Jul 20 2008
I mentioned recently how much I would love for publishers to move to e-arcs as it would be so much cheaper, allow for more copies to be distributed, and create a smaller ecological footprint. Another reviewer asked me the appeal of ebooks as she wasn’t quite there yet.
I think that becoming e- acclimated takes time and an open mind. If you aren’t prepared to allow yourself to take a chance with e-reading, I think that you’ll not ever like it. And I think that each reader has to be ready for the e-reading experience because it isn’t just for technogeeks like myself.
Each person’s entry into the e-market will be different. There will be some readers who will never go, tied too strongly to the paper and glue. Other readers will make the transition gradually due to various reasons, but I’ve seen, time and again, that those who do make the transition using a decent e-reading device often become e-vangelists.
Readers who read on the desktops/laptops alone will never be ebook aficionados. The constant flicker of a monitor screen tires ones’ eyes and it might seem to much like work with so many of us tied to our computers during the work day. Only those readers who can go untethered from the laptop/desktop will truly feel the joy of the ereading experience.
So what are those joys? I’ve talked about them before, but they bear repeating.
Possibly the number one reason that I love ebooks is the convenience of them. I think that is partly why the Kindle has been a success. It provides instantaneous access to your library and to a bookstore, no matter where you are located (provided you are within the coverage area). With an eBook reader and a digitized library, you are never more than a few clicks away from any book you care to read. Recently I went on a Susan Mallery glom. This was made possible by the fact that nearly every single title book by Susan Mallery is in eform from either Pocket (The Marcelli sisters) or Harlequin (Buchanan Brothers and the Bakery sisters).
I finished Irresistible last weekend sometime in the later evening hours and was able to hop online and download the other two Buchanan Brothers books. And later in the week, when I had gorged on nearly everything that Harlequin had to offer I moved onto the Pocket ebooks. I don’t know that would have been possible in a bookstore. First, it’s questionable whether the bookstore would have had the entire backlist available. The Marcelli sisters books were first released in 2003. Second, the bookstores weren’t open when I purchased the books either because it was late at night or early in the morning. Third, I was able to buy them without leaving my house, changing my clothes, or spending gas. A trip to the bookstore would have cost me at least a book.
Which leads me to another reason I like ebooks. The price of ebooks, while higher than I like, are almost always discounted. Generally speaking, I don’t pay more than 75% off the cover price of an ebook (unless I am buying straight from an epublisher like Samhain or Loose ID). I know that for some readers this actually seems like a detraction because ebooks, overall, may cost more money given the lack of resale. However, two things come into play for me here. First, I only have the Half Price Bookstore to send my books to. I think that they give me 25 cents to a dollar for each book, depending on the format. My ebook discount makes up for that. Second, I tend to keep my books. I am always afraid that I might want to re-read them.
The non returnability of ebooks is frustrating for books that I am not happy with and I don’t like that there is no secondary market from which I can purchase. Lowering ebook prices could go along way in changing reading/buying habits. I noted, though, in more than one article about the Kindle that the $9.99 price point for hardcovers was a big plus.
Integrated Lighting Source.
A third reason I really love ebooks is the nighttime reading environment. Probably 75% of the reading I do is in bed. With a job, my family, and other obligations, I rarely have time to sit down during the day time hours to read. The lack of an integrated backlight is what prevents me from wholeheartedly embracing e ink technology. Booklights are just as intrusive, in my opinon, as a lamp. A backlit device such as the iPhone or eBookwise will not disturb your partner and it makes the eBook reading device available to you in all lighting situations such as subway tunnels, planes, and cars (or at the movie theatre as your daughter watches Happy Feet for the 5th time).
I asked Ned what he liked best about e-reading and he said that it was the convenience but also the nighttime reading environment. He falls asleep reading and his e-reading device goes to sleep with him after a period of inactivity.
The fourth reason I love ebooks is the declutterization (is that a word?) of my home. I’ve got hundreds of paperbacks vying for storage. I have books under my bed, in the basement, on a wall to wall bookshelf in a guest room. There was a time that it seemed like we couldn’t turn around without stumbling over a pile of books. With ebooks, I’ve managed to take a bit of control over the disarray and reinstitute some order.
There are more reasons that I love ebooks but these are four good ones. At some point, one of these will drive a commenter here to ebook reading and she may never go back to paper. What are some of the reasons that you like ebooks and what are some of things that hold you back?