Back in 2007, I wrote a post on this blog about the brand new Amazon Kindle on sale for around $400. I wasn’t impressed. Actually, that wasn’t quite it. Through my rather sarcastic humor, I was trying to show that I am not an early adopter of new technologies, and that I thought that e-readers and e-books have a bit more evolving to do.
Times change, some. I am still underwhelmed by the Kindle. Not so much the idea of e-readers, but the device itself reminds me of the stereo in my husband’s last car: it has too many buttons. But the more I get into writing, and studying up on the business of publishing, the more I like electronic publishing. And the more writers I have met, the more I like the variety of work that is electronically published.
No, I’m not published yet. Still working on that. But considering some of the subgenres of romance I am writing (in my "spare" time, in case this hobby of mine is news to you), I am absolutely open to being electronically published.
But back to the e-readers. One of my major hangups about e-readers is the cost. I have a laptop and a netbook. Why would I want to shell out another $300-400 (or more) for another device. Why can’t I just read on my existing computers? Well, I can. But I don’t. It kills my eyes. I spend too much time in front of a computer screen already. More and more, an ereader with an eInk screen, the kind with low refresh rates and low light output, have started to seem like a better idea.
Ok,the issue isn't just my eyes. Its also my bookshelves. We have an entire wall of our bedroom lined in tall book shelves. And if I'm not careful, I will soon begin overflowing them. Not counting the books in the office, cookbooks in the kitchen, or the kids collections, which are overflowing shelves in their rooms.
What did you say? Get rid of books? Blasphemer.
Prices on e-readers are coming down and I finally bought a Sony touch. So far, I love it. Its does not have built-in WiFi/3G networking so it can't just automatically download books, but I don't miss that feature (too easy to overbuy, and I have lots of e-book resources to choose from without it). And it has a stylus and some ability to highlight and take notes on screen.
I still think that e-books and reader technologies have a long way to go. There are too many formats, and the options can be really confusing (can you say Beta vs VHS?). And some formats look nicer on small screens than others. But this works. It travels nicely, and I'm taking advantage of free reads, digital-first books that aren't in print, and a few books that I know I'll only read once.