The Page a Day Writers Group

Tempted by E-Readers

Posted on: August 28, 2010

I’ve been mulling over the idea of ereaders for several months, weighing pros and cons and coming up about 50-50, until today. Book buying isn’t usually an issue for me. I’ve always been fairly content to buy used paperbacks from secondhand stores, library stores and trade stacks of books with my literary friends. Lately, however, my system isn’t working. I don’t see my friends often enough (I’m talking to YOU, dear B-1) to swap books quickly enough to match my appetite. Haven’t borrowed a library book in years since realizing that I’m simply not grown-up enough to return them on time. The fines were a killer. There aren’t any good used bookstores nearby–plight of the motherlovin’ suburbs–and I am rarely able to get to the library store during the three hours it’s staffed by genial senior volunteers.

I was staunchly pro-print. Books are tactile. You can dog ear the pages and write in the margins. If you drop a novel in the bathtub, you simply let it dry out and continue reading its rippled leaves. Finish a book on a trip and you can leave it behind in the plane’s seat pocket for another traveler to discover. Best of all, books are desert island-proof–no batteries required.

Conversion has been a slow process. My right hand got tired holding up “The Girl Who Played with Fire.” It was no easy feat to iron my hair while reading it, the book balanced on the sink’s edge, a giant clippy holding it open. I finished the book and was hungry for the last novel in the series, but alas, it’s only in hardback. I considered ordering a used copy online, but would have to wait a week to get the book. The ebook was also significantly cheaper than the print copy, but I wasn’t yet swayed.

Anyway, it came to a head today. I went to Borders, determined to find a good book but scanned the shelves in vain. No Caitlin Kiernan or Jeffrey Ford. I searched for several other authors names and couldn’t find their work. Emma Donaghue and Sarah Waters were in trade paperback only. I settled on Mike Carey’s Vicious  Circle.

If I had an ereader, I could have practically any book I wanted within minutes. Oh joy! Not to mention that writers get better royalties for ebook sales, a strong selling point. My books take up a lot of space–the big dust-magnet stack beside the bed, the boxes in the garage, the teetering piles on the bookshelves. People with Kindles say they love them, and there is that new 3G wireless version…but the Kobo has nice ‘handfeel’, the Nook has a big touch-screen (buttons seem annoying) and seems like a great value, as does the Sony reader (except for the ‘flash’ when turning pages). So tell me, if I’m going to take the plunge, which model is best? If you have an ereader, which one and what you love about it (and what’s not so great)? If you’re on the fence about it, check out the links below.

Tech Tarts: Choosing an EReader

B&N: The Nook

Sony vs. Kindle

Borders EReader comparison chart

Kirsten Imani Kasai


8 Responses to "Tempted by E-Readers"

You might find this link here interesting for the actual break down of e-book royalty vs. paperback. It looks to me like they make the same or less, but I didn’t read it in depth:

Nonetheless, I love having an e-reader. I got one for my birthday, and the best part was my heart jumping when I realized I was carrying my entire library, all at once, in my purse.

That’s worth it.

That article talks about e-books through an e-book publishers, which pay u to 25%. Publishing directly to Kindle offers a 70% royalty and Smashwords offers 80%.

Thanks for the reply. Which ereader do you have?
The royalty data is interesting. I’m curious to see how writer’s earnings will change over the next few years as fewer books go into print and publisher’s costs go down. Or maybe there will be an option to use the $ saved from a print run and apply it toward marketing!

Your story sounds so much like mine. I’m a book lover from way back, but when my daughter gave me a Kindle for my birthday last spring, my whole concept of reading changed. The invention of e-readers is the best thing since sliced bread!

All of this stuff about the feel and smell of paper books is nonsense. The experience comes from reading the WORDS, and now I realize that now matter what format the words come in, I enjoy the story. Now I wonder if I’ll ever get to reading what’s still stacked in the TBR tower next to my bed …

Got one for Christmas. It’s still in my desk drawer. Based on what everyone is saying, guess I better dust it off and download some books.

I’m still not ready to convert! …there’s just something about holding and reading an actual book. Since I read romance, I can’t imagine not being able to look back at the cover periodically throughout the story, just to get a glance at the main characters (or so I tell myself). I do get a kick out of actually turning the pages, dog earing the pages, and writing in the margins. I have a connection with the actual books, and can’t really seeing myself curl up with a good Nook or Kindle.

Come into the future, girl! You can highlight and make notes on Kindle. It’s amazing …

We just got Paige a Kindle for her birthday, which I’m getting to enjoy as well because we read YA aloud to each other for fun. It’s easy to see, books are relatively inexpensive, you can store a gazillion of your favorite books, and you can take it anywhere. If you have questions, or some random thought comes up that you’d like to check out, you can surf the Net. It’s totally cool. Besides, I’m getting tired of having to find new nooks and crannies in the house and garage to store the tactile, traditional versions. But that’s just me.
Let us know what you end up getting. 🙂

Trish W.

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The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!


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