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Confessions of An Ereader – Guest post by Casey Roberts

A few days ago Kris mentioned he had a Kindle, and Josh was kind enough to let me talk about me experience with my ereader (the Nook)

When I was younger I was a voracious reader, books were a way to transport myself into other worlds and were my constant companion. (I was the weird kid reading Tom Clancy in 5th grade) Then college came and reading mutated from a pleasant past time to a job I paid someone else to do. Even after I graduated reading was noticeable absent.

I’m not sure what happened 5 months ago to wake me up from my reading stupor, it could be the nerd in me needing a new piece of tech, or maybe after finishing my Masters degree I was just ready to let reading be something I enjoyed again. Whatever it was, I was drawn to the ereader market.

After a lot of research and hand wringing I bought my ereader. Two things became instantly clear:

1. I really missed reading for fun
2. I may never buy a paper book again

Your browser may not support display of this image. I know number two can be sacrilege for some. There are people who crave the subtle coarseness of the paper on the finger tips, the weight of the book in their hands, or the smell of ink on paper. To those ereaders are a non-issue at best, profane at worst. You know what? That’s ok, books and their electronic counterparts can live comfortably side by side… don’t be a hater.

nookSaving Money on Aspirin

For me, the medium didn’t matter, reading sucked me right back in, like I had never left it all those years ago. I was surprised at how comfortable it was. The most reading I had done lately was surfing the internet where eye strain and a kinked neck were common. With my reader I was able to curl up on the couch next to my wife and be totally comfortable.

Speaking of being curled up on the couch, I found I could see reviews of books I was unfamiliar with, sample new books, and when I was ready buy a book without ever leaving my comfortable reading spot. It’s at this point that I feel compelled to mention Barnes and Noble has a free ebook of the week. While there are plenty of free ebooks out there I feel more compelled to read the books they spotlight and it has opened me up to genres I would never have considered before. (Who knew steampunk vampires in a fantasy realm could be… well… not bad!?)

Pajamas + Indoors + Snow = 🙂

Josh would be the first one to point out that there is a place you can go that is full of nothing but free books. While the merits of libraries have been open to debate (Why I never go to the public library), I think libraries are wonderful things. Even more wonderful is that their catalogue has been moving online so I can search and check out books in my pajamas while the all too soon to be here snow storms are raging. It’s true that the online libraries don’t have near as many

kindle

Kindle

books as the brick and mortar ones do, but their collections are getting bigger all the time, and again, it helps me to try authors and genres I would have turned my nose up to in the real world.

I’m not going to say that ereaders are superior to their physical companions; I’m not even going to say which ereader I think is the best. I simple want to say that I’ve been to this strange new lad, met the inhabitants, ate their food, and sampled their ways, and it is good.

Have any of you guys tried either of these?

Casey

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jonathan Wondrusch October 27, 2010, 8:09 pm

    I got a kindle a few months ago as a gift and I adore it. I still go to bookstores and libraries to thumb through books, but I love having the book on my kindle. Light, portable and I can carry hundreds of books at once instead of just one. The only thing I miss is the smell, so as soon as they invent a kindle with “Old Book Smell,” I might never go back 🙂

  • rox October 27, 2010, 10:36 pm

    My hubby does not like me to stay up all hours
    of the night reading books, but I can do it secretly with a Kindle! I don’t have to worry about eye problems (like Casey Roberts) anymore. I previously had to use the glow from the Scentsy warmer to scan the pages of my book. Now I just wait until my beloved closes his eyes and whalah!!! I am teleported to whatever destination awaits upon the glorious screen and
    not even a wee babe hears a page turn.

  • Kris Wragg October 28, 2010, 2:23 am

    Glad I am not the only one that has converted to the dark side 🙂

    I think the only feature missing from my kindle is touch screen. When reading PDF’s of scientific papers it would be great to be able to move around and zoom in/out of graphs via touch.

    Aside from that I really don’t have any complaints, and for the price its really not at all bad, with a touch screen I would imagine it would dramatically boost the price.

  • Casey October 28, 2010, 6:11 am

    Speak of the devil Kris… Barnes and Noble just came out with a full color, full touch scree nook. It’s done exactly what you thought and bumped the price up to $250.

    I’m not sure how it will do, since the screen is not e-ink, but it may be the cheap android tablet everyone is looking for.
    /letting my techy colors show/

    • Kris Wragg October 28, 2010, 6:47 am

      I have tried to read on a tablet before and it just doesn’t work the same as these e-ink screens. I think I’ll be content with my Kindle for a good while, maybe in a few years there will be cheaper ones with touch screen e-ink 🙂

  • Jim Lochner October 28, 2010, 8:27 am

    I too went over to “the dark side” back in May when I purchased a Nook. I made that choice for two reasons. 1) I didn’t like the buttons on a Kindle. It looked like a giant calculator. (I’ve since wished for those buttons on certain occasions because the touch screen on the Nook still needs work.) 2) I was able to sample the product in the store. I knew once I got my hands on the Nook, I’d buy it. And that’s exactly what happened. This was around the time of the iPad launch and I was itching for one, especially so I could read books in bed with a back lit screen. But I sampled some reading on my iPhone and even that gave me some form of eye strain. So e-ink it is! (And God bless larger fonts as my eyes get worse and worse every year. Ha!)

    I’ve stayed a voracious reader all my life, but I started reading even MORE once I got the Nook. I love that you can borrow e-books from the library. This past summer, B&N offered 12 free classic e-books every Friday. By the end of the two months, I had almost 100 titles, from Chaucer to Dickens to Austen to Shaw. Yes, I could get these free through Google Books. But those scanned books leave a lot to be desired. I prefer the time and care that is taken to create a proper e-book over the scanning.

    I still buy traditional books and will continue to do so. I’ve recently bought the new Pevear/Volkonsky translation of “Doctor Zhivago” and Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom” (which I surprisingly loved). I love books and I’d be heartbroken to see them die off (which I don’t think will happen). But it’s the words and the thoughts behind them that matter, not necessarily the medium.

    • Megan October 28, 2010, 9:16 am

      I have a Nook and love it!! Definitely appreciate the touch screen over the buttons, although that means the battery doesn’t last quite as long as the Kindle’s. I have downloaded tons of free books and have also found myself exploring other genres because of what B&N suggests. It is a glorious thing! (And yes, sometimes I, too, miss the book “smell” but I that is why I have three giant bookcases packed to the gills in my living room. I’ll never give up my real books.)

  • Amanda October 29, 2010, 4:33 pm

    I really enjoyed this post, Casey, as your experience reflects mine quite closely.

    My daughter’s boyfriend got a Kindle for Christmas last year. I was skeptical. I mean, it’s a little white gadget. It’s got a digital screen. And… we all know what it’s like to read a long PDF on the computer. How sore do your eyes get after a whole.

    So I played with it for a couple of hours and… I was impressed.

    The screen didn’t hurt my 43 year old eyes. It was absolutely intuitive to use. And (in contrast to other commenters) I loved the buttons for note taking (I write reviews on my book blog).

    In August this year, I took the plunge and bought my own Kindle. Love it. Let’s hope that Amazon are converted to epub over the next few years – the only thing I’ll critique them on.

    I should add – I’m in Australia. We don’t have the option of the Nook here.