Back in September, Mr. L surprised me with a Kindle e reader for my birthday. I'm afraid it sat on his desk for quite a while before I had time to start playing with it. (He knows far more about it than me, I'm afraid--not that he did much with it, either.)
In early October, I bought a couple of short stories and read them. Not bad.
This week, I bought my first real book. It's non-fiction, because that's what I tend to read while I'm working on a book of my own.
I wasn't really sure I wanted an e reader, although I dearly wanted to find more e readers for my work. In fact, my preference would have been for a Nook -- simply because it has a color screen. (What can I say, I'm swayed by pretty pictures and flashing lights.)
Every time I mention that my books/short stories are available as e reads, I get the same comment over and over again. "I ONLY READ =REAL= BOOKS." Or, I like feel of a paper book in my hand. The feel, the smell, the texture."
First of all, an e book IS a real book. It's just delivered in a different fashion.
Second, I love a real book, too. But I like the convenience of having several (and possibly hundreds more) books at my fingertips at any given time. (I'm going to start tossing it in my purse so that when I have to wait in line at the bank, grocery store, wherever--I can entertain myself.)
For the past couple of evenings, I've sat on the couch, kitty on lap, and found it extremely convenient to not have to juggle a book, turn pages, and at the same time annoy said cat. With a flick of my thumb, the pages turn. While I haven't figured out how to change the font size yet--it's an option that's available to me. (Gee, not having to wear my glasses to read? FREEDOM!) Even more cool, it looks like the "pads" they use on Star Trek.
The Kindle is heavier than I would like (it's 9 ounces and Chapter & Hearse (my latest published book) is 7 ounces), but weighs less than a hardcover. It seems to need to be charged every week, whether I use it or not. Sadly, you don't get to see the cover of the book. (Well, I guess there IS a way to add the cover to a text file, I just haven't figured out how--and neither have most Kindle authors.) I guess they figure you don't need it, but it would be nice.
Some books are cheaper on Kindle. And talk about (nearly) instant gratification. I can have the book I want to read in under five minutes. No trucking out in the cold to the store. (Although, I'm going there today anyway. I love visiting my local bookstore, but I must admit, it's a destination I usually plan for.)
Here's one I'll bet you didn't know: authors make more money on e books than on paper books. (Okay, not certain that's true on hardcovers yet, but I would bet it is--simply because the royalty rate is higher. Haven't seen my new contract yet on what that rate might be.)
All in all, I'm liking that little gadget more and more every time I use it. Will it replace a print book for me? That depends on the book. I'm a sucker for full-color coffeetable and cookery books with LOTS of photography. I can't see me holding a larger version of Kindle, Nook, iPad to read that sort of book, but for a novel or non fiction book -- why not?
And while we're talking ebooks (where, where?), those of you with e readers who haven't checked out Backlist eBooks--give it a shot. It's 42 traditionally-published authors who've put their backlists (books formerly published by big NY publishers and now out of print) online. These are NYTimes and USA Today bestsellers, Hugo, Rita, Agatha and other award-nominated and winning authors, selling their books for $2.99. Ya can't beat that.
If you have an ebook, tell us what you like about it. If you don't have an ebook, would you be willing to give one a try? (Hint-hint: Staples is selling Kindles and Sam's Club is selling iPads.)