Sunday, July 31, 2011
Every time I go away somewhere and have to lug along ten books, I think about buying a fancy e-reader. Every time I see a new one advertised, with all the features and extra toys, I think about buying one. Every time I go online to check out a book and see that it's cheaper as an ebook and I can have it straight away, I want an e-reader.
But I still haven't bought one. For a number of reasons.
1. They cost a lot. I was given a small cheap e-reader for Christmas last year and while it's kind of OK for epub books, it does mash them up a bit and I read really fast, so I got tired of pressing the page button. If I'm going to get one, it has to have a big screen (10 inch) and it has to show books in proper pages. So I am having a lot of trouble justifying $500-600 just to read books that I can hold in my hand for no extra cost.
2. They have batteries (don't laugh). So they have to be plugged in a lot to recharge. I have enough trouble remembering to recharge my phone. I read enough stuff to know I'd have to recharge an e-reader at least every second day, and I'm not sure I could be bothered right now. And if I was reading something really good and the reader died? It might end up across the room, looking worse for wear.
3. I don't mind reading ebooks but I prefer print. I spend a lot of time on my computer and reading books on screen doesn't tempt me enough. For writers like me, I think there's also a psychological aspect to do with revision. I don't like revising on screen - I have to print things out and scribble all over them and cross stuff out. So reading on screen somehow feels like it might make revision harder for me. Weird, maybe, but we all have our own processes.
4. Obsolescence annoys me, and I suspect where e-readers are concerned, we're going to see more big changes in the technology. I want to wait for an e-reader that really suits me, that I know I'll be able to use for the next 5 or 10 years. But see, right now, I don't know what will suit me. Do I want a camera? I would have said no, but now I Skype a lot. Could I type on something like an iPad? Do I want to? Will anyone ever produce the perfect e-reader for me? Probably not. Actually, I think I'm suffering from product overload - too many choices so I don't want anything (look it up - it's a common consumer problem these days!).
OK, the bottom line is if I could rent or borrow one for a month or three, I'd know. I think. But there's something about being able to shove that paperback in my bag and read it anytime I want without having to turn it on that I love. And there's still that $500 price tag...
(If you want to compare every single e-reader - and get totally confused - take a look at this Wikipedia page.) And the one top left is a Nook Colour, which we can't get in Australia anyway.
Posted by Sherryl Clark at Sunday, July 31, 2011