Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kindles and eReaders

If you've been anywhere near the writing blogs lately, then you've seen the buzz about the lastest version of Kindle. I have to admit, I haven't paid much attention to e-readers. I'd assumed most of them were tiny little devices the size of my cell phone, and insisting that I see more than two sentences of a book at a time, I figured I'd stick with my old standards.

But then I saw a Kindle demonstration and realized it was more like a real book than I realized. From what I've seen, the device is about the size of a paperback, can be read in the sun (no screen glare like a computer or TV), you can flip around to different pages, read the ending if you want then come back to the spot you bookmarked. And the Kindle even allows you to highlight text, make comments, and read Word documents, apparently.

As a Harlequin author, I have to admit that e-books are something I should be rooting for. The print versions of my books have a shelf life of 4 weeks. After that, you can buy them new from or for another 5 months or so. At that point, you can only get them used, and authors don't get royalties off used book sales. Conversely, the e-book format stays around forever, endlessly paying royalties and giving readers full access to all my backlisted titles. As an author, that's a big win.

But as a reader, can I really make that leap to e-book? One of my greatest joys is going to Borders and perusing the bargain book table. It's where I've found a number of new-to-me authors. On the flipside, all those books take up space in my house, and I've found myself having to give away lots of paperbacks because I don't have room to keep them. As a hoarder of books, the idea of holding onto all of them in the space of a little chip is pretty intriguing.

So here I am, seriously pondering e-book readers and wondering which one I should be setting my sights on. There's Kindle, which offers the most titles, and I can get them wirelessly from just about anywhere I happen to be standing. But if Kindle books go the way of Beta Video in the race for e-book technology, I don't want to be stuck with a bunch of books I can't read. Therefore, something that reads PDF, such as the Sony e-Reader, has merit. But I hear the makers of Ipod are coming out with something that could blow the lid off everything that's out right now, which leaves me thinking I should wait it out and see what floats to the surface.

I'm curious to know what you all think about the new e-reader technology. Do any of you have e-readers, and if so how did you end up with the one you've got? And if you don't, are you considering getting one? Pros and cons, anyone?


Terry S said...

I've been reading ebooks (including yours) for many, many years to the point that I now prefer ebooks over paper. I'm too practical and let's face it, even stingy, to buy a one note product when for the same price I can have a product that performs a multitude of functions. Let me tell you about another option that works well for me.

I looked seriously at both Sony and Kindle before deciding that a mini netbook was the answer for me. For less than the cost of either a Sony or a Kindle, I have a product that does everything either of them can do plus so much comment on your blog today.

After trying so many different ebook reader formats over the years, my preference is Ereader. I won't even consider a dedicated ebook reader until/unless that function is available without me jumping through hoops to read the ebooks I already own.

I also am very leery of ANY device that is proprietary in nature. I will not throw my discretionary dollars towards any product that does not allow me the freedom to choose where I buy my ebooks.

For me any shortcomings for reading off the mini-notebook screen instead of an e-ink screen is more than compensated for by the versatility I have. I love how I can rotate the screen so when I cozy up to read in the evening, I feel as if I am actually holding a hard cover book.

As for those times of waiting for appointments or in lines, portability is obtained with PDA. Hey, I have no problem with having a used PDA. Less money after all. I did mention stingy, didn't I? (How appropriate. My word verification today is "mizer". LOL)

Good luck with your own ebook reader decision. Whatever you choose to do, I hope you love this whole new dimension of reading as I do.

Estella said...

I have been looking at the Kindle, but the price is too high for my budget right now.

Pat Cochran said...

I won my e-reader in a blog drawing.
It was an author's first and she was
getting a new one. (She hated to
toss out a still-working well item)
I'm still trying to learn to operate
mine because I am the most challenged
person alive!

Pat Cochran

Pat Cochran said...


My comment should have read:

Electronically- challenged

Pat Cochran

Lori Borrill said...

Wow, Terry, thanks for all the great advice! I've never even heard of a netbook. I'm definitely going to have to look into it, as you make some really good points.

Estella, I'm with you. I figure if I wait a year or two, the cream will rise to the top and the price will go down as well.

And Pat, LOL! I knew what you meant.

Mariee said...

I don't have an e-reader and don't have any plans on getting one either. I might try one out though someday. My DH says I'm old fashioned, but I just love reading magazines and books. Nothing beats the smell and feel of reading a real book.

rho said...

I have a Kindle - in fact my second Kindle and I love it! And I will admit to a guilty secret - I have a bunch of Harlequin books on my Kindle because I read the descriptions on Amazon - while I never bought them in stores - I have thought and thought and wondered and wondered on why that is - and the only thing I can come up with is I am not a fan of the cover art on Harlequin. Stupid reason I know but there you go.

Now I have a LOT more authors I read because of the Kindle :D

I think that Amazon will be the company to go the farthest on the ereader front - books are their main business and people go to them in the middle of the night in their pj's to shop (always a benefit to me)

I have also found a bunch of new authors that I will be reading and enjoying because of the occasional free books offered thru Amazon - in fact I have bought a few complete series of books because of the one free one I read.