Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Kindle than Paper

I realized something yesterday:  This year I've purchased more books on my Kindle than I've purchased in paper.  And for the most part, the books that I've been purchasing in paper form from brick and mortar stores are books that I either want to share with friends, that I want to own forever, or that were written by friends that I want to support.

I'm still very opposed to the Kindle's proprietary lock that keeps me from doing what I want with the items that I've purchased when I want.  Spending money is difficult in this economy, so I like being able to share books with friends.  I've found that most of the time that I share a book with a friend and they like that book, that they'll go out and purchase more of that author's books.  I freely admit that, just like I do with my iTunes song, when I've found a way, I will strip the DRM off of my Kindle books so that I can share them.  If the e-book sellers and publishers would get their acts together and give us an easy way to share e-books within the confines of their DRM, I'd gladly use that, but based on the music industry, that probably won't happen in my lifetime.

So then why, if I have so many issues with DRM, am I buying so many Kindle books?  The truth is that, while I love so many things about paper books (smell, counting my progress in the number of pages, being able to see the books on my shelves) I love the convenience of my Kindle.  For one, it's ace on trips.  It used to be when I went on trips that I'd stuff a couple of books in my carry on, a couple in my checked luggage, and then likely end up buying one from the airport bookstore.  That strategy simply isn't great anymore since I don't check luggage now that airlines want to charge for everything.  Being able to carry a hundred books on a device the size of a small notebook is invaluable.  And if, for some reason, I still find myself without something to read, I can instantly buy something else.

The other major advantage is one that I only recently took advantage of.  When I landed in the ER a couple of weeks ago, I was in the hospital for two days, often with nothing to do.  All I had on me was my iPhone.  I was able to use the Kindle app on my iPhone to continue a book I'd begun on my actual Kindle.  When I opened the book on my phone, it synced to the location I'd left of at on my Kindle.  Then, when I had a friend go to my house and get my actual Kindle, I was able to pick up where I'd left off on my iPhone.  And that same philosophy carries through to all devices.  I could start a book on my Kindle, and then move with it to my phone, computer, work computer, iPad...anything that I could download a Kindle app for and put in my user credentials.  A year ago had I found myself in the same situation, I would have spent 6 hours in the ER with nothing to do but listen to the nurses tell me all the things that were wrong with me.

Those two things have made me a convert.  I'll still buy physical copies of friends' books and books that I want to share, but for those two reasons alone, I'll be buying more Kindle books than paper books for some time to come.

And I'm not loyal to fact, I'd jump on ANY device that allowed me to buy any e-books I wanted.  Much like you can buy MP3's from Amazon and put them on any MP3 player, I'd love a device to come forward that could buy books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Powells, etc so that I could have some choice.  Because right now, the Nook needs to get it's act together before I'll shell out the cash for it, and the Borders Kobo needs to hook up with a wireless carrier like both Kindle and Nook have done, because quite frankly, the syncing and ability to purchase books anywhere are killer features.  Not having them severely handicaps the Kobo.

So what about you all?  What are your thoughts?


  1. It's funny. I don't mind reading blogs in electronic form, but I don't think I could ever get used to (or enjoy) reading a book that way. It just lacks the sensations that reading a physical book provides.

  2. I use the B&N eReader and Kindle apps on an iPod Touch (prefer eReader for how much I can customize the reading experience). I'm with you on the travel ease. As long as I keep the iTouch charged, I'm golden. I've bought paper books in the past year for the first time in a long time; they're all YAs + MGs I bought to support friends + share with the kids @ Magik. The amount of paper that goes into a print run gives me the heebies, but most of the kids I know don't read on a device, and if they did, the DRM would prevent me from sharing an ebook with them. What do you think of the new, cheaper (smaller?) Kindle?

  3. My blog post for today was about comparing the availability of SF/fantasy e-books for the Kindle vs. the Nook. The Kindle won, at least for the books I checked. I wound up pre-ordering the Kindle. I'm looking forward to carrying a library in my purse, plus I won't have to worry about running out of shelf space.

  4. Eric - I'm not big on reading on LCD screens, but the e-ink screens are so nice on my eyes. I still love physical books, but my Kindle is so convenient.

    Shan: I have a second gen Kindle so it's not that much smaller than the one I have now. Of course I won't say I wasn't envious when I saw it come out, but I love mine for the exact reasons I don't love my iPad for reading. It's lightweight, I can hold it with one hand and turn pages with one hand, and with the wireless off my charge lasts weeks.

    Sandra: I fully agree. I recently bought The Passage for my Kindle and I was so thankful not to have to lug around an 800 page book on my next trip.


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