From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why I've Finally Decided eReaders are Not Evil

I was very skeptical at first. I mean, nothing can replace the textile feel of a book in your hands, the way it smells, how snuggly it is especially when accompanied by an armchair, fireplace and big mug of cocoa. Obviously I'm a book freak, and it took me a while to see that eReaders are NOT the enemy of books. Here's why.

Functionality. Put simply, eReaders make buying books and lugging them around in large quantities much easier, and who doesn't want that? Ok, so maybe our pocket books are feeling the strain of one-click book ownership, but other then that...for the casual read, or textbooks, things like that, eReaders just plain make sense.

Exploring. With an eReader, you can 'preview' a book before you buy it. This lets you get a taste of a bunch of different things which is harder to do without an eReader. There are also a lot more options, with mid-list authors backlist's and self-published authors readily accessible. This is huge for readers as well as writers trying to expand their literary horizons.

People with eReaders read more, not less. This is probably the biggest reason for me. Because of the reasons listed above, people are reading more with eReaders, not less. They have more options easier to get to then ever before. They can find a whole bunch of new things and carry them all around with them wherever they go. Why wouldn't you read more? Again, this is great news for readers and writers trying to reach those readers.

Having said all that, still nothing will replace a good old fashioned book, and I don't think they ever will. Each has their purpose, and I don't think the regular book is going to go away any time soon. I should also say that I have yet to buy an eReader personally, and all this is based on cursory research and heresay. But I am now planning on buying one once funds make that possible, as opposed to being angry at their very existence. With the way readers are using them these days, I don't think serious writers can afford to ignore the e-revolution, even if it is a bit heart-wrenching.

Those of you who use Kindles or Nooks, what is your opinion? How have they changed your writing or reading habits?

Sarah Allen


  1. I got a Nook for my birthday last year. I like it. But I'm not using it very much. I like books better. I love the feel of a book. With an ereader you can't flip back a chapter just to double check, didn't he say ...

    On the otherhand, when I can't get a book I want from the library and I can get it on my Nook ... YES. If I'm traveling and want a lot of books without the weight ... YES.

    I don't think eReaders are going to replace books. I think there's room enough for both in this world.

  2. I agree with everything you've said and it's true, I do read much more because now buying books is so much easier. I have a Kindle and love it but I'll never give up print books. When they're around, I'll read them. I believe that e-readers must be a God-send to academics who always lug a load of books around with them and you do have the added advantage of putting in notes and annotations without ruining the sight of the page.

  3. I am a very recent ebook convert. I have a Kindle 3 and I just love it.

    I love that I can buy more books. For a few quid I can try out a new author - I wouldn't risk paying full-price for a book I wasn't sure I would enjoy, but now that full-price has dropped, I can.

    I love being able to carry a huge collection with me. I read very fast so usually have to carry two books with me in case I finish one. No longer a problem!

    I could keep going, but I'll leave it there.

    That said, paper books are still wonderful and I certainly haven't given up on those. Nor will I ever.

  4. I am reading more than I ever did before. I love being able to resize text and leave bookmarks.

    It took me a long time to switch to an ereader. I'll read a print book if it happens to be lying around, but when buying books, they'll always be digital.

  5. Sarah ~
    Kind of interesting...I've gone through the exact same reasoning and have arrived at the exact same place...

    "But I am now planning on buying one once funds make that possible, as opposed to being angry at their very existence."

    It helps to see my thoughts in print...done so well by another writer :~)

    Thank you!

  6. Agreed Sarah! For a long time I was just plain angry that ereaders existed...I do have a vision of them eventually replacing print books, but I hope that doesn't happen for many years..I don't have one myself yet, but I wouldn't mind investing in a Kindle, just for the sake of having access to so many books in one place.. your first commenter, Cathy, says that you can't flip back with a reader, to me that's a huge disadvantage. Also, it seems to me that a reader would be awkward to hold, is it? It looks like if you're sitting there reading for a while your hand would cramp up...maybe that's just my hands! lol!...Still, I would like to have one, but for me it will never replace a real book!

  7. I don't have one, but money is the main reason... If I got a gift, I would love it for travel, and i think I'd use it for critiquing, as now I actually print a hard copy. I do enough of my reading though, either out in the weather walking or sitting in a bathtub, that it isn't worth it to BUY one, as I still need regular books...

  8. I almost NEVER read paper books anymore. To the point where I've stopped entering contests for books (except ARCs, of course.)

    I read a ton more on my nook than I used to, mostly because it's already in my bag, and if I don't feel like reading the book I've been reading, I can just read something else. And I don't mess up the corners of the pages from reading too fast, and I don't have to worry about the print being too small...

    I could go on for hours, but I'll stop now. Love my nook, can't do without it. Can't wait to see my own book on it! ;)

  9. I think I'm reading more now that I have a Kindle. Love that I can preview books. Sometimes my wallet feels the pinch of "oh I want that and I can have it right now" but that's ok too.

  10. I hope to buy one soon...E-readers or hard cover, reading and the quality of books is what matters...but as long as there are paperbacks...I will buy them or borrow from the library ...

  11. I own both versions of the Nook, the e-ink and the color, and while I won't say they've helped me read more, they have helped me connect to more books. I love the presence that indie books have in the ebook market. As a hopeful future indie author, it makes me happy that anybody with an ereader could find my book as easily as the newest James Patterson.

  12. I love my kindle! It's just so easy to toss it into my purse whenever I go out. I buy physical books just as much as I ever did. I love spending as much time as I can strolling through bookstores, discovering new things. It's all very zen for me. E-readers can't replace that.

  13. I read on an iPad, though using the kindle app more often than not. I'm sure I read a lot more and certainly more variety because it is so easy to get self published material and pick up things folk mention inblogs etc.
    My own book sells about five times as many on the kindle as it does on iPad or Sony, with then other readers trailing in the rear. For me as a self published author, in England, who has done just about nothing in the way of marketing it has been amazing to find I have sold books in the USA, actually a lot more than the UK, such ins the magic of Amazon and ereaders.

  14. I used to be opposed to them, but I've warmed up, for all of the reasons you listed above.

  15. How has my Kindle changed my writing? Did you know you can send your own MS to your Kindle? Just email it to your Kindle account, and it will show up. I did my first read-through (pre editing) on my Kindle, and it was fabulous. I always had it with me, I didn't kill anymore trees printing out an extra copy, and... well, it just felt like a real book when I saw it listed on the home screen.

    I also use my Kindle for critiquing, for all the same reasons.

  16. Your description of books was right on. The way they feel, the smell, etc.

    I still prefer a good old fashioned book and turned down the offer of a Kindle type thing as a 40th birthday gift. A decision I do not regret.

    However, I do have a Kindle app on my phone. Strictly for convenience sake. I will use it to read only when I do not have an actual book handy (like you are waiting in a line you did not anticipate). So for that, I am happy.

    And your last point is correct. Anything to get people to read more is always a good thing for writers!

  17. Well now, I have 2 e-readers. A Kindle 2nd generation and a Nook Color. I like them for a few reasons, the main one is once my shoulders started acting up, it became herd for me to carry around hard cover books, my e-readers store the books I normally would have to lug around. Also if I'm reading something and get tired of reading it at the moment, I can read something else. I can read it on the subway w/o having to let go of the pole to turn a page. I can look up a word on the spot w/o having to mark it for later until I get to a dictionary or PC. I love both of my e-readers, I'm a big fan.

  18. I definitely want an e-reader. I love real books, but my problem is constantly running out of space to store them. I have such a hard time getting rid of books, even when it's not likely I'll ever read them again. I would love to be able to keep them all, in a lovely compact electronic form! Need to wait on my next big occasion for a present...

  19. e-readers, great because I have little storage. Lots of cheap books. More people reading. More publishing opertunties. All great!

    Downside, can't read in the tub with them. :(

  20. I covet a kindle. Am going to save up for it :)

    I think it's fabulous you can carry a library along with you. I use the kindle app on the iPhone and it is amazing. The real thing must be even better!

  21. I'm just old fashioned I guess, maybe some day I'll come around.

  22. I'm not sure if I will get an eReader but if I may not need one because if I ever get an iPad, then I guess I can just read books on that device, lol.

    The Madlab Post

  23. Great post with some very compelling points about e-readers. I hadn't thought about the fact that e-reader owners probably would read more rather than less. I'm pretty sure I would read more, especially if I could make the size of the print larger. Now to get my own book on those e-reader sites!

    I don't think I thanked you for your visit and comment on my blog toward the end of the A-Z Challenge. I appreciate it but got way behind at the very end.



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