E-Reader Hysteria: A little common sense to correct the discussion – Part 1

I am so tired of misinformed or misguided e-reader comments and complaints that I feel compelled to knock heads together! E-readers are HERE. They are MULTIPLYING. Their sales and the sale of e-books will continue to INCREASE.

Those who are complaining about this just need to stop. Just like television and email – two historical inventions that naysayers snubbed as “will never be important” – e-readers and e-books ARE the Next Big Thing.

Now let’s look at why this is NOT a problem:

1. SOME BOOKS WILL NEVER BE SUPPLANTED, only supplemented! For example:

  • Children’s books – These are short, instructive narratives which rely on their artwork to engage pre-readers. The ability to print beautifully colored and sometimes 3-dimensional images are key to their very existence!

This cannot be duplicated by a basic e-reader, especially since most use black & white e-ink technology. Not to mention, no one should hand an e-reader to a drooly toddler to carry around, bang on tabletops or feed to the dog! Duh.

BUT… What young mother wouldn’t LOVE to carry that same toddler’s 50 favorite books onto an airplane on a colorful tablet that also plays movies? And holds her own books and movies for when that toddler nods off? Huge duh.

  • Coffee table / art books – These books are experiences in and of themselves. They require immense size to adequately convey their subjects. They also rely on color and detail to engage the beholder. These books become the art.
  • How-to Books – When and where are how-to books read? Under sinks… under a pile of upholstery fabric… under stress. This is the time for large, clear illustrations and the ability to hold that illustration in place with a greasy wrench.

BUT… multiple instruction manuals can be loaded onto one repair person’s e-reader, and your dishwasher’s model number can be easily searched for. Think about it.

  • And – any other book that requires any of these components to be successfully experienced.

2. PERSONAL LIBRARIES WILL STILL EXIST. But I must say, I’m a bit of a tightwad. I would much rather sample 50% of an e-book for free to see if I like it before plunking down my hard-earned cash for a hard copy. Sadly, I will never get the money back that I spent on “Edgar Sawtelle”… a.k.a Hamlet re-told. But I have bought hard copies of my favorite authors, even if I prefer to read them on my Kindle. (Show of hands: aren’t Diana Gabaldon’s books SO dang heavy?)

3. E-BOOKS COST LESS than paper books. Lots less. See #2. And they are good for the environment. Ask any tree or fossil fuel.

4. LIBRARIES DO LEND E-BOOKS. Stop saying they don’t.

5. YOU DO OWN THE BOOKS YOU BUY. And if you lose your e-reader, your purchases are backed up online. Some e-readers have removable memory discs, and some purchased e-books are downloaded to your computer. Stop saying you are only “renting” them.

6. YOU CAN MAKE NOTES IN YOUR E-READER. Stop saying you can’t. Kindle allows you to bookmark, highlight and type in notes as you read, then lists all those spots for you to easily go back and find. None of my textbooks did that.

*breathe*

Next time: Part 2 – From a reader’s perspective

Then: Part 3 – From an author’s perspective

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18 Responses to “E-Reader Hysteria: A little common sense to correct the discussion – Part 1”


  1. 1 Kelley 04/08/2010 at 10:46 AM

    My husband & I both have an Amazon Kindle, and we LOVE them! My favorite feature is that when one of us purchases a book, we can share it with the other because we share an Amazon.com account. It’s great, and I often forget that I’m reading from a device.

    That being said, we still read hard-copy books at least 50% of the time.

    • 2 kristualla 04/08/2010 at 11:24 AM

      You DO forget you’re reading from a device!!! That’s what I keep telling people: if the story is compelling, the delivery method becomes inconsequential.

      Until you are stuck somewhere and finish the book you’re reading and either:

      1. have to read outdated trashy magazines or Sky Mall catalogs
      or
      2. go to your menu and start another book.

      I know which I prefer!
      Kris <–Kindle LOVER 🙂

  2. 3 Lee Glerum III 04/08/2010 at 10:53 AM

    I totally agree with you! Ebooks and EReaders are on the rise! Especially with the new iPad (which offers breathtaking graphics of pages as if you were holding an actual book) there really isn’t an excuse not to at least consider one. Also, prices have gone down dramatically with some being in the mid 100 dollar range. And having the ability to carry more books than my local library with a simple expansion card is fantastic (Especially considering that it weighs less than my favorite Star Wars novel :P). I am really interested to see what you say more on this subject!

  3. 5 Suzanne Cacanindin 04/08/2010 at 11:16 AM

    Hey Kirs!

    Great info! One question I hope you can help answer … computer eye strain …. suggestions?

    Thanks, and can’t wait till your books are available!
    Suzanne 🙂

    • 6 kristualla 04/08/2010 at 11:19 AM

      e-ink looks like an etch-a-sketch: black on gray. NO back light means NO eyestrain! AND – you can read it in the sun. Buy a waterproof cover & take it to the beach!

      Kris 🙂

  4. 7 Erin Quinn 04/08/2010 at 12:50 PM

    Kris, loved your post. I got a kindle for Christmas and I love it. Right now I’m reading the Harry Potter books for a class at ASU–(yes, you read that right and I’m telling ya, it’s not as easy as you might think reading 1 Harry Potter book a week and writing a paper about it. That #5 had to be 200,000 words.) ANYWAY, you can’t get HP in eBook and I was so disappointed. Yes, I already have the hardbacks on my book shelf, but I’ve been spoiled by the lightweight, bigger font and easy reading of my kindle.

    And I love that I can order the next book in the series (provided the author has been kind enough to write it) as soon as I finish the current one. I don’t even have to change out of my jammies to get it. And my favorite parts? I can book mark them so I can reread that first kiss…..

  5. 9 suzilove 04/08/2010 at 1:54 PM

    Kris,
    Loved the talk about e- readers as there is huge discussion in Australia about them at the moment.
    To buy or not to buy?
    Which one to buy?
    Choices are getting bigger and bigger,
    Oh….so much to think about!
    Suzi

    • 10 kristualla 04/08/2010 at 5:13 PM

      I feel like we are in the midst of the Beta vs. VHS fiasco! My prediction: whoever prices theirs under $200 and PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS (hear me Apple?) will win.

      Kris 😉

  6. 11 keithpubulications 04/08/2010 at 2:02 PM

    Great Job Kris. There are so many e-readers out there today and so many e-books to go in them. More and more e-books are being made…some older books converted to digital. It’s the New Age of Digital Reading.
    Mary

  7. 13 Beth Trissel 04/08/2010 at 3:00 PM

    This is an excellent post. Thanks!

  8. 14 Maeve Greyson 04/08/2010 at 3:48 PM

    Excellent blog, Kris. I would think the only battle now would be the decision as to which e-reader to choose!

  9. 15 Allison Chase 04/08/2010 at 4:35 PM

    I remember when some writers didn’t think they’d be able to write on a computer. Everything takes getting used to and then it becomes second nature. I like my print books, but it would be so convenient not to have quite so many around the house! I’m just waiting for the price of the e-readers to come down a little bit more.

  10. 16 gwenm4 04/08/2010 at 4:52 PM

    I love my Kindle! I love, as you said, that I can preview a book for free, then upload it within seconds. I’m also the type (being a reader AND a writer) who gets weak in the knees when entering a Borders book store. The smell of a new hardcover book…dear God, is there anything better (other than an aged Cabernet?). I have a Kindle AND a library in my house. My library is beautiful — fille with all my favorite books and authors, and some I have also downloaded to my Kindle so I can have them with me all the time!

  11. 17 kristualla 04/08/2010 at 5:18 PM

    I’m with you on the Cabernet… and the smell of books! But *Warning – radical idea ahead* I wonder if that’s an association with childhood & all-new-stuff-for-school? Remember in “You’ve Got Mail” when Meg Ryan’s character brings in a bouquet of sharpened pencils because they “smell like autumn”? *sigh*

  12. 18 amberscottproject 04/09/2010 at 9:10 AM

    Triple Duh! I love this. Excellent points and I got to chuckle through each. Thanks, Kris!!


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