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#89231 - 02/17/10 09:11 PM Electronic Reading Devices
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
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Got an Amazon Kindle? Considering getting a B&N Nook? Love your Sony Reader? Can't imagine ever reading a book in electronic format? Then this is the place for you.

I've thought about getting a Kindle (or an equivalent reader), but I just don't think that I can handle pleasure reading in electronic form. I love the heft of the book in my hand and the texture of the pages and the smell of the ink. However, if enough books from my field start become available in electronic form, I would totally spring for a reader. I think that being able to search 100 academic texts for a keyword or phrase would be an incredible advance in my ability to mine books for information.

What do you think?

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#89233 - 02/17/10 09:52 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
Sylver
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Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 248
Loc: Lexington, KY

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I think I'm with you, LaSalleUGirl... I've thought about it, and I suspect if my husband and I weren't in grad school he'd probably buy me one for Christmas. I probably wouldn't use it for pleasure reading, but if I could get all my academic books on there? I would love it and hold it and call it my Holy Grail.
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#89235 - 02/17/10 10:33 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Sylver]
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
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Sylver, or if not the Holy Grail, perhaps this:
http://xkcd.com/548/

Heh.

In other e-reader related news, the British Library has announced that it is going to make 65,000 ebooks (primarily 19th century fiction) available for free sometime this Spring. Moreover, these will be allegedly be facsimile editions of 19th century copies that include the typeface and illustrations in the originals.

http://tinyurl.com/yc69tjt

Is that enough to drive any of us skeptics into the arms of an e-reader? Several of my Victorianist friends have been convinced by this news. But, then, for them, these books count as academic texts, not (just) pleasure reading...

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#89247 - 02/18/10 07:57 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
GingerCat
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Registered: 04/12/03
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I don't know. I think the Kindle seems like a good device, and I certainly have no objections to the idea of it, but my reservations are follows:

1. I get tired of reading blogs, articles, etc., that imply we are only months away from the traditional book's demise. These devices are prohibitively expensive for many people. Further, I've been riding a commuter train for the past two years and for most of that time I have not seen a soul using an e-reader. People read magazines, books, bibles, the free commuter newspaper, but NO e-readers. This changed after this Christmas, though--I have now seen a grand total of two (2) people using one. Clearly it's going to be some time before the Kindle truly sweeps the nation.

2. If I had a Kindle, I would be downloading cheap and free books all the time. Meanwhile, I have a TBR pile that's verging on a mountain. I don't need to be able to add to it so easily.

3. Of course, as LaSalleUGirl mentioned, there's the sensory experience of reading hard-copy books. It's just not as much fun to browse and skim on a screen! It's going to be many generations before the people who like reading traditional books have perished from the earth.

I can see where Kindles can be useful for students, people who travel A LOT, people who like to read but see no need to have shelves full of books (I have one friend who fits this description), and people who just want to be able to read periodicals or on the commuter train/bus only. But most casual readers probably won't want to invest in a Kindle, and many passionate readers will still see the need for hard copies.

That's not to say I will never, ever get one. I will resist for a few years, as I did with the cell phone and the iPod, and then I will give in and probably love it. In the meantime, I better tackle Mt. TBR.

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#89248 - 02/18/10 08:09 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: GingerCat]
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
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See, here's the only reason I am considering one: I like to take long vacations. Really long ones. I'll be in China/Tibet/Nepal for about a month for the next one. Schlepping along reading material for a month, when all of your things need to fit in a backpack, is rather onerous. Heaven forbid I run out of reading material, because then I'll panic; the last time I was in Asia I didn't bring enough to read and wound up with The DaVinci Code (this tells you how desperate I was) from a backpacker paperback store in Bangkok and a bootleg Memoirs of a Geisha that was missing the last page of the story. A trip to Africa took me through the first 9 Vlad Taltos books (and I almost ran out during the trip).

So, Kindle? Small and light relative to amount of reading material. I know 2 folks IRL who have one, and they rave about it. But I also worry about running out of power (because I'm frequently between sources of power) and the ensuing panic of not having anything to read, although said friends have said the battery life is long.

I considered just sucking it up and bringing Gormenghast on the next trip as my way of forcing myself to read it. Then again, you don't want anything too dense, because it *is* vacation after all.

It's a dilemma, I tell you!

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#89249 - 02/18/10 08:22 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: viva]
GingerCat
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 Quote:
the last time I was in Asia I didn't bring enough to read and wound up with The DaVinci Code (this tells you how desperate I was) from a backpacker paperback store in Bangkok and a bootleg Memoirs of a Geisha that was missing the last page of the story.

I don't want to over-romanticize this dilemma, but sometimes it can be serendipitous too. Last fall I was in New Orleans for a business trip and unexpectedly finished the book I had brought, so after work was over for the day I went hunting for a bookstore. I found Faulkner House Books, a tiny independent bookstore housed in a building where Faulkner had once lived. They carried three types of books: (1) literary fiction; (2) poetry; (3) books about New Orleans. The clerk said the store's buyer read had read every book in the store--she only stocked books she personally felt were good. (Imagine that!) And the novel I bought, Trouble by Kate Christensen, was quite good, and now I have the book as a souvenir of my trip. Would never have happened if I had a Kindle!

But I'm actually just derailing the thread with my sentimentality now. I fully understand why a Kindle would be wise for a traveler like you, viva!

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#89250 - 02/18/10 11:12 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: GingerCat]
essay
Ching Shih


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This isn't the same as buying a light portable little reader, but I thought I would mention that you can actually download a Kindle reader for free on to your own computer. And I, who work at an indie book store did it. It's nothing particularly exciting in this mode--the text reads pretty much like it does in any other eformat. It's servicable but not romantic.

I did it because a novelist I have read and much enjoyed, Declan Burke, after getting a book published by Houghton Mifflin--The Big O--found that they not only weren't going to pick it up in paperback, where these days the real distribution in mysteries happens, but also summarily cancelled their publication of his second book, Crime Always Pays, which happens to be the sequel to The Big O, and thus required reading for a fan like me. The only way you can get it over here is on the Kindle.

This isn't the first time that a book I would like to read is only available as an ebook, though it is the first time it's a kind of Kindle exclusive. My loyalties are conflicted. I like books in traditional book form, I find the reading experience itself better and deeper, but if I have to choose between bookstores, even mine, and authors, I will choose authors every time.

The Kindle version of Declan's book is absurdly cheap, but I'm hoping that if people do read it and review it favorably it will help get him some of the readership and eventually the publishing props he so richly deserves.

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#89269 - 02/21/10 12:00 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: essay]
viva
Ching Shih


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I bit the bullet and bought the Kindle DX. Supposed to be able to run for 2 weeks on a full charge without wireless, 1 week with wireless. Also realized I could buy travel guides and phrase books for the Kindle, thus reducing the space requirements in my travel pack even further. I have high hopes!

I don't think this will replace hard copies of books for me (in fact, I bought the latest Vlad Taltos hardcover in the same Amazon order), but I could see the Kindle really being handy for travel.

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#89284 - 02/23/10 01:23 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: viva]
StephA
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(Off-topic: essay, I've put The Big O on hold at the library! Thanks for the rec!)

Edited by StephA (02/23/10 01:23 PM)

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#89286 - 02/23/10 02:48 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: StephA]
essay
Ching Shih


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That's great, StephA. I hope you like it. I have to admit that I haven't made much progress on the sequel, but that has nothing to do with the novel, just time.
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#89305 - 02/28/10 08:30 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: essay]
Frannie Glass
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I have a Kindle and LOVE it. I got one when they first came out, and by now I've saved enough on Kindle books that it's paid for itself.
I still have plenty of "real books"- (mostly my favorites, but that's still 3 large bookshelves full), and still buy real books, but only those by my favorite authors or those with really pretty covers. I also still get books from the library, so about 1/2 of my reading is done on the Kindle and 1/2 is traditional format.
I wasn't sure how I'd deal with not holding a real book while reading, but after the first couple of minutes, I haven't noticed. I love being able to buy a book at 1 in the morning and be reading it moments later.
I do run into the problem that GingerCat suggested -- my Kindle is full of classics and random books I found for free, which just makes it another receptacle for my TBR list, but at least they're not filling up my shelves. :)

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#89306 - 02/28/10 09:25 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Frannie Glass]
essay
Ching Shih


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Frannie, I think in one way or another, your experience is going to be the way it will go at least for the near future. I'm not sure if people will be as attached to books as objects as I am, but I think filling one's bookshelves with the books one cherishes rather than just a random hodgepodge like mine is a laudable goal.

I do think the TBR pile becomes more invisible on an ereader, but maybe that is not such a terrible thing.

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#89307 - 02/28/10 11:56 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: essay]
Georgina
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I wouldn't know how to decorate my home without books. However. I do see the value in an e-reader for when I travel. I don't wander about too frequently but frequently enough that stuffing two trade paperbacks in my purse, a couple more in my suitcase (okay, three or four in case I can't choose or am not in the mood for whatever's in my hand) plus buying another while waiting in the airport, becomes a bit much to carry.

The Kindle just became available in Canada a few months ago, and my friend's husband bought one for her for her birthday. Then he made off with it. So she bought him one of his own, and made off with his, because he'd downloaded a bunch of books to hers. So.

Anyway, when she first got her Kindle she was all in a flurry at the office trying to get ready to leave on a trip, and she wanted some books downloaded to her Kindle to take with her. She hadn't figured out the downloading how-to yet and asked me to figure it out and "put books" on her Kindle so she'd have something to read on the plane.

I'm not a New York Times bestseller reader. Most current, popular, bestseller stuff isn't by authors I enjoy reading. And that appears to be the majority of material available for Kindle. I was surprised, actually, at how limited the selection was as I searched for books I'd readily recommend to load on my friend's Kindle and not one of them was available. That gives me pause.

One of the weird effects of reading an e-book that my friend's husband is finding is not being able to mark progress in a book just by looking at it. We're simultaneously reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and he keeps asking me how far he is through the book if he's at such-and-so part. There's something missing by not being able to just look at the thing and see that you're half-way through.

However, he enjoys the built-in dictionary, being able to highlight paragraphs or sentences that catch his attention that he wants to revisit. He thinks he can read pages faster on the Kindle but I think that there's less text on a Kindle page than the paperback page. I'll have to line them up side-by-side and see. He enjoys it quite a bit.

I like the gizmo. Which is what I keep telling these two when they try to convince me to buy one too. Yes, I like the gizmo. I like the portability, the ease of reading, the weight as compared to a hardcover book. All of that. Spiffy gizmo-doodad. Yes. What I don't like is Amazon's limited library. They currently don't carry a big selection of the type of stuff I enjoy reading. Further than that, though, I don't like Amazon's approach to this at all. I don't want to be restricted to them as my bookseller, which is currently how it is. You can only purchase books from Amazon on the thing. I don't like that in the least.

The Sony reader has a deal with Google books to access their free library of out of copyright material and a deal with Chapters -- a Canadian bookseller, which, sorry, but I kind of like supporting Canadian businesses whenever possible. Sony's e-reader is way more expensive, though, and requires a live Internet connection to download. Kindle, granted, lets you download a book from the middle of a lake while in a rowboat, but what are the odds that's going to be a huge motivating factor for me? I think I can organise to load, oh, a few hundred books on an e-reader before wandering out of all possible wi-fi zones.

There are few e-readers out of the UK that I've heard about (and can't recall the names of at this moment) that I'd like to explore a little more. They are significantly less expensive and aren't proprietary like Amazon.

Eventually I know I'll get one. I won't ever stop owning and reading physical, actual books. But I can see having a book to throw in my purse as a super handy thing that I'd enjoy very much. I just want the right one. So far, I'm convinced that the Kindle isn't it.

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#89308 - 03/01/10 02:02 AM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Georgina]
essay
Ching Shih


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I think the limitedness of Kindle's choices was one of the things that struck Nicholson Baker in his New Yorker article: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/03/090803fa_fact_baker

Frankly, I couldn't care less about the Kindle in itself. I think Amazon is delusional if they think they are going to channel people to only buy Kindle versions of things. They've already made a few big mistakes, first with that accidental stripping of gay and lesbian themed titles from their rankings, and then pulling all MacMillan titles in a pricing war. Both things were fixed or reversed, but it is worrisome, especially if they were to become the only real channel. I think people are too trusting about this kind of stuff. Luckily, there's some fierce competition for marketshare here, so I don't think they'll be a monopoly in the near future. Hate to have to rely on capitalism for free speech issues, though.

Working in a bookstore as I do, I have to shake my head sometimes. Books are not actually very lucrative. The discount from the publisher is much lower than most stuff you'll buy retail, and with heavy discounting, well, no one is making much money. I don't quite get what their long game is here. Maybe its just a mindless mechanism that no one has control over anymore.

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#89311 - 03/02/10 08:30 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: essay]
Frannie Glass
Ching Shih


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Georgina, just a couple of things then I have to run off to make dinner-
There's a bar along the bottom of the screen that shows how far along you are in the book, and even gives you a percentage of how far you've read. I do miss the page numbers, however. I especially miss them during book club meetings...

You can also adjust the font size on the screen, so you can go from approximately the same number of words as a paperback to significantly less.

There are ways to get around books not being available - the Amazon format is a mobi format, so if you can find/buy a mobi copy of the book you want you're set. (Mostly. I think.) A large number of the titles on mine were not purchased from Amazon. But if you don't want to go to that trouble, and Amazon doesn't have what you want, I can definitely see how that would be a dealbreaker.

ETA: I should add that where I said in my previous post that my "real books" took up 3 large bookshelves, what I meant was 3 large bookcases- quite a bit more than just 3 shelves.


Edited by Frannie Glass (03/02/10 08:34 PM)

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#89313 - 03/03/10 06:37 AM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Frannie Glass]
naomism
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I don't think I'm ready to give up books I can hold in my hands. When I was a teenager, I read a book called "An Alien Music"--one of my favorite books from my childhood and one I searched for and finally was able to purchase second-hand as an adult. The plot involves the characters going into outerspace to start a colony on Mars (I'm leaving out a lot here) and in one scene, two characters discuss the decision to bring books on the spaceship despite the relative lack of space. The character who had made the decision merely said that history and facts could be read on a computer, but that he wanted the children to be able to hold the books in their hands. He didn't explain why this was important, but the reader perceives that it is. I think this passage has profoundly affected how I view books as opposed to electronic devices.

Recently, a friend and I were discussing Kindle and he was lamenting that people actually gave him paper books for Christmas/his birthday. I, of course, am feeling deprived here on my deployment because I only brought about 50 books with me--I'm hardly surrounded as is my usual wont. I like to be able to write in my books (and I suppose I could do this with a kindle) but for graduate school purposes (where I'm headed next), I like having the markings in the book as I thumb through to discuss a passage in class or write about it in a paper. I don't think I'll buy a kindle or other sort of electronic reading device until I can get out of print books (like Mara Kay's Masha) electronically and they are still not available in print.

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#89314 - 03/03/10 06:16 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: naomism]
viva
Ching Shih


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Well, I've got my Kindle now. Some random initial thoughts:

I think it's going to work well for me in terms of travelling (both for fun and for work), for buying cheap copies of books I'm not sure I'll like (much like I do today with mass-market paperbacks).

Not sure if I can parse through the Kindle as quickly as I can through a print copy.

I love the immediate gratification of a downloadable book.

I love that my backpack is going to be lighter by the 5 books and 2 travel guides that I won't need to bring.

The important books, the really good ones, must be in print format still.

I downloaded a ton of free classics from Amazon. I wonder if this will get me to finally read them?

I would LOVE it if, when I bought a paper book, if I also got a digital copy that I could keep on the Kindle. Then I could have all of my favorites with me all the time.

I'm travelling in a couple of weeks for work, and I'm going to give it a run and only bring the Kindle for reading material.

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#89315 - 03/03/10 08:23 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Frannie Glass]
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
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 Originally Posted By: Frannie Glass
Georgina, just a couple of things then I have to run off to make dinner-
There's a bar along the bottom of the screen that shows how far along you are in the book, and even gives you a percentage of how far you've read. I do miss the page numbers, however. I especially miss them during book club meetings...

You can also adjust the font size on the screen, so you can go from approximately the same number of words as a paperback to significantly less.


I don't know that my friend is aware of the bar at the bottom showing the percentage of the book that he's read. I'll tell him. What I understood from him was missing just being able to turn the thing sideways and have a visual representation of how much he's read by seeing how many pages were to the left and how many to the right. Maybe the percentage bar will eventually substitute for him, though.

I was aware of the font size change capability, and I don't know what font size he's using. He may very well be using a larger font and only thinks he's winging through pages faster. I don't know.

As for having to hunt for compatible e-books, I suppose if you have the time and energy to do so, then I guess. Can you connect the Kindle to your computer and download using hardware rather than their strictly wireless function? As best I can tell from my friends' Kindles, I don't know that they can search the Internet on their Kindle so -- but I'm not certain of that -- I don't know how all of the mechanics of that would work. My point, however, is that I'm not interested in supporting a company that's working really hard to back people into a corner and restrict their options. I don't want any part of that.

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#89321 - 03/04/10 01:39 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Georgina]
Amanda the Nasty
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/08/06
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I'm seeing a parallel conversation in my STC Lone Writer's SIG mailing list. The issue there surrounds being able to read the organization's publications on an e-reading device.

One person over there commented that she thought that all publications (magazines, newspapers, etc.) are going to go the e-reader route eventually because it's the only way to be profitable and sustainable.

Personally, I'm extremely partial to holding and having the actual book. I have read electronic versions of books that I've downloaded or checked out of the library, but it's just not the same.

I won't be buying any e-reading device any time soon.

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#89359 - 03/13/10 09:17 AM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Amanda the Nasty]
viva
Ching Shih


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I'm liking my Kindle thus far; am giving it the pre-vacation test run this week and it's fine. I still love and want my physical books but this is a device that's going to make me happy for travel reading, as well as for test runs of books that I'd ordinarily try out in MMPB.

An interesting side effect - having downloaded a bunch of free classics, they're sitting on my Kindle and technically on my TBR list. But I don't feel the "pressure" of having a physical book on the TBR shelf. It's like they don't exist on the Kindle until I read them. Is the Kindle the Schrodinger's Cat of books?

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#89432 - 03/31/10 09:39 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: viva]
Georgina
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Earlier today, for some reason not known to me, I began wondering about the impact of e-readers on the second-hand book market, lending books to friends, and libraries. All of these usual activities aren't an option with an e-reader. I'm not certain I'm keen on that, either.
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#89458 - 04/13/10 11:59 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Georgina]
Georgina
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These posts are far enough apart that I think it's okay to write consecutive posts. I now have two friends who have the Sony Touch Screen reader and they are very happy with those. I object to Sony's readers far less because they accept all sorts of e-text formats that allow the owner to purchase their reading material from all sorts of sources. No one's limited to The Sony Store, you can use Google Books and The Gutenberg Project and can purchase your books from B & N and even Chapters in Canada. I like all of that very much.

Now I'm focusing my energies on comparing specs for the various readers. Chapters is introducing its own e-reader called Kobo in May. I've seen one made by Aluratek that is actually technologically more fully loaded than any of the bigger name brands at a more reasonable price. And the accessories (such as an AC adapter) aren't extra. So, now my decision is down to which is the superior machine, and Kindle is entirely out of the race.

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#89460 - 04/15/10 02:41 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Georgina]
CaitlinM2



Registered: 03/03/09
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I found this New York Times editorial piece, "Some Thoughts About E-Reading" an interesting meditation on the value of printed books.
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#89548 - 05/09/10 11:27 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: Georgina]
CaitlinM2



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So, quite unexpectedly, I have become the owner of a Kindle, which was a birthday gift from my stepmother, who has had one for a year or so and loves it. (Hers was also a gift, and the chief reason she loves it is that she is a book buyer, and it has saved her lots.) Ironically, she gave it to me the same day I posted the above post.

I have had mixed feeling about e-readers for various reasons that are addressed by others in this thread. Were I buying for myself (not something I imagined doing anytime very soon), I probably would have gone with something other than a Kindle and its associated exclusiveness to Amazon. Positives I have picked up from reading here and elsewhere include compactness for travel (unfortunately not something much applicable to me these days), free public domain and other material, and books that aren't available in print in the US. Cons for myself include that I enjoy the tactile experience of printed books, the initial outlay of money (something obviated by my stepmothers gift to me in my case), and the fact that e-books don't have an endless life in the form of borrowing, swapping, reselling, and passing on.

For my own reading purposes, I currently have little disposable income, and I have bought very few books in the past two and a half years, during which I have read almost entirely shelf-sitters, library books and books lent or passed on to me. I have the Kindle, but I still don't have a lot to spend on books, so most of my use of it is likely to be reading free or cheap selections. I've noticed that the e-versions of many books in mass-market paperback cost as much or almost as much as they do new, with discounts in the latter case, and therefore rather more than they do used, too. I'm betting that any books I want to buy because they are beloved or by beloved authors, I am still going to want in paper.

I'm currently reading my first (free) book on the Kindle, and I'm very aware of reading in the electronic format, with the paging forward and back, and the fact that I'm not yet that comfortable with it, though the screen is certainly fine on the eyes and I appreciate being able to change the font size and margins. I hope I'll soon become more comfortable with it.

 Originally Posted By: Georgina
Earlier today, for some reason not known to me, I began wondering about the impact of e-readers on the second-hand book market, lending books to friends, and libraries. All of these usual activities aren't an option with an e-reader. I'm not certain I'm keen on that, either.


I have noticed that my local library's catalog has a few listings here or there for electronic versions of books. I haven't looked into how that works in terms of borrowing, downloading, etc., and presumably how one can make use of them with a portable device depends on the format they are in and what format one's device reads. I also saw an ad recently for the Nook that suggested that it allows one to share an e-book with one other person (who also has a Nook, presumably).

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#90815 - 04/12/11 12:31 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: CaitlinM2]
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
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So, I got a Kindle about a month ago. Ultimately, I was convinced by viva and GingerCat's arguments about using it for travel. (Um, and also using it for reading books I'm slightly ashamed to be reading... like Flowers in the Attic or the House of Night books. But that wasn't my primary reason for getting it.)

Anyway, I took my Kindle with me to a conference last week, and it was a revelation. For the first time in my entire life, I didn't have to pack a separate bag of books to take on the plane. I had a Kindle full of reading material and the option of sucking something new out of thin air if I decided I didn't feel like reading what I already had. Mindboggling. I've now read three full-length books on the Kindle, plus a few shorter things. Someone said upthread that s/he felt like s/he wasn't parsing the text as effectively as s/he does with a physical book, and I'd have to agree. But the experience of reading on the screen wasn't as bothersome as I had expected.

I'm still struggling with the idea that I can't share what I've read. Under ordinary circumstances, I'd be trying to press my copy of Faithful Place into the hands of anyone who seemed even remotely interested. It bugs me that I can't do that with the Kindle copy I just finished.

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#90816 - 04/12/11 12:45 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
Erin W
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The Kindle has or will soon have a share/lend function now. I know this because I have been researching e-readers to buy one for my mom when she retires at the end of this month. The way it works (I think) is you 'send' the book to the friend you want to lend it to and they get access to it for 2 weeks or whatever. The Nook has a similar function, as Caitlin M2 noted above.

Drawback: anyone you want to lend a book to has to have the same e-reader that you have.


Edited by Erin W (04/12/11 12:46 PM)
Edit Reason: additional info

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#90818 - 04/13/11 04:57 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 958
Loc: Houston TX

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LSUG - ha! I have all of the Flowers in the Attic series on my Kindle. Quickly tucked away in a collection after reading so they wouldn't be so obvious. Another little ancillary benefit.
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#90823 - 04/17/11 10:56 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: viva]
CaitlinM2



Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 457
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

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Heh, I hadn't thought about the potential for disguising shameful reading via Kindle. I'll have to remember that. A year later, I'm still not buying many books, so am not using my Kindle much - though I have bought a couple on Kindle and also read some free/cheap ones on it. I'm also stuck on buying in paper books I want to own because I love the author or book, because I like books as physical objects, want to be able to lend them, and also because e-books seem less permanent to me (despite the fact that Amazon keeps Kindle purchases for you and they're not married to the device). The Kindle will definitely accompany me traveling, though.

On the cost front, I preordered Faithful Place in hardback from Amazon, and by the time it shipped, the price was down to around a dollar more than the Kindle price (I see it's gone up again), making the cost a wash. Portability goes to Kindle, of course, and lendability to the paper version (and I have lent it).

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#91037 - 08/23/11 01:14 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: CaitlinM2]
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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I've read a couple books so far on my iPhone, via an app called Kobo. It's super handy having it on the subway, especially when I've already got it out to listen to music as I walked to the subway. However, I'm having a hard time with it - I can't figure out how to download new books. I know I've done it, but now I can't figure it out. Does anyone else have on of these?
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#91040 - 08/26/11 10:40 AM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: VegetarianOnHiatus]
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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I guess I can't modify my post, so sorry for the double post. I figured out that they've changed the Kobo app so you can't download books from it. I went to their Web site and did it that way. Yay! But it doesn't look like they have Wharton for free anymore, which is a bummer. I did get all of Austen, since I just started rereading Pride & Prejudice (after just having watched the tasty Colin Firth adaptation this week).
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#91051 - 09/07/11 09:47 AM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: VegetarianOnHiatus]
GingerCat
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/12/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Philadelphia

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So since the last time I posted in this thread, about a year and a half ago, I've gone ahead and bought a Kindle. To be precise, I bought one in fall 2010 when the price went down. My thoughts:

1. I loved it at first, but that may have just been the fun of having a new gadget.

2. I like it for stuff that's hard to get otherwise. I've bought a few books that are otherwise out of print, or Kindle Singles (admittedly some of the Singles are free on byliner.com, but they're much more convenient to read on the Kindle). I also like all the free public-domain stuff, although I don't think I've read any of the many free books I've downloaded yet.

3. Like you Flowers in the Attic fans, I like it for somewhat trashy stuff I don't want anyone to see me reading. I also like it for page-turners, mass market stuff I don't feel the need to physically own, and that moves quickly enough that the small screen doesn't bother me. The Hunger Games series, for instance.

4. I don't like it for literary fiction or creative nonfiction. There's something limited about reading deeper stuff on the Kindle. I don't know if it's the small screen, the greyish background, the fact that it's difficult to go back and reread passages . . . whatever it is, reading this kind of stuff is not at all satisfying on the Kindle. That's a big problem for me.

5. For obvious reasons, it's good for travel. However, the first time I flew with it, I didn't anticipate having to shut it off for taxi, takeoff, ascent, and landing. After spending way too much time with the in-flight magazine, I realized that I'd have to bring a physical book/magazine with me on future trips, which kind of defeats the purpose of the Kindle for travel. I still see its usefulness for long trips, but since my trips are always less than a week, physical reading material works just fine.

6. I'm getting very alarmed by the demise of Borders, and B&N's continuing financial troubles, to say nothing of those of independent bookstores. The fact is, I love bookstores, even big-box ones. They're home to me. I love browsing new books, looking at the covers, picking them up and reading a few passages, etc. I worry this shift to e-reading is going to end with next to no physical bookstores--or physical books. This is unacceptable to me, and it's become (although I hesitate to use this word) a moral issue for me in a way. I want to spend my money in my neighborhood. I want to support the businesses that I want to keep in my neighborhood. That includes lots of local establishments, like restaurants. It also includes bookstores. So I'm now very reluctant to even buy anything on the Kindle.

So, ultimately, the Kindle is nice for what it is. But I rarely use it. Instead, it's increased my commitment to physical books, and I'm more than comfortable with that. I realize e-readers are the pretty much inevitable future of books/reading, but I'm hoping the physical book and bookstore can hold off their complete demise until after my own.

ETA: A lot of people have lamented that big-box stores marginalized small-press books over big blockbusters. However, I can't imagine how anything can marginalize "smaller" books more than an e-reader. Basically, if you can't physically see a wide array of books in front of you, as in a bookstore or library, it's difficult to even know they exist. Perhaps the smaller presses can find a way to make e-books work to their advantage, as some indie music labels have done with music downloads. But I'm not too optimistic.

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#91054 - 09/08/11 09:10 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: GingerCat]
essay
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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Thanks for that excellent and very balanced view of the Kindle experience, Ginger Cat. Frankly, even though I work in an indie bookstore, I've seen that Kindle has actually made some great ebooks available that wouldn't have been available any other way. I've got writing friends whose reputations will probably be made on ebooks, ultimately. I wish that Kindle was more an open platform kind of publisher and I have other reservations. But what I really wish and hope is that all the book formats and locations could co-exist.

I feel the same way about supporting indies as I did 10 or 15 years ago. If you view your local bookstore as one of the 'great, good places' in your life, you need to support it. Otherwise it isn't going to be there for long.

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#91452 - 02/16/12 12:14 AM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: essay]
CaitlinM2



Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 457
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

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I've recently been borrowing ebooks from the library, and reading them on my Kindle. There's a service that distributes digital media (ebooks and audiobooks) via public libraries all over (you can search for your library system here). You check books out online through your local library with your card and download them. The service supports various ebook formats and many devices.

The selection certainly pales in comparison to what my library has in physical books, but there's a decent amount to choose from and I love the instant gratification factor of browsing for available books and being able to borrow one and begin reading right away.

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#91454 - 02/16/12 11:04 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: CaitlinM2]
Erin W
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/02/06
Posts: 362
Loc: Ohio

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I adore the Overdrive system! I check out mp3 audiobooks all the time. I do cheat, sometimes, though; I'll rip the mp3s to disc so that I can keep them as long as I want.
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