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To E-Read or Not To E-Read

Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2011, at 4:39 PM

It's getting harder and harder to carve out time for reading and writing lately. My newest excuse is not exactly "My cat ate my homework," but it's close. Let's just say it involves a book, my 17 year-old house-cat, and a hairball. In the aftermath of that unfortunate event, I decided I just wasn't that interested in that book and decided to make a trip to the library for another one.

I have a number of friends who have electronic reading devices. They enjoy taking these moments to remind me that if I had an e-reader, I could just pick a book from the comfort of my own home. Some of these readers allow you to download sample chapters from the books for free before deciding whether or not you want to spend your hard-earned money on a book. This kind of reminds me of a made-for-TV movie scenario, where the drug-dealer gives someone their first hit free, and by the middle of the show, the addict is stealing to support their expensive new addiction.

I'm mistrustful of any expensive electronic device that's going to continue to cost me money to use. I've been told that there are over three hundred public domain books available for these e-readers. I already have access to free books...at the library. And then the library gets to store them for me when I'm done. Bonus! Also, many of those public domain books can be downloaded on any computer. Through glorious google, I've found many options like this. On amazon.com, you can download the Kindle ap and Kindle edition of a book on any computer, even if you don't have a Kindle. Of course, a laptop is decidedly bulkier than an e-reader. Mostly, I just think I would miss the feel of a book in my hands.

So, those are my fuddy-duddy prejudices against e-readers, but I'm willing to listen to reason. Anyone with an e-reader care to weigh in? I would love to hear what kind of e-reader you have. How easy is it to use? Do you enjoy reading with it as much as the old-fashioned paper books? Is it hairball resistant? Did you have to get a second job to support your new habit? Kidding here. Well, kind of.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Can't live without Mine!

-- Posted by businessX2 on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 9:23 PM

I like mine, there are a number of places to get cheap, if not free e-books. A favorite one is www.gutenberg.org It has a great number of public domain works (pre 1923) for nada. Lotsa classics there for nothing. Plus, it is nice to not add more one-read books to my house. Makes more room for keepers. You get used to not holding the book. To be honest, I find that I miss that feeling not at all.

-- Posted by Sir Didymus on Wed, May 4, 2011, at 1:23 AM

Thanks for weighing in, businessX2 and Sir Didymus. Kindle vs. Nook or anything else? How did you decide which one to get? How important is having one with a web browser/built-in wi-fi? Is it harder or easier than programming a DVR?

-- Posted by saveryhinze on Wed, May 4, 2011, at 8:24 AM

I have a kindle, I like the once a month charge, takes about an hour to fully charge. (reading a couple of hours a day average) I would say it weighs less than a paperback book. Ive known people that have a nook and like it. I would imagine that if are going to use the reader for other things than straight up book/magazine/newspaper reading I wouldn't go for a kindle. The lowest bracket kindle has Wi/Fi, but you can connect it to your computer with a USB socket. (that is how it charges too) It is easy to use. If you don't get books from the kindle whispernet, you put kindle format files into it like you would use a flash drive. No additional software needed. I would say it is easier than programming a DVR. Most non-amazon sites list the different file types so you know what to download.

-- Posted by Sir Didymus on Wed, May 4, 2011, at 10:32 AM

I prefer the Nook, I use the original Nook, but have been thinking of getting the Color with the touch screen since it can now be a low grade Android tablet. Like Sir Didymus, I know people who have the Kindle and love it too. The main reason I prefer the Nook to the Kindle is that the Nook is more open formatted so you can download books from more places, including library books, that you can't on the Kindle, as I understand it.

On the subject of libraries, for about $15 anyone can get a library card to the Philadelphia Public library and have access to tens of thousands of ebooks. Also with the Nook color, magazines and children's books include nice color images, if that is something you are interested in.

As for Wi-fi vs. 3G, I think Wi-fi is sufficient if you have a wireless network set up at home or work. If a person wanted full time access to materials I suppose they might want 3G, but I dowload books at home, and that's where I do most of my reading anyway. Ultimately, I'm too cheap to pay another service charge for 3G.

Just take some time, do some research and I'm sure you'll be happy with your decision.

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Wed, May 4, 2011, at 4:38 PM

Oh yeah, I'm not qualilfied to answer your DVR question, don't have one, sorry. But if you have downloaded to your computer you know how hard it is. :)

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Wed, May 4, 2011, at 4:41 PM

Thanks for the great info, everyone! Still not sure if I can give up my love of turning pages, but if the right bargain came along...well, I'm thinking about it, anyway.

-- Posted by saveryhinze on Wed, May 4, 2011, at 7:36 PM

When u can have literally thousands and thousands of books at ur fingertips at anytime of the day.....its a beautiful thing..... This is the new technology. And just to think this generation of college kids will be able to have their textbooks on an Ereader!

-- Posted by businessX2 on Thu, May 5, 2011, at 4:15 AM

Enjoy my Kindle 'cause it's most like a book reading experience. My cheapo Android battery gives out after about an hour (although I'm usually already asleep by then).

-- Posted by croswind on Thu, May 5, 2011, at 12:27 PM

Actually, the McCook Public Library IS providing digital media to the e-readers. It is called Nebraska Overdrive Libraries. If you already have a library card, you have access. Cons: Kindle is not compatible because of Amazon's proprietary nature, but Nook is definitely compatible. You have access to MANY e-books which can be downloaded straight to your tablet. I personally use Nebraska Overdrive for audiobooks on my iPod and I think its the best thing since duct tape. I've heard rumor that Nook is not as high-quality as Kindle, but again, it does not have all the proprietary crud built in.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Fri, May 6, 2011, at 12:03 PM

speak-e-z, if you had luck using Nebraska Overdrive and your iPod, you are my new techno-guru. I tried it and gave up. If it takes me longer than 10 minutes to figure out the technology, my attention span moves back to hard copy.

-- Posted by saveryhinze on Fri, May 6, 2011, at 2:39 PM

Nebraska Overdrive downloads software to your computer-->you add books to your "cart" and download them to your computer in the overdrive console or whatever it is called. While they are in the Overdrive program, you have them for 7 days I think. From the Overdrive program, I drag and drop them into my iTunes. iTunes recognizes them as .m4b files and places them appropriately under my audiobooks folder (9/10 times). Once they are in my iTunes, I just drag and drop them onto my iPod and I have yet to have a problem with DRM (device rights management) shutting them off. In other words, once they are on your portable device, they are yours to keep. It isn't like I am sharing them or marketing them though, its just unrealistic to listen to a 20 hour book in a week when you have a full-time life and you are reading a book on your Kindle/Nook and a paperback at the same time!

Friends, I don't know how this works through Windows Media Player or Realplayer, but Nebraska Overdrive has instructions/compatible devices on their website: http://www.overdrive.com/resources/drc/

I am not being paid by these people and have no real reason to advocate for them other than the fact that I love to read and this has opened new possibilities for me while I am on the road during the day, mowing my lawn, or even exercising. Once in a while I miss seeing a word and figuring out for myself how it ought to sound, but it is also interesting to let a good reader paint the picture of the characters' voices for you.

I AM an advocate for literacy and studies indicate that children and adults who hear books read to them as they follow along achieve higher levels of comprehension as they spend less time decoding and more time understanding the story. That is just my opinion, however, and you probably weren't looking for that! Have a good one, or two.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Tue, May 10, 2011, at 9:02 AM

I just started reading the Gazette online a few days ago and your Blog caught my eye. I love books but I get most of mine from the library since I like the price. I am too cheap to spend big bucks for an E-Book reader but I have used the Gutenberg website to download books to read on my computer. I like Mark Twain and I believe Gutenberg has all of his works available for download FREE. Here is a link to their website for any of you that are not familiar with it.

http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

Enjoy.

-- Posted by Big Chief on Fri, Jul 1, 2011, at 9:02 AM

Sorry Sir Didymus I should have read the comments before I posted mine but I guess Gutenberg is worth several mentions.

-- Posted by Big Chief on Fri, Jul 1, 2011, at 9:05 AM


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