By Lonnie Cruse
Okay, Christmas is now a fond memory (I hope) and we're deep into cold, probably even if we live waaay south, and a new decade is now in full swing. However, it appears that many avid readers received e-readers for Christmas, be it a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or whatever. (I know this because I check e-book discussion lists daily.) I've written about these e-reader beauties before, but given the amount of e-readers given as Christmas gifts, I think it's time to re-visit the issue and talk turkey, assuming you aren't sick of turkey by now.
The good news about e-readers is that both authors and publishers have begun to awaken to the fact that they ARE here to stay AND above all, this is a cheap and effective way to bring out-of-print books BACK into "print." Even better news, many of these books are FREE. Included in those freebies are MANY classics by Austen, Dickens, etc. Wow! And we can carry dozens of these books loaded on our units, in a purse or back pocket, without a huge bulge. Not to mention the weight of multiple print books.
Another plus, at least if you get e-books from Amazon, is the free first chapter, giving readers a chance to sample the book first. Doesn't work every single time because we authors do our very best to make the first chapter a hook that keeps the reader reading, and sometimes it's downhill from there, but at least it's better than not being able to check out a book at all. Meaning if you try to read an entire first chapter of a new book in a book store before buying, you are likely to get harsh stares from other customers, not to mention customer service.
The only downside I see to this e-book thing is paging backwards. Let's say I'm in the middle of a book and a character who hasn't appeared in the story for a few chapters suddenly re-appears. Who IS this person??? In a print book I simply go back to chapter one or two and find out. Being a bit lazy or maybe it's technophobic, I don't take the time to "page back" in an e-book to find out. I keep reading and hope my slow memory will kick in, as in, "Oh, yeah, she/he's . . . . And there are NO page numbers on my Kindle, so I have to judge where I am in the book by the little "slider" at the bottom and the percent of pages read. Not a big problem, but page numbers would have been nice.
Another downside is battery life. Rarely does my battery run down in the middle of a book because I keep it charged BUT it has happened and I'm forced to shut down and re-charge regardless of any cliff-hangers I just came to. Doesn't happen with a print book but it can be avoided by keeping a closer eye on batter charge. The charge generally lasts up to four days or better when reading frequently. Longer if the unit is not in frequent use. It's really my own fault for not watching more closely. And it happens more on my iTouch because I use it to read, listen to, play games, etc. so the battery has less chance of lasting. Sigh.
I've loaded so many freebies on my Kindle that there is nooooo way I'll live long enough to read them all. But it's fun trying. It's fun finding new books. IF you get books from Amazon, check the Kindle discussion area daily. there are a couple of kind folks there who post any new FREE books each day, and links to same, which is a HUGE help to getting new books. I rarely pay for a book, with all the freebies listed. Totally a "so many books, so little time" situation! Ahhh.
So, did you get an e-reader for Christmas? If so, what kind is it? What are you mostly downloading to it? What's your fave read so far? And if it's a Kindle and you are anywhere in the So. IL/W KY area, don't be surprised if I pounce on you when I spot your unit. I've accosted several strangers sporting Kindles. It's what I do.
And if you are a writer, are your books in e-format yet? Four of mine are, and selling pretty well, thankfully.
Happy January, everyone. Stay warm. Enjoy your reading time. Won't be long until warm weather arrives and less reading/downtime with it. Brrrrr. Hot chocolate, anyone???