eBooks vs. paper

I read an article on the Guardian today that has me thinking. The title is “How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’. Unfortunately, I am not sure what I think about it.

The author talks about the resurgence of physical books, stating

figures published today by the Publishing Association show that sales of consumer ebooks have dropped by 17%, while sales of physical books are up 8%.

Overall sales of books in Britain have risen, she goes on to state, which is the good news in all of this as far as I am concerned. The format of the books isn’t as important as the reading of books.

What irritated me was this:

Once upon a time, people bought books because they liked reading. Now they buy books because they like books. “All these people are really thinking about how the books are – not just what’s in them, but what they’re like as objects,” says Jennifer Cownie, who runs the beautiful Bookifer website and the Cownifer Instagram, which match books to decorative papers, and who bought a Kindle but hated it.

In general, this seems like a throwback to the days of people having libraries or bookshelves filled with books that were there to impress, not to be read. That doesn’t seem like progress to me. Books are for reading, not as a kind of art. It shouldn’t matter what the cover looks like; the story is what matters.

And I have to wonder why she didn’t like her Kindle. Was it because it was unhip or because reading on it was not pleasurable? Did she give the Kindle a chance or just abandon it right away?

Buried way down in the article was a very important statement:

The figures from the Publishing Association should be treated with some caution. They exclude self-published books, a sizable market for ebooks. And, according to Dan Franklin, a digital publishing specialist, more than 50% of genre sales are on ebook. Digital book sales overall are up 6%.

Most of the authors I read are self-published. Part of that is because there are some awesome self-published authors out there, and part is because traditional publishers often price their ebooks at or higher than the paperback editions.

There is another side to this discussion, too, and that is privacy. My husband sent me a link to a First Monday article by Clifford Lynch on reader privacy in the age of reader analytics. I will admit to not having read the whole article, but his closing thoughts include these:

At some point it’s worth asking what readers of various kinds will actually tolerate before the creepiness factor becomes overwhelming and repulsive. Suppose, as a thought experiment, that Amazon said it would share every purchaser’s e-mail address with the author of books they purchased? (Pick your own opt-in or opt-out boundary conditions). How about sharing this information with the book’s publisher? Would a discount on the purchase price or some other reward make most readers more comfortable? What conditions (enforceable or not) might be imposed on the author or the publisher regarding reuse of this purchaser information, and would this make any difference to readers’ comfort levels? What choices would customers make in such situations?

I probably don’t worry as much about privacy as I should. Do I need to worry about Amazon or Kobo selling my data? Would I be better off switching to paper books? Amazon could still sell my data if I buy my books from them.  I don’t see much way around it: we have very limited privacy anymore.

My husband loves to buy and read physical books. He only reads used books that he buys or gets from lending libraries without any paper trail. He is very concerned about privacy and, although he has had two ereaders, never got into ebooks. His approach is a fine one, I think. But it doesn’t work for me.

I love my ereaders. I love my ebooks. I buy mostly genre fiction by independent authors, so ebooks are right for me. What about you?

 

OK, I’m happy again!

My new Kobo arrived yesterday. Instead of the Glo HD, which they no longer make, I was given an Aura, 2nd Edition. It is very comparable to the Glo HD, as least as far as I have seen so far.

I charged it and set it up yesterday. That part went extremely well. Of course, this is the 3rd variety of Kobo and the fourth actual ereader I have had over the last 5 1/2 years, so I have a lot of experience with the setup process.  But I really think this was the easiest setup ever.

The Aura supposedly has up to 2 months of battery life. I was below 40% a little while ago, so I am charging it again. I did some stuff with wifi after it was charged yesterday, so that may have affected battery life. After I unplug it this time, I’ll be better able to talk about battery life.

The only thing I am having trouble with is using the virtual keyboard. I swear I hit one key and it gave me a different letter. I am not sure what happened. Fortunately, I don’t use the keyboard much except to set up wifi connections, so this isn’t a big deal.

I am so glad to have a functioning Kobo again! I read a lot on my Kindle ever the past month, and I have to say I just don’t like it as much. It isn’t as comfortable or as intuitive for me. But I have to say that it has been very reliable so far, and that counts for a lot with me. I read too much to not have a functioning ereader! But I am really happy that my new Kobo gives me a functioning ereader that I really like!

 

It just occurred to me…

Every year I when I list me reading by genre, I start with non-fiction, but I seldom read more than one non-fiction book a month. So why does that come first on the list? The only reason I can come up with is a kind of vanity. As an intelligent, educated woman, I think I am “supposed” to read non-fiction. So I put it first and hope people will see that and think I am a serious reader. Truth is, it is all the other books that demonstrate how serious I am about reading. I guess I am more vain than I like to think!

I’m so sad…

My Kobo died this morning. I am trying a couple things, but so far there has been no luck.  From my dealings with Kobo Customer Service a while back with my old Kobo, I know better than to try to talk to them about this one.

I can read all my Kobo books on my tablet or my phone, but I really like using dedicated ereaders. I won’t buy another Kobo, in spite of how much I want to like them.  Actually, I like them. I just don’t like their ereaders anymore, and I HATE their customer service.

There aren’t a lot of other options out there, so I will probably just make do with what I have. But I won’t be happy about it!

 

Lots of reading and not much else!

I don’t know about where you live, but here in southwestern New Mexico it has been exceptionally hot.  We have had way more 100°+ days this year than last year, for sure, and everyone says it’s way more than normal.

We don’t have air conditioning in our RV, so we have been sitting in front of fans a lot lately. There is generally a good breeze, and fortunately, we really like hot weather. But even so, we wouldn’t mind a break!

As a result, I have really gotten a lot of reading done this month – 8 books so far. It is just too hot to do much of anything else. Sunday is the first chance of a sub 100° day, so for at least the next 5 days, I expect the reading to continue.

It will definitely take more than one post to report on all of my July reading!

Reading on my new Kobo

In the 6 days since I got my new Kobo Glo HD, I have read 4 books. (It just occurred to me that maybe I should be a little ashamed to admit that. I’m not, though!) This new ereader is so much nicer than my old one! And reading on it is much nicer than reading on my tablet! I am really happy that I made this purchase. 

 

My new Kobo Glo HD

I have had a Kobo Touch since 2012.  I love it.  But I have had a lot of problems with it in the last couple years.  I managed to find ways to work around the freezing and have been happily using it this whole time.  But as the ereader worked more reliably lately, it became harder for me to deal with the times it didn’t work well.  (I know that indicates a character flaw, but I can’t help it. ) So I decided to buy myself a Glo HD.  And, after two days, I can say that I am really happy that I did.

I read a lot of Kindle books on my tablet, but I wasn’t interested in buying a Kindle. (OK, I was, but I couldn’t justify buying two ereaders!!)  I like the more open approach of Kobo, and all the books I have paid more than $0.99 for are on Kobo.  I know it isn’t the most popular ereader out there, but I am really happy with it.

The Glo HD is smaller than the Touch was, but it isn’t so small that it is hard to hold and read on. The touch screen is much more responsive than the one on the Touch ever was. And, of course, it is backlit, so reading is easier.

I had a little trouble actually purchasing the Glo HD (My order kept getting cancelled.), but it was worth the frustration with that process.

I know I will probably not convince anyone out there to try Kobo, but I have to at least try. There is something nice about reading on an ereader, and there is something really nice about reading on a Kobo.

Changes to my reading list

Well, I just remembered at least part of why I went from a genre reading list to a monthly one: some books are hard to pigeonhole!

I am currently reading Bellwether by Connie Willis. I love Willis’s writing, but I have picked this book up and set it down (figuratively, of course — it is on my ereader) a number of times. It had nothing to do with my interest or lack of interest in the book. It was because I couldn’t figure out how I would classify it once I finished it! I know — that’s a silly reason not to read a book, but it is honestly why I was putting off finishing this one.

So, I decided that I would combine science fiction and fantasy into speculative fiction. It is a better name for it anyway, I think. And I am totally comfortable with putting Bellwether in that category when I finish it — probably tomorrow!

January reading, part 3

OK, back for the last installment.

Fantasy

These were both good books. As I have said before, they are easy to read — something that I cannot say about all fantasy books.  I have hesitated to read book 12 in the series because it introduces new characters, and I am kind of partial to the ones I already know, but I think I will start on it here soon anyway.  I really cannot recommend this series too highly. Please consider reading it if you are even remotely interested in fantasy.

 Historical Fiction

  • The Sword of the Ronin by Travis Heermann was a book I got because it was presented as accurately depicting life in 13th century Japan. I read it as more research for the novels. It was good. And from what I know, I think the author did a good job.  The book contained some fantasy elements, mythological creatures. It made me feel pretty good about our books. But research aside, I enjoyed the book. It was a pretty well-told story.  It is the second book in a trilogy.
  • Song at Dawn by Jean Gill was another good story. It takes place in 12th century Europe.  I loved this book.  There was mystery, intrigue, romance, and a lot of history. This is the first in a series of three books, I believe. I hope to read them all.  (I just bought the second one, so prepare to read about it here next month!)

Audiobooks

Again, more research. These audiobooks from Librivox gave me a lot of good insight and details that I have been able to include in the books my son and I are writing.  I found the books fascinating.

So that’s it for January. I’ve already finished 2 books this month, so I am off to a good start. Check back in a month to see how it went.

January reading, part 2

Well, class went pretty well, and I am back to continue with my reading list for last month.

Mysteries and Thrillers:

  • The Clue by Carolyn Wells is a very old book, but that didn’t detract from the story. Wells was a very good writer! It was a good mystery without all the extra stuff that is so common in today’s mysteries.
  • Eleven by Carolyn Arnold is the story of a new FBI agent who has his hands full with a wife who calls him at work, a former girlfriend who works with him every day, a boss who seems determined to see him fail and a killer who seems to have targeted him. It was a good story and kept my interest. I am not sure I liked the FBI agent, though; he seemed a little whiny.
  • Waist Deep by Frank Zafiro is a great book. Stefan Kopriva used to be a cop, but that was a long time ago. He is down on his luck until an old school acquaintance asks him to investigate the disappearance of his daughter. I highly recommend this book!

Science Fiction

  • Parley by Jamie McFarlane is the third book in this series but the first one I have read. That lack of background knowledge was not a problem, though. The story was a good one and there was just enough mention of past events to make the present understandable. I will read more of these books.
  • Dark Space, #1 by Jasper T. Scott was another good book. There were lots of twists and turns, more than there are in some scifi books.  On Amazon it is listed as being for grades 6-12, but it didn’t read that way at all to me. I really enjoyed it. The only problem I had with it was my fault; I started reading it and Parley at the same time. I got really confused! Two space operas at the same time was too much to keep straight!
  • Second Star by Dana Stabenow was a great story. I think part of why I liked it so much is that the main character is 41 years old. She has the emotions and experiences and life of an almost middle-aged woman. For me as a past middle-aged woman, it was fun. I think too many of the books I read are about people in their 20s and 30s. Nothing wrong with that, but a different perspective is sometimes nice. Of course, people in this world live to be over a hundred, so 41 is not middle age there! This book is much better than it sounds from my description here. I hope you will give it a try.

I really enjoyed these science fiction books. I don’t think I have ever read three in one month before! I used to focus primarily on mysteries, but I find science fiction and fantasy are much more interesting to me these days. I think part of it may be the somewhat happier endings; people die, but it is usually only the  bad guy. I don’t know. We’ll see how this plays out in February!

OK, it’s getting late and I have to get up early tomorrow. I still have three categories to cover. I’ll try to get them done in the next day or two.