Thursday, September 2

In the news... e-readers for everyone! (maybe)

It seems like everywhere we go these days, we're bombarded by e-reader comparison articles and testimonials and in-store demonstrations. The Great E-Reader Debate. I've even been tweeting/lamenting for the last month or so about my interest in buying an e-reader. This is probably more surprising to me than anyone because I am a fervent believer that you cannot properly snuggle up with a piece of technology on a cold winter's day.


I would love to be able to do full read-throughs of my own work on a device that does not make my eyeballs want to fall out. Since staring at the computer screen for 200-300 pages is out, I usually make the margins and text really small and print it for proofing. I always print on both sides of my paper and then recycle them after the second printing, but still. An e-reader would be a very earth-friendly way to manage my manuscript proofing.

And I do love the idea of having reference books on it. I have so many reference books for research and would love to be able to bookmark passages that I want to refer back to later while I'm writing.

But the more I compare e-readers, the more I realize there is no such thing as Kay's Perfect E-Reader out there. At least not that I've found so far. Why? Here are the things I'm looking for all in one e-reader:

** Searchable notes. Most e-readers allow you to make notes, but I need one that allows you to search your notes for certain key words. What good is making notes if you end up with 47 different notes that are simply listed as "Note - page 171" and "Note - page 335". Tres helpful, no? Let's make a fully searchable notes feature. The technology has been around for eons and you already have it in your searchable book text. Why not expand that to your notes as well?

** Easy page turning. I have radial tunnel syndrome in my arm from the typing and mouse work I do and the e-readers I've tested have stiff page turn keys. Some have the finger swipe option as well, but that repetitive motion is problematic too.

** Privacy. What is this about Amazon backing up your notes for you? That is a bit too Big Brother-ish for my taste. I want to know that my research notes for manuscripts aren't floating out there in cyberspace. Because we all know nothing is truly secure in cyberspace.

** Full access to books. What drives me the craziest about the whole e-book thing is the exclusivity of most platforms. If I choose a Kindle and decide after a while that it's not for me, is there really no legal way for me to transfer the e-books I've spent all that money on to a new device (other than iPad)? I understand that everyone's trying to be proprietary for business purposes, but I know there are a lot of people like me who haven't bought an e-reader solely for this reason. If I move 14 times, I can take my books with me. If I buy a new computer from a different company, I can take my documents with me. That would be like Sony saying "If you create a document on a Sony computer, you can only ever read it on a Sony computer." They would never in a million years do that. Why do we let e-reader companies get away with it?

So there you go. An ode to Kay's Perfect E-Reader. Some e-readers have bits and pieces of this criteria, but none have everything I'm looking for. Where does that leave me? I'm not sure. Probably waiting to see what the e-reader world has in store for us as we head into the holiday shopping season.

What about you? How do you feel about e-readers?


Sharyla said...

I have considered buying one, but...I love having a book in my hand too much. And I like shopping for books. While doing it from home is fun, that's what is for. I don't think that I could get real use out of an E-Reader.

I was disappointed by a recent commercial I saw for the V-Reader, an E-Reader for kids. I do think that it'll help many children want to learn to read, but the commercial itself saddened me. It actually starts out "There use to be books..."

I was completely caught off guard and found myself wanting to email V-tech to remind them that there still ARE books.

Great post by the way! :D

KarinLibrarian said...

I read both traditional books and e books. I have both a Nook (B & N) and an iPad. I like the iPad the best because it has a backlight and can read it in bed without clipping a book light on the device. As far as turning pages on the iPad, all you have to do it tap.

Not everything is compatible with iPad though. NetGalley books for instance. So, I need to use my Nook for those.

But, the iPad will allow you to read from the iBooks feature, Kindle App, and the new Borders E Book store app.

Sara Z. said...

I have a Kindle, and mostly use it for reading manuscripts, classics, and anything I find myself needing RIGHT NOW at the right price (which doesn't happen often - usually if I don't get it at the library it means I want to own the actual book). Otherwise, I much prefer physical books. I'd say my e-reading is like 10% of my reading.

Wendy Toliver said...

I don't have one and it's not in my budget right now but I can say I'm not against having one someday. I especially see their benefit when you're traveling.

One of the weird things for we authors who do B&N signings is getting set up next to the Nook salespeople. I think they should hire me to sell them b/c I wouldn't even need any training! LOL