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Friday, November 25, 2011

E-readers and me - from The Doghouse

This was yesterday's post. I have suddenly realised that putting "Residence" into the link meant you had to be logged in to find the page that way. And of course, you can't log in unless you're a member. But you can just go to Insideadog and find the page. However, to save hassles for everyone, here it is. I'm working on this morning's post, whoch is about my visit to Bendigo Catholic College.
  File 5009
I don’t have an e-reader yet. When I was growing up, you never saw one outside of science fiction. You’d read novels set hundreds or thousands of years in the future and everybody in them would have shelves of book spools or tablets. Come to think of it, in the TV series of Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, made in the 1980s, the alien Ford Prefect handed earthling Arthur Dent what looked like something we’d recognise now as an e-reader.

Now that they’re all over the place, not that far into the twenty-first century, what are they going to do in three or four hundred years? Have a chip installed in their heads, perhaps, to deliver books directly to your brain? Urk!

There’s something magical about choosing a book on-line and downloading it straight to your e-reader or even your phone. A friend who had bought his Kindle at the supermarket  demonstrated by buying my novel Wolfborn from Amazon and downloading it straight to his e-reader. “Ooh!’ I breathed in wonder.
Another nice thing about it is the lightness instead of carrying a load of books with you, you can carry a whole lot on your little reader that goes in your bag or pocket. You can change the font  size– terrific for people with poor eyesight.
The fact that a lot of these readers have pre-loaded books means that you might read something you wouldn’t choose in a bookshop of a library; one of my students is reading Frankenstein because it came free with the reader. That has to be a good thing.
And yet – for me, there’s nothing like the feel and smell of paper, the curling up in bed with your book, the overcrowded book cases in my study. You could put an entire encyclopaedia on e-reader, I suppose, but why not just go on-line where it would be up to date?
Because I don’t read non-fiction just for research, I like to browse the bookshops and libraries for books I might enjoy; you’d have to have some idea of what you want to get it from a web site. It’s just not the same as discovering that book about astronomy of the Middle Ages or the Faeries of Brittany.
Tell me you can do that on-line, ordering from a catalogue!

Guys, this post is shorter than most I’ve done so far because it’s getting late and tomorrow I’m heading up to Bendigo with a bunch of other writers from Ford Street Publishing to do some workshops at a school there. Wish me luck and if you’re going to be there, do come up and say hi!


Lan said...

I dropped hints like crazy around my birthday and got an e-reader because I keep getting review copies of books in PDF format. But then when I actually got the e-reader, I didn't enjoy using it to read at all. I know the screens are meant to simulate the pages of a book and all the rest, but I still can't get past having to read something off a screen. Print books are always going to have a space in my heart.

Sue Bursztynski said...

I think a lot of us agree with you, Lan. For me, it's just not the same. But there are always going to be some books you can only get electronically.and for me, having an e-reader will be handy because I do most of my reading on the train to work and it would save my poor shoulder from lugging a pile of books. I just can;t leave them behind! :-)

On the other hand again, I don't just prefer print, I like to be able to give my review copies away to my library and you cant do that with an e-book, can you?

Lan said...

That's a good point. I have been meaning to email and author and ask her if she's ever considered turning her out of print books into e-book format so that it's more easily available. I can def see the convenience of carrying on e-reader as opposed to books, but I am so paranoid I'll drop it, or someone on the train will try to steal it (as you can see, I have very little faith in my fellow man).

Sue Bursztynski said...

There are quite a few authors who do exactly that - turn their out-of[-print books into e-books, after getting the rights back. Of course, it's harder now, because theoretically your book can remain "in print" as long as the publisher wants to have the electronic rights. You need to check out your contract before you sign it.

How large is your e-reader? Many can just be put into a pocket or a handbag and if it goes into your handbag and someone steals THAT you have a lot more to worry about than the e-reader! ;-)

Lan said...

That's a good point about electronic rights. I really don't know much about the business side of things. All I know is that I wanted to buy a copy of a book I read from the library a few years ago (The Outcast by Patricia Bernard) and found out it's out of print everywhere. Oh and my e-reader is a little bigger than your average book so no chance of fitting in my pocket :( But I'm glad I have it because I really want to support indie authors and it seems to be the best way to read their books right now!