Sunday, June 13, 2010

Paper, please.

I've got quite a few ebooks stored on my computer via Kindle for PC, and it's been pretty nice. Since I have a netbook, the compact size makes reading on a computer more convenient than using a desktop or even a standard laptop. And it's lightweight, so I can carry it around almost as easily as you can carry around an ereader.

But, there are disadvantages to reading ebooks with a computer app. First, you have to boot up the computer and start up the app, rather than just hitting the "on" button and going instantly to the book. Also, the screen on a computer is back lit, so it tends to tire your eyes. Plus, the battery life of a netbook is much shorter than that of an ereader, so I have to be able to keep it plugged in a good amount of the time.

This has all gotten me researching ereaders. I like the convenience and ease of buying ebooks. And all the free ones out there--well, who doesn't like free?

I've compared online, and handled both the Nook and Kindle in person. They are both very cool. After careful deliberation, I decided on a Nook.

I won't go into the reasons for that choice, though, because I have since decided against both.

I've just realizded I'm not ready to jump on the boat with both feet yet. I like being able to nab a free ebook here and there. If it's free I don't feel so bad about not reading it if I don't have time. But paying nearly full price for an ebook...I just can't stomach it. If I'm going to spend $10 on a book, I want to be able to put it on my shelf if I love it. Or pass it on to a friend or the library if I don't.

As I said, I've already got several free books on my Kindle for PC. I could buy a Kindle and use that to read them, more pleasantly than on my netbook. But spending $259 to read free books? Doesn't add up to me. Besides, I like the Nook better, and I can't read Kindle books on a Nook. So, I'd still have to read all those free books on my netbook. (Yes, I know Barnes & Noble has a computer app now, too. I have that loaded, and yes I can get some free books through them, too. Of course, they're not the SAME free books, so one way or the other, Nook or Kindle, I have to resort to the netbook for part of my libary.)

Sounds like I'm talking in circles, eh? Well, that's pretty much the direction my brain's been going over this. I suppose when an ereader comes out that will allow me to buy books from whomever I want--Amazon, B&N, Borders, or anyone else--and read them all on one machine, with one library, I'll reconsider. I have a feeling that's not going to happen, though.

For now, I guess I'll stick to my paper books, and my computer apps, and keep reading.


Jeff Chapman said...

I think ebooks will have to come out in a common, shared format if they are to overtake printed books. As your story suggests, who wants to buy a different ebook reader for each vendor? I suspect this is some scheme to lock customers into a specific market. Imagine if each record company released music in a different format. I don't think these proprietary formats will last, so like you, I'm waiting. Once data enters a digital format, you've lost control. Just ask the record companies.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Jeff, that's a great point! I can load music from any site--itunes, Amazon, whatever--and put it all into a common file on my computer, and then I can listen to ALL of those songs on any mp3 player. So, why should I have to buy all my books from one place? Or pay to have them converted to a specific format?

I love the idea of an ereader. I remember a few years ago telling my husband it would be nice if books could be read on a screen in the panel of a treadmill, so I could enlarge the font and click a button in the handle to turn the pages. I had no idea ereaders were something even being developed back then!

BUT, I never thought that it would be a format war if something like that came out.

I'll admit, I buy most of my books through Amazon, because they're the cheapest and ship fast. But, I don't want to be stuck with them as my ONLY option.

Anonymous said...

I haven't even gotten to getting an ereader yet. I'm really behind the times. Love holding my books. . . but I'm thinking the Nook would be the route I go. But I'm partial to Barnes and Noble for sure!! :-)

Brandon Barr said...

I'm with Lyn, still don't have an e-reader. I don't plan on getting one either...maybe that will change.
Like you said, Kat, it's nice to keep a good book on the shelf or pass it to friends.

Unknown said...

I don't have an ereader either. My friend has a Nook which I was semi-impressed with. Don't like that it doesn't have a backlight for reading though.

I am more of a paper person. I like to have a book in all its glory on my shelf. And as far as ebook go, I remember the days when PDF was the way to go. Just one format for all computers. Now they have all these ereaders out with all these different formats. Kind of pointless, if you ask me. They should all have one single format.

And I'm not sure why ereaders are so expensive. It's just a digital document reader. Very wise to hold off on that right now, especially if the prices might drop sometime soon. :D