Tell Me About It

So … some of you have e-readers now. Right? Some have a Nook, some have a Kindle, others a Sony Reader, others still the iPad … but you might have one. I know for a fact I don’t.

I can read reviews all day long, but I really want to hear from someone who owns one, someone I trust, what they’re like. What are the pros and cons? The good, the bad, the ugly. Tell me about it all.

Maybe you don’t have one; maybe you only know someone who has one, but they’ve told you about it. Now, I’m asking you to tell ME about it.

So sound off if you can: what’s the fuss all about?



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18 thoughts on “Tell Me About It

  1. I’ve this one, I’m not sure what brand it is but it was very inexpensive. The pros of it: it uses no electricity and emits no heat or pollution. The cons: it only stores one book.

    Oh wait, I remember what’s it called. It’s called a book.

    I like paper books too, really; but the truth is, they’re going the way of the dinosaur and will be collector items soon, like fine pens and proper spelling.

    Remember that book Oasis by Bryce something or other. I don’t remember his name. From my understanding, that book was made available on his website chapter by chapter for free viewing. I could have read it there. Instead, I read the actual book, bound sheets of paper.

    Bryce Beattie. Yes, I remember. And you’re right, he did make it available online before he sold it as a print book. I liked it in both formats, but the eReader and eBook aren’t going anywhere. It’s been predicted the eBook will represent 75% of sales for publishers/authors in five years by some industry people. Right now it’s anywhere from 10 to 25% depending on who’s providing the figures. And J. A. Konrath is talking about making $120,000USD in 2010 from eBook sales with self-published titles. It IS the future of publishing, whether we like it or not.

    It feels weird to read a book on an electronic screen. I need the tactile satisfaction of holding a book in my hands.

    I’m that way too. Tactile and more — I like the smell of the pages of a book too.

    Besides, if I drop a book in the toilet while I poop, so what, I’m out the cost of a book. If I drop a Kindle in the toilet, well, that’s a lot more than just the price of a book. And let’s face it, I can’t read unless I’m on a bus or a toilet (I know, in this town, what’s the difference? hehehe).

    AHAHAHAHA! That’s funny! Seriously, if you have a toilet big enough to drop a Kindle in while you’re dumping. PLEASE let me know where you got it. My butt-squeezer won’t accommodate my hippopotamASS and AIR, nevermind a Kindle.

  2. I want to know too. After looking at all of them, I think I’d buy a Nook.

    There’s another one out I just read about, some $30 less than the others, but I don’t remember the name or the drawbacks. Might be an LCD screen but that would allow for backlighting the others don’t have. Darn. Well, if it comes to mind I’ll update this comment, okay?

  3. I can kind of see the convenience of it – if you’re going on a long trip and want to bring some books, well here’s this little flat thing that has all of them in one compact device (I was playing with them at chapters). It’s very easy to use.

    Hi, Jen, welcome! I’m glad you decided to come out and say hello. 🙂 The convenience of having many books in one small place is the draw for me. Being able to write on it would make it PERFECT. (I thought you could do that with one of them.) A virtual replacement for a writer’s laptop. Although I’d miss Word, I suspect. 😉

    Besides that, though, I would never get one for myself XD It’s wicked expensive for one thing and I just love actual books too much. Kind of the same way in that when I write, I actually write on paper and not on the computer XD I don’t really know why – I just can’t get over the novelty.

    Well, honestly, they’re “wicked expensive” for me too. I can’t afford one, but I keep hoping my situation won’t be what it is now for ever. 🙂 I’ve written more on paper this year than I have in probably the last five prior. It’s got a tactile quality typing misses. But I’m a MUCH faster typist than my penmanship allows. 🙂

    • Hehe, I think they’re pretty pricey for most people =P Though I guess I would only know the price of the one I saw and not some of the others. Maybe you can write on one of the more high tech ones – that would definatly be super useful! And if they haven’t come up with that, I’m sure they will.

      I’d love to do a write-up. Maybe they’d send me one to review. 😉

      Fair enough! I think it’s a pretty even go between typing and writing for me, I can write pretty fast and still have it be fairly neat =P

      Hahaha! There was a time, but now it’s not even close. 🙂

  4. I’ve got an eBookWise. None of that e-ink tomfoolery, just a backlit lcd screen (so I can read at night, but not in bright light…). It’s kind of hefty and getting memory for it is expensive, and it’s also some work massaging documents into the right format, but I love it just the same, especially for reading short stories. It is also very comfortable to hold and navigate. If only it accepted epub files.

    It’s limitations make it sound like maybe it was an early eReader? From a few years back?

    I am planning on getting a kobo reader sometime, though.

    Hm. Not yet available in the US — at least, they don’t have USD prices yet. It looks interesting. I think editing a MS on an eReader might put it over the top for me … you know, if I ever get a job again.

    • yeah, the eBookWise is several years old. My reasoning for the kobo will be this – it accepts the epub, and it’s slated to be cheaper than the others, something like 130-150. I don’t have extra monies right now anyway, so I can’t wait for the US launch…

      Yeah. I saw one recently — and darned if I can remember the name! — that was selling for something less than $120. It didn’t have an e-ink screen either, but I didn’t learn enough about it to say anymore. If I come across it again I’ll let you all know what it was.

  5. I don’t have one yet, but I’m weighing the pros and cons too. A writer said on a forum that she edits her ms on her Sony reader. That alone gives that brand a leg up. Not sure what the others can do. I should find out.

    Yeah, editing on the eReader would put it ahead of the pack for me too. That’s awesome, because you can change fonts and find things you missed before. Looking at the e-ink screen might help too. That’s an exciting feature. Very cool!

  6. I have a Kindle, and I’m happy with it. It’s easier on the eyes to read than most paper books because you can adjust the print size to accommodate your preference. The battery lasts for ages. You can read it in bright sunlight. It’s not backlit, but I don’t like to read in a dark room anyway. My only complaint is that it’s a few ounces too heavy. It’s heavier than your average trade paperback, let alone a mass market format. Because I don’t have a car and usually take books to read on the subway, weight is an option because I’ll be carrying that thing around with me all day while shopping or whatever else I’m up to. If the Kindle weighed half as much I’d be thrilled.

    I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about the Kindle except for Amazon’s “Big Brother” handling of the products you “buy” for it. So it surprises me not at all that you’re so fond of it. 🙂 Thanks for the insight, too!

  7. I think you know The generous Missus got me a Kindle for my birthday. Have to say I love it. I’ll post another more detailed comment when I can use a computer keyboard — this is being done from my phone; WordPress blogs are blocked by the IT department here. There’s always something!

    They’ve been blocked a couple places I’ve worked too. 🙂

  8. I’m too poor for an e-reader at this point. I don’t even have a cell phone. Pathetic. Maybe someday. 🙂

    Well, don’t feel bad, Courtney. I’m too poor for a lot of things — I have a cell phone, but not a land line. And I can’t afford an eReader either. It’s just sort of a dream. We can dream, right? 🙂

  9. A student boarder at my house threatens to buy me a kindle. He prefers the screen on it – easier on the eyes or something.

    I took the history of printing technology at RIT. I love hand press books – to run my hand over the page and feel the impression. Can’t get that in a kindle – even were it 3-D (that will be next).

    A book not only feels so good in your hand, it is a quiet, contemplative art form and shelves of them – that I would miss.

    I agree, there simply isn’t a substitute for books and, in my opinion, they will always be around until/unless processing paper is outlawed. (Don’t laugh … could happen.)

    And I will hate the day open stacks at universities are a thing of the past – serendipity brought me so many treasures.

    I have no problem reading on-line. I visit the Guttenberg Project quite a lot. Mark Twain is there when I want him. There are even some classic translations of the Aenid and other old Greek works. But these are renditions of the original and that is fun to see. Kindle does not do this and even if it did, unless the book is by a good house, print and paper may not appeal anyway.

    I don’t know; even cheap, poorly made books feel good when they’re new. But I’m afraid that’s how ALL books are going to start being produced soon to save money for publishing houses. And with eBooks on the (very fast) rise, it won’t surprise me if the cost dictates dropping print books all together sooner than we think.

    I can make all kinds of adjustments to my computer screen and, well, I have a very comfortable chair in front of it. I’m really old fashioned. I prefer a desktop.

    Desktops are great; laptops have their advantages. I can afford neither, so I’ll make do with what I have. 🙂

    • What do you have, DK?

      Right now I’ve got a desktop. I chose it because I had a laptop and couldn’t upgrade or expand it as I wanted. I thought the desktop option would allow me to add new components and keep the technology more current. It did, but it also is beyond its useful life cycle at this point. 😦 Oh well. I’m stuck with it for now.

  10. PS The only other person who says “tell me about it” is my shrink. You aren’t passing this on for analysis or anything, eh? 🙂

    I’d love to answer, but I see our time is up for today. Why don’t you stop by the front on your way out and make another appointment so we can discuss that? And my bill is in the mail.

    • ROFL – geeze, a great writer you are!

      Thank you so much, I’m flattered. 🙂

      I love that you all love each other in the DK family. Your wife is something. I know she is pressed for time so she will stop by my blog and knock off about 8 blog posts at a time. I feel as if I am running a Christian Science Reading Room or some other sanctuary to the world of words.

      We DO love each other. In one way, that helps us get through the hard times more easily. At the same time, though, we hurt so much more for the suffering the others might have. But we do love one another here at home. 🙂

  11. With apologies in advance for the length of this…

    Nonsense! Feel free!

    Without getting into all the guess-y debates about the future of the industry and such — and speaking just of the Kindle (since I haven’t used any of the others)…

    1. The wireless connection is great (so far) (and yes, it serves Amazon’s purposes, not just mine, that I can contact/search their store when I want). It also gives me rudimentary Web browsing (still experimental/glitchy). I haven’t used it to subscribe to any newspapers, magazines, or blogs, so I can’t speak to that.

    2. Somebody above said it was too heavy. I haven’t found that to be true in general: I like the feel of it in my hands (although mine has a leather book-/journal-like cover, so I’m not handling it by itself). The only time it feels too heavy is when I’ve got a book light clamped to the top, but that’s the fault of the particular light I have: powered by 3 AAA batteries, all-metal (instead of plastic) construction, etc. I’ve ordered a smaller/lighter light and think that problem will go away. (Also, I’d note that I don’t want it to be TOO lightweight; that would actually increase the odds of its being dropped, “accidentally removed,” and so on.)

    3. Reading the e-ink “page” took about a minute to get used to but has since disappeared as a problem. I thought I wanted to boost the contrast, and every now and then a specific page — say, with an image — makes me wish again that I could do that. But really: very easy on the eyes, especially given the adjustable text size. I think they did a good job balancing the ergonomics with (I expect) battery life.

    4. The Kindle’s got a keyboard at the bottom, which would probably frustrate me except that you use it like a Blackberry keyboard — thumbs only. (I’d already gotten used to that from my phone, though, and even prefer it for some limited uses.) This is one feature I do wish were better (nearly all symbols require accessing a special pop-up window), even though it has both Shift and Alt buttons. And because I’ve got the opens-like-a-book cover, getting the left thumb positioned comfortably is a problem unless I fold the cover back, which I don’t like doing.

    5. Another experimental feature — I’ve used it exactly once — enables you to highlight brief passages of text and share them via Twitter and/or Facebook. I’m not THAT into the social-media stuff, but I can see how this would appeal to a lot of people.

    I saw you give this a try earlier this week. Fun stuff!

    6. I’ve started to load it up with reference works which I’ll want to have on hand at almost any time. A lot of these are public-domain/free or at least very low cost (like 99 cents). A dictionary’s built in, and it’s a reasonably good one — includes a lot of proper nouns, for instance; if you move the cursor to a word a small one-line definition (which you can expand to full-screen) appears at the bottom of the screen.

    7. The capacity of the thing means I can keep not just reference books but FAVORITE books on hand. Of course in a lot of such cases I’ve still got the dead-trees versions… at home.


    8. Even if I delete a book from the Kindle, it’s still on Amazon for me to re-download later.

    9. Just the other day I succeeded in putting my WIP on the Kindle. This was partially an experiment to see what’s involved, both with the formatting and with the actual transfer. But it’s also to enable me to read the thing without having to print it out, and keep it with me — and I’ve got all the features of a “real” e-book: adjustable font size, ability to rotate the page orientation if I want, keyword searches, bookmarkable pages, ability to annotate passages… Because of the keyboard, I’m not sure I’d want to actually EDIT the thing this way, though.

    That’s AWESOME. Let us know ASAP how difficult/easy it was to do this!

    10. I definitely like the feel of books, the sound of pages riffling, the aroma of individual books or a bookstore full of used ones. But, y’know, I’m not conscious of those things while reading. When I read, I sorta go into the page mentally. This is 100% unchanged, and ultimately it’s all I really care about. Text is text, story is story, regardless whether the medium smells and feels “nice” or is odorless, smooth as a baby’s head, has deckled or machined edges, etc.

    Probably a lot of truth there.

    11. Likewise, before I actually got one, I had in the back of my head the question about dropping it into the bathtub — or a puddle, or as WIGSF says, the toilet — and frying it. But then it occurred to me that I almost never take baths, just showers, and even at that I don’t think I’ve ever read in the tub. Dropping it into the toilet is pretty implausible, as you picked up on (I’m more likely to drop the phone in the toilet). Puddles etc. — a hazard with any electronic devices, including MP3 players, laptops and, for that matter, my hearing aids. It’s not like keeping this smallish electrical device dry is a survival skill completely new to me, y’know?

    Yes, I do know. Very well. Most of us don’t really concern ourselves with such things, but some do like to read at the beach, in the outdoors settings, etc. Just something someone MIGHT have to consider, I guess.

    12. I still haven’t gotten used to the small inconvenience of not being able to jump back to “that part I just read five minutes ago” — or ahead to see how much more there is in the chapter — without becoming unanchored to the point where I’m currently located in the text. True, I can bookmark a page and use THAT to get back. But there’s no “just leave my thumb on the current page for a sec” counterpart: setting a bookmark takes exactly the same amount of time/effort whether the bookmark is meant to be permanent or temporary and ad-hoc.

    13. I haven’t used the audio jack at the top yet, but I can definitely see the appeal of combining an e-reader with a music player for certain kinds of reading. Looking forward to experimenting with this at some point.

    Let us know how that works! I myself am still undecided on music while writing.

    In general, I think the transition to e-books will resemble any other transition to a new/different technology. It will come with inconveniences and drawbacks… but ultimately people will learn to live with them (or the tech will advance to the point where they no longer apply), for the sake of the NEW conveniences and features they couldn’t even have faked the old way. (No doubt, when cavemen first started to light fires at night, a subset of them swaggered around, sniffed haughtily, and hitched up their fur loincloths, insisting that things were better when we kept watch by moonlight and the stars — and we sure didn’t have to keep getting up to dump another log on the moon every time the previous one burned down! And you couldn’t drop the moon in a river and put it out! It gave everything a much sleeker, more romantic look, than fire ever could! The moon didn’t threaten to get out of control and burn down the whole damn forest! Etc.)

    Much, much truth here. Although, as a counterpoint, look how easily and quickly the iPod displaced and replaced portable media players like CD players and tape decks. Happened VERY quickly to my recollection.

    Writers, I think, will have no choice but to accept the new e-reality. You’ve already started to make that move, and you’re way ahead of a lot of folks, by keeping up with things like Konrath’s experiments with self-publishing.

    Thanks! I’m actually considering publishing stuff on the Kindle store just to see what’s what.

    (Btw, you mentioned the Kobo not being available in the US. Actually it is — Borders has started selling it (along with other e-readers, like the Sony thing). I think it goes for $150.)

    Actually, I meant the USD price wasn’t available from their website which implied to me it wasn’t available here; nice to have this correction, thanks!

    Sorry again about the length!

    Again, no problem, don’t think twice about it. Thank you for such detailed and helpful information — exactly what I wanted! I appreciate the time you spent, JES. 🙂

  12. Okay, I do not have one either and, alas, ALL my friends seem to have different ones. The people I know who love the Kindle, love it, the iPad – ditto. However, a very wonderful writer friend of mine actually swears by her Sony Reader and says you can make notes on it, read manuscripts sent for judging, etc. Let us know what you choose to get and what your thoughts are. 🙂

    If I didn’t have a personal problem with Sony, I’d say it’s the lead candidate with those features! But I do. So, I’ll be sure to let everyone know when (AAAHAHAHAHAHA!) I can afford to get one. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Kimberly!

  13. Pingback: Using a Kindle: Some First Impressions

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