Saturday, September 04, 2010

E-Book World of the Future

Can you stand one more post about e-readers, Dear E-Reader? I am thinking about e-readers again because yesterday on Facebook, Rhys Bowen asked for the following advice; “I want to get a Kindle”, she said, “even though I love my real books. But it would be useful for travel. Any thoughts on Kindle V. Nook, or spring for an iPad?”

She had amassed 15 comments by the time I saw the entry. Opinions about which e-reader was best were all over the map, and if Rhys was able to make a decision based on her ‘friends’ comments, she’s a better maker-out of heads from tails than I. I couldn’t even understand some of them. i.e. “The problem with the Sony and the Kindle is the DRM. You can use many more formats on the iPad.”


Sometimes it’s sad and inconvenient to be as electronically disinclined as I. Not because technology is beyond me, but because I am so desperately uninterested in it. And yet, time marches on, technologies change, and one has to make some sort of minimal effort to keep up. Especially if you’re a writer and would like to have your work available to the reading public.
I haven’t bought an e-reader for myself yet. Not because I have any moral objection, but more because I am what my husband charitably calls “penurious”, but most people call shockingly cheap. However, I haven’t been in a position to do much traveling in recent years, so I haven’t been motivated to try the convenience of an e-reader. When I do, and I’m sure I will, I’ll base my purchasing decision on the way it feels in my hand, how easy it is on my eyes, and you guessed it, price.

Is e-reading a good thing? Here are a couple of other comments I’ve seen lately:
Kaye Wilkinson Barley noted, also on Facebook, “I'd have to say I'm probably buying more books (real books) than ever. The reason is that I'm now able to try ‘new to me’ authors relatively inexpensively on my iPad, liking them and then buying their new ‘real’ book when it comes out.”

A couple of weeks ago, there was an editorial in the Arizona Republic newspaper, by Robert Robb, called “Feeling Guilty for Using an E-reader”. Robb contends that e-readers are contributing to the demise of big chain bookstores. Too bad, he thinks, and yet he bought a Kindle for a recent trip to Japan and it has changed his book buying habits enormously. “I’m much more willing to impulse buy at the e-price than the hardcover price...The marginal cost of an e-book is virtually nothing, So, the rise of e-books has to change the relative market power in favor of authors and readers compared to book publishers. I’m certainly okay with that.” (Read the entire editorial here.)

Secretly, I’m okay with it too. Except for the fact that I can see I’m going to have to acquire a skill set that doesn’t particularly interest me.

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