Thursday, 21 July 2011

Not an e-book in sight...

If you’ve ever read the post I made on this blog about the love affair I’ve been having with my e-reader, then you’ll have some idea of what my friends and family have endured from me in recent months.

At some points, having the device surgically removed has been mooted as the only chance I may have in order to lead a full life once again. At times, when I do look up from my strangely compelling black and white screen long enough to notice that while I may rather fond of my Kindle, those around me do not hold it in such high regard.

To be honest, I don’t care what the critics say, as far as I’m concerned, having access to practically any book I want is worth the constant ribbing or threats to sabotage it. In saying that, even I have to admit that I would probably make an A-class saleswoman for the product – because I know more about its uses than anyone else I know. But that’s a whole new blog post!

Something that has surprised me during these conversations with people is that no one else seems as excited as I am by the technology. Even other writers I’ve spoken to have insisted they will stay loyal to conventional books and show no signs of opting for any compromise arrangement.
For my part, I appreciate the convenience of having my own mobile library in my handbag while still holding some of the same books on the bookshelf in my office. But, in saying that, it’s certainly the case now that I haven’t actually purchased a paper-bound book since acquiring an e-reader. But a lot of that simply comes down to the time I spend abroad and the trouble I have actually sourcing physical books.

On a recent trip to England (which lasted over a month, by the way, so I feel it counts as valid research), I was really looking forward to judging the uptake of mobile readers like the Kindle and I expected to see some serious e-readers on the London tube and various suburban trains.

I can tell you I was shocked to discover none of my fellow passengers using a similar device. Now, obviously they could have using an e-reader on their mobile phones, but from the persistent tapping taking place, I’d say that was unlikely… Instead, I found myself staring at the book covers of traditional volumes – which was obviously an interesting exercise in itself.

But still, no one using an e-reader?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic…


  1. Hi Nadia

    I use my Kindle for commuting and love it, and I'll def take it on holiday with me, but I still prefer the feel of 'real' books. I find them easier to use, esp if you need to go back and quickly check something. I've asked the audiences at a couple of lit fest events I've been doing and a) surprising numbers of people don't have ereaders and b) those that do say they prefer real books.

    ATB sarah

  2. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for posting! I have to say that I never thought I'd be a Kindle person - and could never imagine favouring such a device over real books... But now I can't imagine life without it. The fact that I can be sitting on a rock, high up the mountains and browsing through the Kindle store has really changed things for me - and definitely changed my attitude towards ereaders.
    At the risk of sounding like an Ego-Kindler(!) I also find it very useful for my own writing. I keep my MS on it and read through chapters, and make full use of the highlight function. I find the book format a lot better than a computer screen. Do you do this at all?
    For me, the thing that lets the Kindle down at present is its limited archiving function. I'd really like to be able to store books via genre, title, period etc... which is what I assume you mean as well when you refer to searching? I've literally got dozens of books on there now, so it can be a chore trying to locate one!
    Best regards,

  3. I use a Kobo, and with Borders going belly up, I was a bit terrified that the device would also go by the wayside, but it's a separate entity, looks like. So glad. I love it. I do have one criticism of Ereaders though, I find them difficult to *study* from. If I am reading for pleasure, I read on my device *first*. If I'm trying to learn something, not having a physical book slows me down. I need to be able to flip easily back and forth, and that just isn't happening with my device (or the devices I test-drove prior to purchase).

    I didn't get a Kindle because the way Amazon formats their ebooks to only read on Kindle devices ticks me off. Otherwise, it's a lovely reader.

  4. Hi Amalie,
    Great to hear from you! I know what you mean about products being tied in, I'm not a big fan of it either. I can appreciate what you're saying about learning more with a physical book. Do you use your ereader for looking through your own MS?
    Would love an update on what you're up to, by the way! Last time we spoke I think you were writing a full-length MS for an agent?
    Best regards,