Focus for this List: our sweet Mama and Papa Bear (my in-laws), gave us a Kindle for Christmas. This is not something I'd ever contemplated buying. So, this list isn't so much a tech review (I've not done any comparisons) as it is simply a list of things I've noticed while reading on the Kindle.
1. You can get new books faster, (and for cheaper!)
This is, in fact, the thing that first got me excited about using the Kindle. I could pay $16 for the hardcover version of Lois McMaster Bujold's newest Vorkosigan book, Cryoburn, which wasn't in our bookstores yet, OR I could buy it from Baen Books, spending only $6, and begin reading immediately. Who could refuse?!
The immediate gratification factor is huge. (HUGE! I was thrilled when I realized I could get Mark Van Name's newest book NOW ... and its copyright date is next August!!!).
Still, I'm glad that the first book I tried to read was Cryoburn. It's by an author whom I love, and it's fast-paced and absorbing. Had I tried to read something less . . . gripping . . . I'm not sure I would have pushed past the discomfort of first reading on a machine rather than a book.
2. I can carry a library in my purse!
That statement alone tells me that the future has arrived. I've read books on computers before (Thanks, David Drake, and Baen.com!). That tired me out just because it tied me to my computer for hours upon hours. Reading on a Kindle still allows you the freedom to wander around and read while you microwave a snack. Best of all? In this era of reduced baggage allowances on airplanes, decisions on which book to take with me are MUCH easier.
3. It takes some effort to get used to reading on an electronic device and little things may throw you.
Getting a cover helps, but it still feels weird -- like you're only reading one side of the page. Also, I've found that it just doesn't feel right unless I tuck my first finger of my right hand between the Kindle and the back of the cover. I had no idea that was such a firmly ingrained habit of mine!
4. I miss turning pages.
Just today, finishing up my 5th book on the Kindle, I swiped at the screen as if to turn the page. Accidentally turning the pages is a frequent problem. Interestingly, what I had thought would be the biggest deterrant to reading comfortably on the device, the flip from black text to white text as you turn the page, now escapes my attention (for the most part). One thing that helped was reducing the text size so that I'm not constantly having to deal with all of this. The human brain is amazing, and I mark my new comfort with this up to my fascination with Vorkosigan's adventures!
5. It may help you stay focused.
Having a cover means that frequently when I'm done reading for the moment I just close the book and put it up, without turning it off (it shuts off automatically). To my occasional dismay, however, when I turn it back on, it opens right back up to where I left off, thus capturing my attention. Mind you, this meant that I was MUCH faster in finishing my re-read of a nonfiction book than I expected I would be. I'm still not sure if this is a good or a bad thing!
6. I don't like reading anthologies, or collections of short-stories on this machine.
I like bouncing around and reading stories out of order, and that's a LOT harder to do on a Kindle. Either that, or I've missed some trick of the technology.
7. You can't judge the book by the cover . . .
. . . but then again, it's harder to do a good preview. I'm still deciding if I like the fact that the Kindle automatically starts a new book on the first page of the story, rather than on the cover page / dedication page / copyright page / table of contents. For the most part, I don't like it. As a reading teacher who spends time teaching folks how to set themselves up properly for a book by previewing it before getting lost in the story, I REALLY don't like it. For myself, well, I'm patient enough to click the back button 10 times in order to get to the beginning.
7.2 People don't judge ME by the cover.
Think about it, that bland black cover means that I can be reading ANYTHING and no one will ever know. Mind you, this may reduce the number of odd conversations I have on airplanes. (Thanks, John Ringo. . . )
8. There are so many ways in which electronic books just make good sense.
From an environmental standpoint, ebooks make sense. From a practical home-storage standpoint, ebooks make sense, and now, with Baen's help, from a financial standpoint, ebooks make sense.
9. The big issue:
You can't sell your boring ebooks at the used book store when you decide you'd rather read something else. You also can't lend them to a friend. That's disheartening. For the price you're paying, it's also disgusting.
10. Will the characters survive?
The biggest shock to reading on the Kindle? You lose the subliminal sense of where you are in the book, and how much time the author has left to either get everything resolved, or to kill everyone off. Again, I'm not sure if this is ultimately a good or a bad thing. I've hated reading with the pages clutched in my right hand ever diminishing and feeling like I was racing the author to the end. I've hated knowing that an enjoyed idyll on another world was drawing inevitably to a close. That said, I finished Jennifer Crusie's newest book, Maybe This Time, and found myself not believing it was all over. I'd lost track of how much time I had left with the characters.
So, what do YOU think???
Which device to you read on?
What do you like best?
What do you like least?
What would you like to see most as a feature?
Have you been to Baen.com yet? :)