Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reading? It's About Choices

What I'm reading: All in Time, by Ciana Stone

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and pictures, Patricia. And if you ever want to send me another batch for a Friday Field Trip, I'd love to have them.

There's been a lot of buzz about e-books lately. The Blood Red Pencil Blog is running a series on all aspects of the digital world. The New York Times will be doing best seller lists of e-books. More and more authors are taking their back list titles and offering them digitally. More and more companies are coming up with e-reading devices. You can read a book on something as small as a cell phone, or as large as an iPad. Or, on your own computer, laptop, or netbook.

One thing that seems to hover at the base of all these discussions about "the future of publishing" is that some people seem to think it's all or nothing. There will be e-books OR there will be print books. But isn't everything about choice?

I have shelves and shelves of print books. I have boxes and boxes of print books, awaiting bookshelves. Even here, there are choices of formats. Hard cover? Trade paperback? Mass market paperback? And what about those newer tall skinny paperbacks? So why not a choice of electronic as well?

I've had my eBookwise for a fair number of years. When I bought it, there was no such thing as a Kindle, or any other e-book reader. It's served its purpose well. However, content for my eBookwise is getting harder to find now that there are so many readers with all the bells and whistles.

I looked at others, but the flash and delay when turning pages bothered me. Users say, "you get used to it" but what if I didn't? After the seamless page turning on my eBookwise, I was afraid that could be an issue.

After much deliberation, I ordered a Nook Color. Before it was released! (and I never do that). And paid a higher price than if I'd bought another reader, but it had the one feature I wanted. It's back lit, not e-ink. I'll sacrifice a lot of other features, but those are my choices. My favorite feature of the eBookwise is it's back light. I can read in bed. In the dark. The contrast adjusts to suit the light level in the room. I LOVE that feature. I refuse to give it up. All those itty book lights brag about how bright they are. No thanks, I prefer not to blow out my retinas at 2 AM if I wake up and want to read myself back to sleep.

There are those who want to read out in bright sunlight. E-ink is perfect for that. So are paper books.

Another "problem" with print books that's become more obvious when I use my e-reader is that for whatever reason, the print on paperbacks often runs well into the center gutter. This means that to read it, I have to exert a degree of effort holding the book open. Which requires two hands. And isn't relaxing. I actually get wrist strain with some books, depending on thickness. And hard cover books are heavy. They also require 2 hands to read. Which means I have to keep picking up and putting down my adult libation of choice.

Now, by choice, I'm trading in my pushbutton page turning for a touch screen. How will I like it? I will be back once I've had a chance to test it. It's due to ship from the manufacturer on the 19th. And, worse-case scenario—if I don't like it, Hubster should. He's seeing great pre-reviews in places like PC Magazine, and it does the two things he needs: Reads pdf files and displays in color, which is perfect for his scientific journals.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

The e-book revolution is exciting. I've been very conservation up until now. But my YA novel STACY'S SONG has been published both as a trade paperback and in all e-book formats by L&L Dreamspell Publishers. So I've finally entered the electronic age.

Terry Odell said...

Jacqueline - welcome! I started with electronic publishing and expanded to print, so I'm pleased to see the increase in acceptance of e-books.

N. R. Williams said...

Interesting post. I also posted on e-publishing yesterday. Here is a question for your future post. Can you purchase from Kindle for your nook?
Thanks, Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Terry Odell said...

Nancy - I'll be sure to let you know, but part of the problem with e-readers is the proprietary formatting the manufacturers insist on. It'll be a while before they're willing to "share" (which is why I like Smashwords). So, as of now, if you buy from the Kindle Store, you're buying Kindle content. The Nooks are tied to Barnes & Noble. But both allow side-loading of your own content, I believe.

Alan Orloff said...

Nice recap. Every time I think I've finally "decided" on what ereader to get, another newer, better, shinier one gets announced. So I wait to see how that one gets reviewed, and voila, another one gets announced. Maybe I'll just wait until they implant little chips into our brains.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I want to enjoy it all. Like you, I have bags and boxes of books I wasn't willing to give away yet but are waiting to be read or shelved. But I'm getting a Kindle, too, and I have the Kindle App on my computers. I love the choices we have.

Thanks for having me here yesterday, Terry. I'll get to work on those photos. :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

We really are in sync again! Too funny. :)

It was REALLY tough for me to purchase an e-reader. I just didn't want to do it...but I'm glad I did. :) Thanks for your thoughts on them!

Terry Odell said...

Alan - usually right after I buy something, Consumer Reports comes out with its review. But in this case, it was PC Magazine--and they said it's top-notch, so I feel better.

Patricia - I have the Kindle app on my phone for those time when I opt to wait in the car while Hubster pops into the Post Office or fills the gas tank.

Elizabeth - yes, two of a kind. My impetus with my first e-reader was that my books were e-books, and I wanted to read books by fellow authors with the same publisher. And it was cheap.

Ray said...

I must be somewhat of a troglodyte when it comes to reading. I couldn't read all my eBooks in a couple of years. I download them and then they get forgotten while I read print books.


Sam said...

Couldn't agree more, Teri. Sweetie has her Nook and I'm sure that eventually, when I find a platform I like, I'll have an e-reader of my own. That doesn't mean I'll stop buying paper books any more than downloading music has meant I stop buying CDs.

Stephen Tremp said...

I used to have shelves and boxes of books ... then I decided to donate them to Friends Of The Library. They can sell them and use the money to sponsor all kinds of local events.

Terry Odell said...

Ray - I do bounce back and forth, but I also read my ebooks, especially in bed at night.

Sam - so true.

Stephen - we got rid of a LOT of books before we moved, but I have too many keepers.

Trailowner said...

Another e-Bookwise user here. It's not perfect, the NiCad batteries make it clunky and heavier than the rest, but it's about the oldest e-reader in the field.

I wanted one I could read my own work on, as well as my writing group friends' chapters for our monthly meetings. One bonus, my wife will read (and do my proofreading) on the e-Bookwise; where she hates working on a laptop.

Chris H.

Terry Odell said...

Chris - I don't think anything's really "prefect" but I also love being able to upload my WIPs on the reader. And your brain sees the familiar words in a new way, so things you didn't notice will pop out at you. I'm certainly not giving mine up.