, I am trying to think of alternatives.

My bright idea was that it might be another opportunity to use Google Wave (I have some invites available if you want to try that out, by the way). It would then be available wherever I have an internet connection and I can use the wave to jot down some notes at the same time. The trouble with that concept is that it is taking an appreciably long time to copy the file up onto a new, private wave. The same would be true if I’d picked Evernote or just emailed it to myself. Isuppose I could put it on a memory stick but I suspect I’d forget to open it up.

Meanwhile, I have taken a quick look through the book. Most of the fifty ideas it delivers look quite short; I suspect it is the use of lots of images that has pumped the size of the file up. Wouldn’t it be more convenient if this was on a website rather than presented as a “book”?

There, I think, is the rub. HTML would be a perfectly good format for most eBooks, particularly ones that are being shared for free. Production and distribution costs would be lower and the content would be readily accessible using a simple web browser. I haven’t read the book yet (and, since it still hasn’t uploaded, might not get round to it today) but I’m definitely having my doubts about the medium even if the message is still to be tested.

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