Friday, January 16, 2009

Help me decide

That's right, I've decided to cross over to the dark side. Though I like the smell of paper and the sound of a new book cracking open for the first time and ALL THAT, I'm seduced by the fact that I can download a story in seconds and carry several books with me at once. Lugging around a fat hardcover (along with all the other kid stuff I'm forced to carry--iPods, Nintendos, and children's books like, oh, the 800-page ELDEST) on my last plane trip was the clencher.

So. Given that I'm not a gadget person *at all* and I know I probably shouldn't be making any decisions based on which is prettier, does anyone have any input? I've skimmed a few blogs comparing the two, but it seems to be pretty much a wash. I just want to it to download lots of books easily. It doesn't need to play music or give me a back massage or make dinner for a party of 12.

What do you think? And do you ever plan to join me on the dark side?


fairyhedgehog said...

I'm sure I'll join the darkside one day. It would be great to be able to carry several books at once in the space of a paperback. But alas I'm no help to you at all in choosing as I have no idea of the technology at the moment!

It sound great for plane journeys.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Nope, can't cross over to the dark side. No advice on the reader either, but I bet you'll love it! I'm addicted to the smell of the ink and feel of book in my hand...and I'm too spastic to take a reader into the bathtub with me! Another problem...I get my books signed when possible. Can't do that with these hi-tech gadgets. :)

WendyCinNYC said...

Fairy and Angie--Don't worry, I won't abandon books altogether.

Maybe book signings in the future can be like rock concerts, where authors sign their fan's chests.

Or, ew, maybe not.

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

I choose #1 - it's smaller and sleeker and seems to have the same reading view as the second. Once the kids are grown and you're not hauling all that "stuff" around you can crawl back out of the dark side. We'll still be here in the light cheering you on!

colbymarshall said...

No. I will not do it. Ever.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I'll probably not read books online like that; however, I do think new? authors will have to have their books available in ebook or kindle or whatever....

Anonymous said...

This issue has come up in my writer's group--how we need to adapt to this kind of technology and prepare ourselves for this form of publication (should THAT ever happen). I do love to hold a real book and I'm slow to accept change. Not sure I'll be buying one of these gadgets too soon. But, for what it's worth, I like the first option best.

Spy Scribbler said...

Tee-hee. You're asking me? You asked for it. I love my Kindle.

Kindle, hands down. And that's EVEN though I love the new Sony Reader with the built-in light and touch screen. (Way cool.) The built-in light is a KILLER feature, but it still doesn't beat the Kindle.

First, the Kindle is slightly thicker. Not much, but this is important. You need something to hold onto. I've held the Sony Reader in Borders, and it's just too thin. The Kindle still fits in my rather small purse, but there's more for me to hold onto. I like the big buttons people complain about: I can turn pages easily, whether I'm laying on my right side or my left side; not true with the Sony. And the touch screen to turn pages with the Sony? Cool, but it's so much easier to click.

The Kindle cover, with some velcro added, is PERFECT for reading, while the Sony cover makes its thinness a bit of a moot point, and is a bit more awkward for reading.

Second, and most importantly, the automatic download thing is WAY MORE important than I originally thought it was. I originally thought hooking up my reader to my computer would not bother me, and that it would not be a large difference between the two.

It's HUGE. I have never hooked up my Kindle. Ever. The ability to click-click and have a new book delivered is amazing. The ease of just attaching and emailing a document (and typing in notes on a document! I do critiques on my Kindle!) to my Kindle is amazing. I self-edit my own stuff on my Kindle.

I can not tell you how huge this feature is, but if you get the Kindle and use it for a few days, the instant download feature will immediately become a feature you cannot live without.

The prices of books on Amazon are cheaper. That's a factor for me.

Then the click-click and download sample thing is AMAZING. Every time someone tells me I should read a book, I download a free sample from the Amazon store. (Every book has a sample.) This takes two seconds on my Kindle or when I'm on the internet (you can order samples/books to your Kindle from both in seconds), and I always have an automatic list of everything I want to read.

When I want to read a new book, I just go to my samples, read the bits, and at the end, I click "Buy Now," and boom! It's on my Reader.

This management of the "Books I Want To Read" is PERFECT.

And finally, there is an experimental feature with free internet on your Kindle. It's just basic web browsing, but it's wireless. I don't have wireless internet on my phone, so when we're out and about, I can go on the web and look for the closest car mechanic (or whatever). I don't use this feature much, but when I do, it's extremely helpful.

Honestly, there is no contest. Unfortunately. Even my husband, who LOVES the touch screen of the Sony, cannot live without the instant download of my Kindle. (He wants a Reader now.) He prefers the look and feel of the Sony, but it's still no contest for him. That instant download thing is HUGE.

WendyCinNYC said...

Debbie--#1 is prettier, that for sure.

Colby--OK, but will you have your upcoming book available for download so I can read it?

Kathryn--I *think* you can already get most new releases already.

AmyS--Yes, it's here and getting more popular, whether we like it or not. My opinion is that anyone who buys a reader would be more likely to purchase more books for it than usual, so that's a good thing.

Spy--WOW! Thanks for your input.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Heck, I like the way the smaller one looks, but I also like something a bit beefier in my hands. (You understand, you have a Blackberry!) But I know know which would be best.

I may get one in the future, but it would be a supplement to my books, not a replacement for. Love 'em too much.

Plus, they say they're handy for novelists, when it's time to submit the next ms to their agent. ;)

Joanne said...

I'll probably join you eventually, but not to replace the old books, just as a supplement. Plus, it seems that as writers, it's in our best interest to own the latest technology and be very familiar with it. If a publisher is asking you questions about the Kindle, wouldn't you want to be informed? Time & progress march on, we might have to be on that train.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I vote for the Kindle, but I hear they're coming out with a new version VERY soon, so maybe hold out another month or so. I hear it'll be smaller and they'll fix the page buttons on the side that I hear everyone hits accidentally.

Some people on the b---h yesterday had one and were raving about it. :)

Anonymous said...

My first book came out on Kindle last month. And I was (am) very upset. I want people to buy the actual book. Why would Penguin publishing cause me so much pain.


I don't want buyers to have more than one option. I want them to buy The Book.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

AC, I'm sorry you're disappointed. :(

Jen said...

I also like the look of the Sony, but from Spy's description, the Kindle would be the way I go, when I eventually get one of these bad boys.

And oh yes, I WILL get one. I love "real" books and will never give them up completely, but I have a hard time fitting a trip to the bookstore into my schedule. This is better, and instant downloads?! No more waiting days for the book I bought?

Oh, I'm so in. When I have the cash. Which will hopefully be soon. My husband will think I'm insane. :D

Good luck with making your decision!

WendyCinNYC said...

Janna and Joanne--I agree that it's probably going to become more and more commonplace to have them. I wonder how the economy is going to play a part in sales?

AC--Sorry to hear that. Was the e-version released at the same time as print?

Melanie--Thanks for the tip! Maybe I'll hold off.

Jen--I'll let you know how it goes!

Anonymous said...

I like the looks of the Sony better, but I liked some of the features on the Kindle, like the keyboard thingie.

Anonymous said...

No. The book was released in 2007. The second edition is coming out this year.

Perhaps I'm old school, but as an author I want my book on reader's shelves.

I don't think I'd feel like an "author" if my books were released in an e-version only. Maybe I'm alone on that, I don't know.

I suppose when e-version of books gain popularity, I'll feel differently.

You'll see when you get published. People will ask you if your book is in bookstores. To say, "No, but you can order as a Kindle book" isn't as satisfying as saying, "Yes siree."

WendyCinNYC said...

AC--Oh, I'm sure. But (hopefully) having both will open it up to more audiences. Perhaps.

Anita said...

This is a toughie. Last time I made a choice like this, it was between the black boots and the brown boots. (I got both).

When reading/writing lately, I've been asking myself, "What would Janet Reid do?" I think she posted about her gadget at some might want to check out her blog.

Anonymous said...

You're so right, Wendy. I'm sure my wallet (when the new royalties come in) will give my ego a good talking to.


Melanie Hooyenga said...

AC, I agree with you on the point about it only being available electronically. I think I'd be upset about that.

Travis Erwin said...

One of these dasy I'll buy some kind of e-reader but none of them have sold me as of yet.

And thank you for your recent brick donation. The peace of mind that the project has given us has truly been priceless in this tough ordeal. I have signed on as a follower on your blog and hope to get to know you better in the future, via your posts, but i already know you are a kind and generous person. And I thank you for that.