I mentioned in passing about a week ago that it was my birthday last Saturday (the 12th). The present I received from Sarah was a Sony eReader, pocket edition. The picture on the left isn’t of mine, but it gives you an idea. Mine also came with a leather case so when it is closed it looks like a small notebook. I love that because I can put it in my book case and it blends in! It’s so cute.
After having a play with it, finding websites to download and purchase ebooks from, and reading a novel on it, I thought I would share my opinions and experiences with it in the past week.
Obviously it won’t hold the same experience as a book; it doesn’t have the smell, you don’t have the feel of the pages at your finger tips, the colour isn’t there, you can’t use your favourite bookmark, there isn’t that blissful satisfaction of being the first to crack the spine if you’re a spine cracker (I’m not, but I know of people who are), and if you’re vain in the show off sense no one will know what you’re reading (that could also come in handy).
I missed all these things whilst reading at first, but the eReader is light, almost hand sized so I can hold it with one hand and it doesn’t hurt from the weight of it, I can adjust the font size (you can zoom in, but it’s not zooming in as in getting closer to a particular section and having to scroll to other areas, it adjusts the page to still fit to the screen), I can’t adjust the backlight but I can adjust the contrast to make the font more pronounced, I can make notes as I go without marking the book or writing on something and then losing my notes aftewards, and if you’re anything like me you won’t have migraines at night.
I do love reading at night, but I can have trouble with it. I suffer from photosensitivity, and even when I’m not suffering from a migraine or headache, at night the light on the pages can strain my eyes to a degree and bring about a level of discomfort that detracts from reading. With the eReader there is no glare (thanks to the E Ink display) and no harsh white background so no migraines or uncomfortable eye strain. I love this.
The eReader also comes with a stylus (built into the right side) that you can use to navigate if you don’t like using your finger tips, you can swipe the screen as if you’re turning a page, double tap a corner of the book you’re reading to save your place, easily turn pages at the bottom with the straight forward buttons, and it really is easy to use once you find your way around which doesn’t take that long at all.
I know I probably sound like one of those reviewers getting paid to blow someone’s horn, but I’m not. I think I’m just in love with it and that’s a big deal for me because when eReaders first came into existence I never thought I’d actually buy one or use one or hold one or have anything to do with one. Then I started noticing certain books I wanted weren’t being published into paper format, but only ebook format, and I started contemplating the fact I may need to get one to read those.
Add onto that fact that the writing industry is changing, try to ignore it, but it is. There is a market in electronic devices, even libraries are getting in on it, and I realise that at some point I’m going to have to not only publish the good old standard way, but also think about publishing via a digital method. This is something I’m actually contemplating right now. I’m thinking of making short stories available for ebooks, but how can I do that without using one first? Of course before I had the eReader I was questioning how readers would feel being left out if they didn’t have that format to read on, but that’s something I really like about the Sony one is that you can have other formats. You can upload PDF files onto it.
One thing I’ve discovered you can’t put on a Sony eReader is a kindle book. That in some ways kind of sucks because there are books out there that are only in kindle format (such as The Great Bazaar and Other Stories by Peter V. Brett, but that’s coming in different formats so the key is patience!), but I think the thing to do with that is research. Find out if there is only a kindle version of the story, if there is find out if another format will come out later, because I think a lot of publishers and authors realise there is a far bigger market than the kindle user market in the digital library industry. If you’re not sure just ask them, authors are so much more assessable these days, really what have you got to lose?
The only down side for me is that I wouldn’t recommend reading comics on there. That’s when you have to zoom in and scroll around rather than being able to magnify the images the other way. I placed the PDF sample copy of the latest Heavy Metal magazine on there and couldn’t read it. Plus the eReader is different shades of grey making it less fun if you appreciate colour in a comic or graphic novel. That’s it though. Apart from that I am sold.
Within the next week I’ll post links to websites where you can find ebooks for free, online retailers who specialise in ebooks, sites you can buy from and it doesn’t matter if you’re in Australia, helpful websites that I have found, what you need to use it, and anything else I think should be included. If there’s anything you want to know though feel free to ask me.
I would like to also state that ebooks will never replace books for me. I love shiny gadgets, and I love the ease of use with the eReader, but I’m still going to buy books. It won’t stop me from buying them. The eReader for me really is to access books by authors I love that I wouldn’t be able to get in paper form, access books that I wouldn’t be able to get in Australia at all (there’s so many of those!), and to try out authors that I’m not quite sure about, but am curious about enough to try.
Have you tried an eReader? What are your thoughts on the book industry and now it is changing?