Friday, November 30, 2007

E-Book Readers

I’ve been hearing about Amazon’s Kindle for e-books for a while now, but I haven’t blogged about it because I don’t have the Kindle myself – and, frankly, I’ve never used an e-reader. I’m still stuck in the paper and CD world of books.

So, upfront I’ll say I don’t own the Sony Reader nor the Amazon Kindle. But that won’t stop me from commenting, donchaknow.

I used to be opposed to e-books. I just could not imagine myself reading off a little teeny screen. I do have a Palm Pilot. It’s ancient now, but I still use it for the calendar and address book mostly. It could download books, at least that was one of the feature when I bought it way back in the dark ages. But I never did. Gracious, the screen is only like four inches tall.

Of course, since then companies have worked to make e-readers more of a paper book experience, with bigger screens and the look of a book. The new Amazon Kindle was touted as really close to the real thing.

From what I’ve read, including a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, there are a lot of good things about the Kindle. Books are easy to buy and download. You can load a huge number of books on the Kindle. It’s wireless and you don’t have to be connected to a PC to download books (or blogs and newspapers for that matter). And some even say it gives you the experience of reading a physical book.

But I’ve also heard, and not just from the WSJ article, that the buttons are clunky and frustrating to use.

The real drawback for me is that, although the books are cheaper to download than to buy in a bookstore, the cost of the Kindle is $400. Four hundred dollars! Well, there’s the first big stop sign to my e-book reader buying spree.

I’m not ready to give up paper books, but an e-reader would be nice to take on vacations or plane rides. I would definitely give it a try for that. I might even carry it in my purse for those times I’m stuck in a waiting room. But not for $400. No way.


  1. Helen,
    I have used an e-book reader since 1999. By far, the best was the original Rocket eBook - I used mine until I dropped it on a tile floor and broke it. I replaced it with an eBookWise reader from Fictionwise (which is a branded version of the Rocket's replacement after the original creator sold out). I like it a lot but wish I could adjust the font bigger. One of the main reasons I love e-books is that I can't read most print books, and I can increase the font size on e-books so I can read them. The largest font on the eBookWise is just barely big enough for me. The eBookWise is less than $150 - still more than most of us would like to pay for a reader, but far less than the Kindle and worth it to be able to carry a dozen or more books in the palm of my hand ... and most important to me, be able to read away from the computer screen. It's actually more comfortable for me to hold than a paper book. I like the connectivity of the Kindle, but as I wrote in my own blog post about it, I'm not going to spend $400 for that. However, when the time comes to replace my current e-reader, I'll consider the Kindle.

  2. Thank you Lillie. It's so good to hear from someone who uses e-readers. I originally thought I'd never use one, but I'm seeing the benefits of an e-reader. And I really hadn't thought about adjusting the font. That would be a great benefit!


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