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 Poll: Chemistry Books - Do you prefer digital or physical copies? I prefer physical copies (paperback, hardback, ring-bound, etc). 17 (68%) I prefer digital copies (PDF, iPad, Kindle, etc) 6 (24%) Other 2 (8%)

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SuperOxide
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Chemistry Books - Do you prefer digital or physical copies?

Just out of curiosity - How many of you prefer having your books in physical copies as opposed to digital versions (PDFs, Kindle, etc)? And why?

Personally, I prefer the physical copies over digital copies because I like to bookmark, highlight and notate the content as I go along so I can go back and read it again.

You can get an idea of how many tabs I use (a lot) - They're even color coded! lol:

And I highlight and notate quite a bit as well, which is something I can't really do very easily with a PDF or on a Kindle (at least not to my knowledge):

Obviously the physical copies are a bit more expensive than the digital versions (especially if you use ZLib to get the book for free), but I don't usually mind it as some of the money goes to the author and it's money well spent in my eyes.

The latest book I'm planning on purchasing is Organic Chemistry by David Klein (recommended to me by forum member Benignium). I've looked over the PDF that I downloaded from ZLib and it seems like one hell of a book. It's a bit more expensive than the other books I've purchased ($143 for a new ring-bound third edition from Amazon, or ironically the fourth edition is somehow less expensive at$129.75, so perhaps I'll get that instead). It's high price is likely in part due to how voluminous it is at 1,104 pages.

The only time this preference has bitten me in the arse is when I buy IT books. I work in IT so when I'm learning something new, I use to buy a book on it. When I was learning AWS I purchased a few books on it, and because I didn't do my research right, the features it mentioned "being released in the near future" were already discontinued before I finished the damn books, lol. Working in IT, I know that it moves at a very fast pace, but damn, AWS moves even faster than I thought! (Sorry - end of rant).

So other than IT books that cover a specific service/platform, I think physical copies of books are far superior. The only thing that digital versions have that the physical copies don't is the ability to ctrl+f through the entire book, and even copying specific sections for whatever reason.

Look forward to seeing if I'm alone in this or not. Thanks!

RedDwarf
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Physical copies, but as a buyer of a lot of secondhand books I really hate people who use pens or highlighters in their books!
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by RedDwarf Physical copies, but as a buyer of a lot of secondhand books I really hate people who use pens or highlighters in their books!

I know how you feel, lol. But I don't ever plan on selling my books. Sometimes I "lend" them to someone who wants to learn (I put lend in quotes because I never get them back... bastards).

[Edited on 23-5-2021 by SuperOxide]

Sulaiman
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CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman I'd rather download books and use the money saved to buy equipment or chemicals.

That's actually what I've been doing lately, because my income has taken quite a hit in the recent years. But I should be starting a new job soon that will put me back on track to be able to afford nice physical books and glassware (I have more salsa jars than I do beakers :-( kinda sad, really).

[Edited on 24-5-2021 by SuperOxide]

Oxy
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Personally I love physical copies as they can be taken anywhere and they allows to focus better (as the computer is switched off - I don't have any e-book reader).
Physical copies are great when you're searching something specific after you've read the book, it's kind of faster for me.

Electronic copies are on the other hand more convenient in terms of storage. If someone don't mind using sites like Z-Library they can be downloaded for free.
Sometimes I use Z-Library but when I feel I really like something I buy physical copy also. I have Organic Chemistry of Clayden and also McMurry in both version - electronic and physical.

One of the problems with physical copies can be the size of the book. For example, Clayden's Organic Chemistry have more than 1000 pages and is too large to be taken to bed or somewhere. McMurry's OChem is divided to 5 volumes which are more convenient.

As IT specialist I prefer to use documentation for IT stuff when is provided than books. It's definitely more up to date. Of course it's my choice only when we talk about technology which is new (like programming language new version, cloud etc.). For stuff which is not technology dependent like software design etc books are good.
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by Oxy Personally I love physical copies as they can be taken anywhere and they allows to focus better (as the computer is switched off - I don't have any e-book reader). Physical copies are great when you're searching something specific after you've read the book, it's kind of faster for me. Electronic copies are on the other hand more convenient in terms of storage. If someone don't mind using sites like Z-Library they can be downloaded for free. Sometimes I use Z-Library but when I feel I really like something I buy physical copy also. I have Organic Chemistry of Clayden and also McMurry in both version - electronic and physical. One of the problems with physical copies can be the size of the book. For example, Clayden's Organic Chemistry have more than 1000 pages and is too large to be taken to bed or somewhere. McMurry's OChem is divided to 5 volumes which are more convenient.

Exactly how I feel. I use the ZLib just to preview the books to verify they have the type of material I'm looking to learn from. And I like going out to places (eg: park) to read a book sometimes. I get I could do that with an iPad, but I get distracted easily, and would probably spend the entire time on youtube or SM forums, lol.

 Quote: Originally posted by Oxy As IT specialist I prefer to use documentation for IT stuff when is provided than books. It's definitely more up to date. Of course it's my choice only when we talk about technology which is new (like programming language new version, cloud etc.). For stuff which is not technology dependent like software design etc books are good.

Yes, I think the only exception to this is things that teach more generalized IT stuff. For example - A book on design patterns in general wouldn't go out of date because it's not specific to any language. But I got a book on NodeJS design patterns, and while the design patterns are still valid, the JS code is out of date.

Also, totally off topic, but since you're an IT specialist as well... I just accepted a new job offer as a Sr. Full Stack Developer at a bank! (NodeJS/AWS/MongoDB/MySQL/Linux/RESTful API stuff/etc). I'm super excited about it. This is my first real developer gig, before this I was always a Linux Engineer, so it's a compliment that I got hired right into a senior role (though a little intimidating). I'll be able to afford decent glassware and reagents! No more salsa jars! haha. Pending the background check (which for some reason has taken over a damn month... Thanks, COVID).

[Edited on 24-5-2021 by SuperOxide]

Oxy
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Congratulations
I had an episode writing a software for a bank but to be honest it was not something I enjoyed Currently I am writing security related things for financial company and it's a bit better. The most enjoyable projects were always when I had a freedom regarding the design and implementation but unfortunately banks and fin-tech wants to keep it more organized (which I understand). Anyway, it's a really good position (I mean software development) and being a senior (especially in my location) makes life much easier

Congrats once again

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Belowzero
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Reading from paper allows me to focus better, there is something about screens that is just distracting.
Perhaps it is simply the fact that I have an infinite supply of other information just one click away.

Quite similar to a hardcopy music collection, a digital copy lacks the sentiment and value.
One of the downsides of the digital era is that books/music/art have become infintely more disposable, imo this phenomena is responsible for a generation that is much more easily distracted.
I am certainly guilty too, it is tempting to scroll away when there are a thousand other PDF's on my drive.
Or perhaps worse, put something on that allows my brain to go in stand-by mode, brains are the laziest things..

Yet I voted for digital since I simply lack the physical space to store as much books, it's nothing short of a miracle that those all fit on a handfull of pendrives

[Edited on 24-5-2021 by Belowzero]
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by Belowzero Reading from paper allows me to focus better, there is something about screens that is just distracting. Perhaps it is simply the fact that I have an infinite supply of other information just one click away. Quite similar to a hardcopy music collection, a digital copy lacks the sentiment and value. One of the downsides of the digital era is that books/music/art have become infintely more disposable, imo this phenomena is responsible for a generation that is much more easily distracted. I am certainly guilty too, it is tempting to scroll away when there are a thousand other PDF's on my drive. Or perhaps worse, put something on that allows my brain to go in stand-by mode, brains are the laziest things.. Yet I voted for digital since I simply lack the physical space to store as much books, it's nothing short of a miracle that those all fit on a handfull of pendrives

It seems like you prefer the physical, but are just limited by space. In my eyes that would mean you prefer the physical books. I get what you mean, and I'm not the type to want to store a large amount of books in some shelves in my office (hence why I put them in boxes somewhere for storage), but that's no reason for me not to get the physical copies.

Perhaps I should have specified - If you had a choice and no other limitations (all else being equal), which would you prefer?

I too have more digital copies than physical copies, but I don't read through them. I just scan over them to see if they're worth buying.

BromicAcid
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I prefer physical copies but there is no denying the advantage of a book that has good OCR applied to give instant search results for whatever you're looking for.

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Fyndium
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I prefer digital copies over everything for practical reasons, including searchability, portability, being able to edit content, size and also the cost. Not sure if this is common, but most of my textwork is written by myself as notes and quotes and written practical synthesis descriptions. I generally memorize things much better when I read them, process them, pick the key parts and finally lay out my own selected content about it. For example, many multi-step syntheses have a lot of variables, so it's best for me to memorize the one way that suits my conditions the best.

I do feel the nostalgy of a well stocked bookshelf, but I don't have the privilege of possessing enough space for it.

SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by Fyndium I prefer digital copies over everything for practical reasons, including searchability, portability, being able to edit content, size and also the cost. Not sure if this is common, but most of my textwork is written by myself as notes and quotes and written practical synthesis descriptions. I generally memorize things much better when I read them, process them, pick the key parts and finally lay out my own selected content about it. For example, many multi-step syntheses have a lot of variables, so it's best for me to memorize the one way that suits my conditions the best.

I do have to agree with you on that one (regarding how practical it is). I have a [physical] lab notebook I write some of my experiments/synthesis notes in, but I usually end up just opening a text editor on my laptop, as I type much faster than I write, and I can copy/paste specific portions from online documents as subnotes on specific steps.

But when it comes to reading content just to learn the general principal (as opposed to specific experiments/synthesis I'm conducting), I still prefer a physical book.

 Quote: Originally posted by Fyndium I do feel the nostalgy of a well stocked bookshelf, but I don't have the privilege of possessing enough space for it.
Neither do I. They're mostly stored in boxes for now, lol.

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In the case of chemistry books I don't mind. They have both advantages and disadvantages. When I do some write-ups, I find easier to work with books. But when I need to search something, its quicker to find it in PDF book. Just press ctrl+f and write what you need to find.

From practical point of view, I don't have that much money to afford expensive scientific books, so I don't have that much choice in that and have PDF books. I often work with online sources, like pubs.acs, research gate etc. (specifically copy DOI and put it on sci-hub ) and this is in PDF too.

On the other hand, I have 99% of my story books in physical form. Reading from paper is more comfortable and I just like that feeling that you have that book in hands.

SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by Bedlasky In the case of chemistry books I don't mind. They have both advantages and disadvantages. When I do some write-ups, I find easier to work with books. But when I need to search something, its quicker to find it in PDF book. Just press ctrl+f and write what you need to find. From practical point of view, I don't have that much money to afford expensive scientific books, so I don't have that much choice in that and have PDF books.

Yes, that's exactly how I feel... I would love to get Organic Chemistry 4th Edition by David R. Klein, but its \$140! But then again, I suppose it's not that much for what it is.

And yes, I have it in PDF from ZLib, but I really like having the physical copies to highlight/notate/bookmark/etc in. And just to pull off the shelf when I want to go read somewhere in peace.

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 Quote: Originally posted by Bedlasky In the case of chemistry books I don't mind. They have both advantages and disadvantages. When I do some write-ups, I find easier to work with books. But when I need to search something, its quicker to find it in PDF book. Just press ctrl+f and write what you need to find. [snip]

I agree. I have some chemistry books on paper, including the over a century old W.Ostwald - Grundlinien der Anorganische Chemie 1917 (German for 'Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemstry'), nice book !.
Attached a scan of the chapter of Potassium.
But digital books are also useful, I have several old (some of the 19th century), but also modern books and publications books downloaded onto my cellphone so I can read them offline. Such books are usually unavailable or hard to find in the shop.

Attachment: Kalium.pdf (5.9MB)
MarkoMiletic

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I prefer digital (pdf and epub) because easy to bookmark, save, backup, continue reading progress.
Also easy to find words, search books by author or publisher.
I would only prefer physical if I was concerned with 5G as cause of corona virus, or of electronics, radio waves, etc as cause of my diseases.

[Edited on 9-8-2021 by MarkoMiletic]
Linus1208
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Digital copies are easier to transport etc.
But there's something magic to reading an old chemistry book still listing less than 110 elements.

 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Miscellaneous » Chemistry Books - Do you prefer digital or physical copies? Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues