“Owning Model S” came out a while ago and got good reviews. Despite the temptation, I held off buying the book and waited for an electronic or e-book version. This post is going to focus on the e-book format and my own impressions from this impressive work of love for the Model S.
Before I comment on the e-book format and its benefits and limitations I have to remark on the book itself. I’m pretty well read on the Model S from the online forums and on various blogs, but what surprised me most was that there was still a ton of new information for me about the Model S and Tesla in this book. Not only is the book rich with content including descriptions, diagrams, charts and pictures but it is really well structured.
The Tesla and Tesla Motors Club forums are great for an interactive discussion but they can drive you crazy if you’re just trying to grab a fact or learn about a certain aspect of your car or the ownership experience. This book reads really well front to back but it is also a great reference book where you can jump around to the information you’re looking for and get what you want easily.
As an e-book it may seem expensive at $16.95, but this is not Nora Roberts book #165. “Owning Model S” is best considered as a textbook. Considerable time and research has gone into creating the book and that shows on every page and the value is definitely there.
For a more through review on the contents of the book be sure to read Teslarati’s original review of the book.
As an e-book you get to carry “Owning Model S” with you and on multiple devices if you want. I “installed” (more on that later) the book on a desktop computer, a laptop computer, my iPhone 5 (and later 6) and my iPad mini. The e-book can be read on many popular devices. This kind of access is great to have and I can easily carry the book around with me. This lets me read it on that long flight to the UK, during my quick Supercharge stop or use it for a quick fact on the go.
While paper books have table of contents and indices, they don’t have search. With the e-book you can search for what you’re looking for and jump right to the information you need. Much like a physical book you can highlight sections of the book and mark key pages, but unlike physical books you can get a list of highlighted text and bookmarks and easily jump back to them. Like a physical book you can magnify sections — you just don’t need any extra equipment to do so. The images in the book are high quality and you can pinch zoom into them for more detail when needed.
I made the move to all e-books years ago for many of the reasons above and I think the e-book format is the only way to go.
In the world we live in authors like Nick Howe have to be concerned about people copying his work and distributing it freely. That means Nick needed to protect his work with Digital Rights Management (DRM) of some sort and figure out a way to distribute the book. I’ve never published an e-book but I know it’s possible to get published on the Amazon Kindle store as independent authors like Annie Bourne did with her first book “The First Secret of Edwin Hoff.” Given that, it’s hard to understand the unfortunate choice for DRM and distribution that was chosen for this book. Amazon provides readers for all platforms so the choice would not have restricted use.
For “Owning Model S” they went with an Adobe DRM format that requires a special e-book reader you’re not likely to have used before. The process for getting the reader involves getting an account with Adobe (many people won’t have accounts with Adobe before this), downloading the reader (not by Adobe if on a mobile device), then opening the email that contained the encrypted book you got after purchasing and then sending the book to the special reader application on your device. You have to do this process on each device you want to use. If that sounds confusing, it is. And its a pain. Once you get the process down (they do have helpful instructions) and get it installed things work fine.
While this approach does work on most platforms (all desktops, most smartphones), it doesn’t seem support the Amazon Kindle which is surprising given the wide adoption of that reader. Also, you won’t be reading this e-book on your Model S’s 17″ screen.
Other things missing that you may be used to in other e-book readers are the ability to synchronize your read position across devices and the ability to select and copy text. Other than taking a screen shot like the ones above you can’t use quotes or snippets from the book. That is a little too restrictive for my taste. One more thing oddly missing is URLs aren’t clickable, and since you can’t copy the URL text either they’re nearly impossible to use since you’d have to flip back and forth from the reader to your browser and try to remember things.
I’d love to see Nick also put the book on the Amazon store to open up more devices and potential readers. I’m not sure my parents could install this e-book without my help but they’re able buy books easily on the Kindle store. The Model S is an amazing feat of technology, but you don’t have to be a geek to drive it. You shouldn’t have to be to read about it either.
While the installation of the book was a pain and the features were more limited than other e-book formats, the “Owning Model S” e-book is a fantastic addition to my digital library, even if it is on a digital island by itself. It’s easy to forgive the limitations imposed by DRM and distribution choices once you immerse yourself in the rich contents of the book itself. I believe every potential or current Model S owner should purchase a copy of “Owning Model S” in the format of their choice.
You can buy either edition of “Owning Model S” at the Evannex web site.