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#89305 - 02/28/10 08:30 PM Re: Electronic Reading Devices [Re: essay]
Frannie Glass
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/06/04
Posts: 266
Loc: San Diego

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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


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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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
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

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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


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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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


Registered: 04/06/04
Posts: 266
Loc: San Diego

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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
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

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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


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

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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
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

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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
Posts: 196
Loc: Salt Lake City, UT

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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


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

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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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