"Very Short Introductions" from Oxford University Press

Someone (Einstein?) once said, "We know more and more about less and less, until we know everything about nothing." Living in Israel, I have a constant fear of becoming one of these people, as I have no opportunity to get exposed to sufficiently variegated intellectual topics through books in bookstores here, especially in Hebrew. This is in sharp contrast to Japan, where are are many series of books known as "shinsho" on various topics by their respective experts in a concise and plain language at an affordable price. Once a month I check the websites of the major Japanese publishers of these series, add those new books that interest me to my wishlist, and buy and read about 20 during my annual visit to Japan. Unfortunately, Japan is rather lagging behind in ebook publishing and its support of EPUB, which is the de facto universal format for ebooks in the rest of the world.

I always wished there were similar books in English, which are far more accessible than Japanese books to someone who lives outside Japan. To my great joy, I stumbled rather recently upon Very Short Introductions from Oxford University Press, a series of shinsho-like books in English on various intellectual disciplines by their respective authorities. I have also found that many of them are available as ebooks. This week I bought several ebooks of this highly successful series. It did not take me a long time to find to my dismay that they use digital rights (some say "restrictions" mockingly) management protection, which means that I can only read them with Adobe Digital Editions. But I soon found a way to remove it; I use this method solely in order to read them with a more comfortable lightweight devise, and not in order to copy and forward them to others. I have already added about 120 out of the available 300 books of this series to my wishlist. I hope I will be able to read a few of them every month, mainly while I am on my way to my work place and back home.

Reading ebooks with a notebook computer is not always so comfortable. This is another reason that has made me buy an ebook reader. Having examined and compared various candidates, I have come to a conclusion to buy PocketBook IQ, as it seems to support more languages, including Hebrew and Japanese, and more ebook formats, including PDF and EPUB, than any other ebook reader that I have found.