A few months ago, a friend suggested that I should write about my thoughts on e-readers. At the time I didn’t really have any thoughts, on the matter. My mother in law has long been reading classic books on-line and on her iPhone. She’s been telling me how great it was, but since my computer is too big and my iPhone is too small, I didn’t pay much attention.
I think the conundrum of e-readers is one that plagues many book lovers. It’s like our books are our friends. We love everything about them: thier smell, their feel, the highlighting and notes we’ve put in them. The idea of making something that is so organic into something electronic makes us sick…or does it?
I beheld a Nook for the very first time when my sister’s boyfriend got her one for Christmas this year (and a Tiffany necklace-good job, man). Anyway, um it was really cool. I started lusting at that point. Well, maybe I started lusting a few months before when I spotted several e-readers in the airport-while I was lugging around all of my luggage, my baby, a stroller, a car seat, and the 2 books I just had to bring along.
Despite my attempts to dissuade him, Matt got me a Nook for my birthday-and I LOVE IT! Here’s a short list of e-reader pros…
1. No more clutter! I think neat freaks (like myself) can appreciate that all of their beloved books can be found in one place. And let’s be honest, Matt and I still have PLENTY of books around to decorate with and look at. I love living in an age that all of my books, music, and photos are compressed onto little machines-saving me SPACE!!!
2. Price-yes the upstart is a little much. But I ordered 25 classic books for .99 a few weeks ago. At Barnes and Noble the cheapest copy of Jane Eyre was 4.95. You do the math. Wait, I will. That’s $125-the price of most e-readers.
3. Environment-less paper equals less production-equals less polution-equals less waste, etc.
4. You don’t need lights to read your e-reader. When Matt goes to bed early, I can stay up late, and read in bed, AND not disturb him. Greatness.
5. When my baby was still nursing in the middle of the night, I wasted TONS of time on my iPhone Facebook ap, or playing solitaire, or Sudoku because books (at least for me) are hard to hold with one hand. With my next baby (I’m not pregnant, people), I can read. YEA!
6. My nook has a built-in dictionary. Which means no more guessing what random Old English words mean-and don’t tell me you look them up in your dictionary because you are lying (unless you aren’t and then tell me, because wow-you are something).
7. With nooks, you can share books, highlight, and make notes-just like regular books. You can even choose between several highlight colors. What? Sold.
But, here’s the deal-as a writer myself I was concerned about the effect e-readers would have on authors. At an SCBWI writing conference last weekend, I talked to an editor about this very issue. And much like the mp3 issue, he was confident that this is a change that will eventually benefit both writers and publishers. For instance, since e-books are cheaper than paper books, people like me (who typically frequent the library) are buying books. Also, publishers are working hard to expand the way they publish and market e-books, adding extras (like special features on DVDs) into the e-book package, therefore charging a little more money. While e-readers are definitely forcing publishers to change the way they do business, they are not HURTING the industry. Whew!
I never EVER thought I’d become a e-reading convert, but I am. What do you think about e-readers?