Monday, May 09, 2011

Why I Want A Kindle... and Why I Don't

You know e-books are all the rage. Just take a look at this graph, and you won't be able to deny that the electronic publishing revolution has become a war. I've been watching it with interest both as a consumer and as an author. I've even been asked about it in interviews I've given for my traditionally published novels Thicker than Blood and Bound by Guilt. The way I see it, e-books are going to become (well, I guess they already have) just another form of a book. The same way you have a paperback and a hardcover. And like in past years when some books aren't ever released in hardcover and only come out in paper, we're now seeing some being released exclusively to Kindle or Nook and skipping the paper route altogether.

I recently read one of those books. Here Comes the Ride by Lorena McCourtney is a cozy mystery published by the author. It's available for $2.99. Having enjoyed the first novel in McCourtney's Andi McConnell series Your Chariot Awaits I knew I wanted to read the second. But alas, even though it was contracted to be published traditionally by Thomas Nelson, for some reason the contract was canceled, leaving Andi stranded in her limousine. Thus the reason McCourtney took the bull by the horns and went the e-pubbing route.

I don't yet own an e-reader. In order to read this novel (which was fantastic, btw) I had to download a free app for my computer. Easy enough, but it's not the same reading a book off your computer screen. This is why I really want a Kindle. I want to be able to curl up in bed with a cup of tea and read a book like Here Comes the Ride, or James Scott Bell's new writing book Writing Fiction For All You're Worth. I don't like cuddling up with my laptop unless I'm actually working on writing a novel.

For now I am resigned to reading off my computer screen. If the book's good enough, I will do it. But here's my big dilemma. When I finished the last page of Here Comes the Ride, I was satisfied and had the strong urge to close the book and set it up on my shelf. I like collecting books, for crying out loud. How in the world am I going to do that with books released exclusively to Kindle? I want to lend my books to my friends too, but unless I bite the bullet and buy an e-reader, and they do too, this isn't happening.

Thus my "why I want, why I don't" problem. What about you? Where do you weigh in on this dilemma that's going to be with us for quite some time.

17 comments:

Martha A. said...

Exactly..!!!!! I cannot agree more! How can I share the book with my friends if it only available on an eReader? I want it because I see how handy it would be to take with you....but I don't like the feel of electronics in my hands compared to a book!
So, I want it, but I don't!!

Ben Langhinrchs said...

Buy it. Chances are, your friends will as well (so that you can lend it), and if they don't, it will give you an excuse to recommend that they buy it themselves and read it on-line.

I want to make it clear that I love print books, but the Kindle has given me a chance to read books I would never have found or bought before. Partly because of price, but even more because of availability. Reading books on the Kindle (as opposed to the tablets such as iPad or Nook Color) is also wonderful because I can do it in my hammock on a nice day, or while traveling.

I have bought many more books since I got the Kindle, but more print books as well as eBooks. No, I'm not paid by Amazon, but I am a convert.

Katers said...

I hear ya. I think the whole reason I caved in and decided to get a kindle was because I just ran out of room for books. I still have a large stack of "to read" book sitting beside one of my shelves.. and yet, I'm finding that I'm reading books on kindle because I'm more comfortable and I seem to read them quicker? It sounds strange, I know. I still by the paperback version of the authors I love (and no one could take my hardback classics collection from me!!), but there are so many books that I have that I will probably never read again and sit in the back of the shelf that I'm so better off having downloaded it and stored electronically.

Cheryl said...

Since I'm in grad school, I'm using my Kindle for books I have to read as opposed to those I want to read. A little cheaper and I don't have to find shelf space for them.

I've also subscribed to some magazines on the Kindle--I hate having to get rid of back issues and the Kindle solves that problem. :-)

But the want to read list has its problems; the most pressing of which is, I'm running out of room on my bookshelves.

Its also easier to take a Kindle on vacation instead of several books, esp. if flying.

Jeremiah said...

I love my Kindle. I love being able to take six books on a plane. I like being able to lean it up against the wall to read while I'm brushing my teeth. Mine has a leather cover, so it looks like a real book on the shelf, except that I can fold the cover behind it, which I would/could never do with a paperback or hardback.

WordVixen said...

My biggest issue with the Kindle is the price. If they dropped it down to, say, $75 or less, I'd be all over it. If they sold it at the current price but offered a $20 gift card to Amazon with the purchase, I'd probably do it. But, quite frankly, most e-books are only a buck or two less than their print counterparts (which I'd rather have), so the price just isn't worth it for the occasional ARC.

I'd like a Kindle- I'm just not willing to pay that price.

I also think that ebooks should be handled like the new DVD+Blu-Ray combo packs. :-D Buy one, you get the other with it.

Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom said...

Love, love, love my kindle!! I might have gotten one for Christmas (according to hubby), but I won one in a contest last Nov. and was an immediate convert. I like the e-ink feature; it's so much easier on my eyes than a computer screen (or one of the other e-readers), and it's quite comfortable to hold. Amazon has TONS of free books - old and new - and Facebook has several pages that constantly highlight new books. I'm also in grad school & put one of my textbooks on it (ok - not my fave) and a bunch of the pdf readings (saved a lot of paper on printing them out). Plus, new books are cheaper.

Of course, I'm a certified bibliophile with over 7 tall bookshelves in the house FULL of books! And, they aren't going anywhere. I still love the smell & feel of new books. I feel like I've got the best of both worlds this way!

btw, I sent you a twitter dm (I think!!). My review of Bound by Guilt is up on my blog, CBD & Amazon. It was excellent, as usual.

Oh, one other thing. I tend to be rather neurotic, so if I've already started a book series in paperback (or hard cover), I have to finish it the same way. And vice versa for kindle boks.

Kathryn said...

I'm on the fence, too. I think I'll get one eventually--partly to save space in my house and partly because I'm old enough that many print books' type size seems annoyingly small. I like the ability to customize type size on an e-reader. But I love good old-fashioned physical books, too, and always will.

C.J. Darlington said...

Some great comments, everyone! Thanks for sharing. I can see myself owning a Kindle sometime in the future, but I don't think I will ever give up real live books either. Ben... you are very right. I've tried books on the Kindle (or for me the Kindle app for my computer) I wouldn't have tried otherwise. So that's an interesting point to remember.

Morgan said...

I think e-readers are easy and convenient but there is just nothing like holding a real book, or like you said, closing it and putting it up on your shelf. I don't think I would ever get a Kindle or another e-reader unless one was given to me.

Jennifer said...

I bought my Kindle a couple of months ago, and I was seriously worried that I wouldn't enjoy it as much as "real" books. That's not the case, however! I'm reading even more books now, and I haven't even paid for a single book I've read on my Kindle yet. Too many good, free ones are available. Of course, I still read "real" books, but the Kindle is a great addition. And I love the ability to carry around multiple books in one slim volume. It also makes it so nice when trying to read a long book; I don't have to worry about knocking myself out when reading in bed. I'm definitely a convert!

Amy (ArtsyBookishGal) said...

I got a Kindle (as a Christmas present) mainly to read galleys for reviews. I still like the feeling of paper and love to see my shelves piled high with pretty books. But Kindle is great for my mom who suffers from macular degeneration and needs the bigger print.

The other thing I like about Kindle is the free books and all that. But, honestly, I think I'd rather have NookColor. But, you know what? Right now it doesn't matter.

But $114 for a good ereader is a pretty good price for Kindle. So I'll probably continue to use both.

Lancaster Christian Writers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeanette Windle said...

Actually, instead of sitting it on one's shelf, it sits on one's Kindle, which can be just as satisfying; in the five months I've had a Kindle, I've discovered the visceral delight of opening an entire library on my Home screen while on the plane or in a car, browsing through my various collections (sci-fi, classics, contemporary, CBA, etc.) for precisely the book I feel like reading at the moment. And of course that most have been free downloads or bargains no more costly than a second-hand bookstore makes it even better. I no longer miss seeing the books filling up my scant bookshelf space compared to sitting in my briefcase in one thin, leatherbound volume.

C.J. Darlington said...

Well, I'm pretty much convinced I want one now! But I'm never giving up my real books. I'll just enjoy both. :)

Tim George said...

But please resist using "KINDLE" as the generic for all eReaders. My NOOKcolor lets met take that book to bed without a light of any kind. Going to be interesting to see what Amazon's answer is. For those of us who still love book stores, the NOOKColor has saved Barnes and Nobles from the fate of Borders and Walden Books. So maybe it's a win-win after all.

Judith Briles said...

I love books! hardbound, paperback, these make up most of my bookshelf at home. I do love to collect books and see them lining up in the shelf. But, I also want a Kindle to offer me a convenient access to ebooks.