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'Cos ebooks rock

It's Read an Ebook Week! And I'm celebrating by popping in for a chat at Samhaincafe with fellow author Josh Lanyon!

Here's my biased view of ebooks.

It doesn't seem to me that paper books are going away anytime soon, but I know that I personally have had a huge shift in my preference for electronic versus physical over the last couple of years. I blame the public library, physics, and my iPod. See, I used to buy books that I liked. I even spent a lot of money on them. And then when I started working at a public library, it occurred to me--I can get my hands on nearly any book I can think of within a couple of days, and not have to store it in my home!

Much of the bookbuying stopped. I limited my purchases to reference books and books that were too niche to be available through the library system (in other words, old sf/f and m/m romance.) My groaning bookshelves thanked me! I even managed to shed some titles that I was probably never going to look at again, but was hanging on to "just in case." Yes...hoarders everywhere are nodding their heads in understanding.

Two years ago I set up a home office, and I put a stereo in it. Within hours I realized I hated the stereo. Why? Because compared to iTunes, it was incredibly inconvenient. I didn't want to deal with standing up and putting CDs in a slot. I wanted to push a button and not have to worry about it. I realized I didn't care about discs--I wanted the MP3s, the music, and not the physical items. Then computer issues wiped out my iTunes library, and I decided I'd rather subscribe to a music service than deal with keeping track of an MP3 collection. I wanted the ability to hear the songs--not to own the hunks of plastic (and whatever CDs are made of.)

I've also stopped buying movies. Why? I have Netflix. Who needs 'em?

I love feeling less burdened by physical items. In my opinion, they're just more crap to keep you weighed down. Think about it, if we were always confident that the things we wanted or needed would be at our fingertips without having to store, clean, inventory and hoard them, we'd be so free to come and go as we pleased, experience the things we want to experience, without having to deal with all this physical stuff. I love  having my digital library on a mobile device. To me, it represents freedom.

That's my take on it; I'm keen on hearing yours. Come chat with Josh and me at the Samhain Cafe on Thursday, March 11 at 6pm EST.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 9th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
There is no difference, for all intents and purposes, between listening to a high-quality MP3 and a CD, nor between watching a downloaded movie and a DVD. There is, however, a manifest difference between reading from an eBook reader, and reading a book. Most of the eBooks I've seen have been too small for my comfort, and I get a headache from staring at a screen too long. I'll happily exchange CDs and DVDs for streaming/downloading music and video. But I'll give up my paper books when they pry them from my cold, dead hands.
Mar. 9th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
I'm sure paper books won't go away within our lifetime. Plenty of people abhor ebooks.
Mar. 9th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
I like my ebooks. I like my paper books.
But given a choice between them, I will take the ebook reader everywhere and paper books very few places.

My ebook reader is lighter. It stays open. It's easier on my arthritic hands. I don't get headaches from e-ink. And I can adjust the font if I'm tired or having a particularly blind day.

I read paper books in bed or for class, but for most pleasure reading, it's my Sony.
Mar. 9th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
I was reading 1000-page Under the Dome recently and I wished several times it was an ebook. It was just really hard to even have in bed with me. It was like cuddling up to a cinderblock.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 9th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
I'm with you, I love reading on my iPod. I also seldom have a purse because I prefer to have my hands free, but it's easy to keep the iPod in my pocket. What's nice about the Kindle books is that if you've downloaded them, they're still available even if you're not on a wireless network. Plus now there is a PDF reader for iPod/iPhone that works reasonably well, here: http://www.goodiware.com/goodreader.html
Mar. 9th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)
I heart e-books
I actually find paper books a bit annoying and cumbersome. Although I love bookstores. They take up so much SPACE. I do usually have one in my purse because I don't carry my netbook (don't have an official e-reader, just a baby computer) with me everywhere. But traveling it keeps me sane. Also lets me read and surf, no more fighting my daughter for the computer. I find I can enlarge pdf files enough for comfortable reading. I got rid of most of my books years ago except for some special ones and I'm good with that. Never buy music in CD form and we rarely even watch movies so it's not an issue. We buy a few like those in the Harry Potter series so we'll have a set.

I would LOVE to denude my house of all the extra STUFF, and I have gotten rid of a lot, but I have a kid and they are notorious for hoarding. I still have to get over the guilt thing too. "Ooooohh, my parents bought me that weird pot in Mexico, I can't get rid of it." Sigh.
Mar. 9th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
Re: I heart e-books
I forgot to say I also heart your flowery heart. Very pretty.
Mar. 9th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
Re: I heart e-books
Thanks, I love that heart too. phyncke made it for me so it's extra special.

We're in a spot where we're beginning to try to shed stuff we don't use or need. I wonder sometimes if it's easier to do it in one fell swoop than it is to pick through and weigh and measure everything.
Mar. 9th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
I have similar thoughts about cds, although I have my music library on my computers and not through a service. (I'm a MediaMonkey fan, not iTunes.)

I'm sitting on my couch right now, with several stacks of paper books (recent releases all) sitting next to me. But I've found that I'll choose to reread an ebook rather than pick up a brand new paper book, because I like reading on the ebooks so much more.

Not adding to my overflowing bookshelves is definitely a plus, too!
Mar. 9th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
I haven't tried MediaMonkey. I hesitate to say, because they used to not be legit (although now they are owned by Blockbuster and have been legit for years) but I'm crazy about Napster. I'm finding old bands I like that have released new music, new bands I never heard of, and stuff I have on vinyl but I'm too lazy to play because it involves finding the disc and putting it on a turntable.

Maybe I will get rid of my vinyl. It's so heavy and takes up so much space. Which I could also say about paper books.
Mar. 9th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
I used to love e-books. It's very rare that the books I want to read gets translated to swedish and if they do, sometimes it's years after they first were published. For instance the last Discworld novels translated to swedish is Carpe Jugulum and The Wee Free Men in the Tiffany Aching series.

So e-books was an awesome way for me to save on postage and shelf-space while I didn't had to wait forever to get my hands on a recently published book. Not to mention I got to read it in it's original language, which I always prefer.

Then lawyers got involved, and now at least fictionwise and the e-reader site don't sell the books I want to people with an european adress tied to their credit cards. :( It had to do with international publishing rights, which I can understand in theory. But trust me, if a swede who want to buys an english e-book can't, they'll buy a copy of the english paperbook instead.

So now I rarely buy e-books, and while my wallet thanks me, I'm so glad I'll be able to get a hold of the next psycop at least!

I'm also very happy I didn't spent a lot of time trying to buy a reader and getting it shipped to sweden. I read on my laptop. :) It gives me large enough print and takes up less space in bed than the cat. ;)

Mar. 10th, 2010 11:44 am (UTC)
Oh, that's a drag that you used to be able to get ebooks and now you can't due to the red tape. That's worse, in a way, than never having been able to get the books. I suspect eventually worldwide rights will be included for electronic editions. IT's like ebooks are so new, the ramifications aren't quite worked out yet.

I'm surprised your cats don't cuddle up with the laptop in bed! You know how they are with warm things.

Frankie loves to sit on the laptop. He's so big I'm worried he'll break it, I'll open it up one day to a cracked screen :-/
Mar. 9th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
My only issue with e-books is that I can't take them into the bath with me when I'm feeling particularly hedonistic on an off work and school day and wish to take a two hour soak. They haven't yet created a waterproof case for my laptop, and it'd be way to risky to attempt it. I can't even tempt fate by saying what would happen.
Mar. 10th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
I'm always surprised when people read in the bath! I don't know why, but it's so unappealing to me. I feel like I get all pruny and the water goes cold :D
Mar. 12th, 2010 09:34 am (UTC)
I am so sad I missed this chat! I love ebooks but I really still like paperbacks as well. I can read them on the bus and at work. I don't own a e-reader yet( waiting to win the lotto you see ^_~) but I always buy both. Paperbacks I love more because I just really like the idea of sitting on a comfy couch and reading a nice story from a real book you hold in your hands. I really hope you continue to print your stories in paperback.
Mar. 12th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
It was a wild and crazy chat!

For me, I'm waiting to find an ereader with the right blend of functionality. I think someone who buys a lot of books easily makes the cost of the reader back within the year, even with buying some books twice--because I think not every book becomes "paperworthy" then, with the double expense and the amount of space it takes up, and the necessity to store and own the physical object.

One thing we didn't talk about is Print-On-Demand, which is so brilliant it's stunning. All the m/m presses I know except Blind Eye Books do POD. Now you don't need to print hundreds or thousands of copies to publish a print book! No warehousing, no storing. Very flexible.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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