Well at least I didn’t think they would replace the book. I thought they’d be one of those novelty things, like the concert settings on your TV and stereo, or the 12 cupholders in your mini-van. But nothing you’d use all the time.
It’s looking more and more like I’m wrong. When writers themselves are talking about publishing ebooks as I’ve talked about in recent posts, it’s got to make you think.
Well, it made me think. I downloaded the Kobo and Kindle ebook readers for the PC to see how easy they are to use and, most importantly, to read.
- eBooks are cheaper
- Long trips, only have to carry one “book” and have a whole library
- Easier reference
- Keyword searchable (also helps references)
- Free download of software for PC and Mac
- Comes with own light source so you can read “in the dark”
- Instant download of a new book anywhere you have a WiFi connection (and, in some cases, cell phone reception)
- Adjust text size
- Possibly harder on the eyes
- Takes a relatively long time to open/boot up the computer vs. pick up a book
- A little awkward to carry/use vs. a book
- Battery/electricity dependent – when the batteries are finished, so are you
- Gives the feeling that you’re “still connected” rather than helps you get away from electronics (note: this could be a pro, depending on your views on the subject…)
- Doesn’t have the same number of words per page (unless you go with a very small font size) so you are constantly stabbing at the Right Arrow button to turn the page
Kindle advertises that you can download directly from sites like Open Library, which has free books from pre-1923 (when the copyright laws changed), but when you try to download it to your PC, a warning comes up saying it will only sync with the Kindle itself. That sucks.
Ultimately though, the question is: How is it to read?
I’m still out on that one. I downloaded to my Netbook, so the interesting thing is that I can shift the screen around (Ctrl+Alt+Left Arrow; Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow to return to “normal” orientation) and actually hold it like a book. Like mentioned above, it was a little awkward “turning” pages, but I’m sure I could get used to it (though it might cause carpal tunnel…)
Comparatively, I think I like the Kobo Reader better than the Kindle, though there’s not a huge difference. I like that with the Kobo Reader, your books are arranged like they are on a book shelf, with the front facing outward. The Kindle just lists them like icons on your desktop. Fine and practical, but edge again to the Kobo. Another bonus: Kobo comes with pre-installed books like the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn so you can start playing immediately. With the Kindle, you have to search for new books first.
As for long-term reading – I haven’t gotten that far. I found I couldn’t immerse myself in the book, though in fairness there was a lot going on around me when I was playing. And, I was doing just that: playing. So once I tuck into an actual book over several sessions, I’ll have a better sense.
Keep in mind, this is the PC version, not the actual devices they sell in the stores. So perhaps readability is different on those.
It’s exciting though, I’ll tell you that. Feels like 2001 (the movie, not the year…)
Have you used a Kindle or similar e-reader? Have you switched almost exclusively to the e-reader now from books? Let me know! Add a comment below, or email me!
Novel Writing Totals
Hours Today: 1
Words Today: 2,122
Hours Total: 78.5
Words Total: 107,604
(Something’s screwy with the numbers the last couple of days. Yesterday, I thought I’d written more than the numbers said; today, I know I didn’t hit 2,122… Still, the words total is correct here, so that’s all that really counts.)