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


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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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
Ching Shih


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
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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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
Ching Shih


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

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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
Posts: 958
Loc: Houston TX

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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
Ching Shih


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

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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


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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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


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

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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
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/13/02
Posts: 2744
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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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


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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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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