Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where Do You Stand on the Battle of the eReaders?

Two years ago I swore I'd never buy an e-reader. Now I want to add it to my Christmas list. Obviously, one should "never say never!" But a lot has changed in the publishing industry in the last two years making this decision seem less shocking. As a self-published author, I've embraced ebooks. They are gaining marketshare at an exponential rate, they are easy to download in multiple formats and the price is right.

I have a list of books I'd like to read that have been self-published by other authors, many of which are only available as ebooks. Having an e-reader would make it much easier for me to purchase and read these (I've found I don't enjoy reading on my desktop or laptop). Does this mean I think printed books are going to become obsolete? No, I don't.

I think the publishing industry will follow the same path as the movie industry. Theaters have not gone away despite the rise in movies on demand. Sure, I watch a lot of movies via Netflix. Movies on demand has made it easier for me to watch more films. But I also still go see movies in the theater because I love the experience. Now it's a treat to watch a movie on the big screen and I'm willing to pay the $10/ticket to do it. Books are the same way. I will actually be able to read more books using an e-reader. If there's one I love and want it for my bookshelf, or one I want to have the full "experience" reading, then absolutely I will still purchase a printed version from my local independent book store. Printed books and ebooks will coexist.

But that doesn't mean I want to skimp on my e-reading experience. There are so many choices of e-reading devices, I'm having a hard time deciding which way to go. I recently posted the question of e-reader vs. tablet on my facebook page, and everyone who responded said to go tablet, and specifically iPad. I understand the appeal--iPads are sleek, colorful, easy to use and the most versatile gadget on the market. Unfortunately, they're also expensive. (Admittedly, prices will have to come down now that Kindle and a dozen others have slightly smaller, cheaper versions).

I prefer the 6 or 7-inch size device, and I like the "touch" functionality. I've looked at the Nook Touch and am anxiously waiting for the Kindle Touch to come out Nov. 15th (that's when Best Buy will have it in store, and the Kindle Fire will be in stores Nov. 21st--just in time for a Black Friday sale, perhaps?) The e-ink devices are very easy to read and incredibly light weight. But I also find them a tad boring being in black and white.

The Nook Color and Kindle Fire both function like tablets, with full-color LCD screens. But reading on those isn't much different than reading on my computer screen. The backlit lighting can be harsh and overhead lights can give off glare. They are also a tad larger in size and weigh a little more. However, they do have more versatility than straight e-readers.

There is a great review on CNET that compares all the popular e-readers and tablets. The conclusion is to wait and see how the new Kindles operate and what other manufactures come out with in return. All I really want is to read books easily and have a friendly experience doing so. I don't need email, apps and other fancy add-ons. But wait, isn't that what I said about needing an e-reader two years ago?

What are your thoughts on e-readers?

--KSR Writer


  1. I'm an author, so you might expect me to be in the I-must-have-a-real-book category, but I'm solidly an ebook guy. I have a Kindle and love it and I'm getting a Kindle Fire when they're shipped in a few weeks. I still have a personal library of beloved books, but my day-to-day reading is ebook.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Larry. I think it's great for authors to embrace ebooks. I'm anxious to take the Kindle Fire for a "test run" in a few weeks too!

    --KSR Writer