Saturday, May 01, 2010

Who's on the Cutting Edge?

"When screen technology progresses sufficiently, the idea of using paper will become a total anachronism. Paper won’t record and store your notes or annotations; screens will." - Mike Shatzkin from his April 27, 2010 blog post "What I Would Have Said in London, Part 2"

Who's got a kindle? A Nook? A Sony e-reader? A Kobo? Oh, and there's that new thing from Apple everyone's tweeting about. The one with the unfortunate name. Just thought I'd check and see who's on the cutting edge.

Ed got a Nook for his birthday. The other night when he and I headed out for our hot date to a coffeehouse, I packed a few books and my novel manuscript into my backpack and hauled it to the car. When Ed climbed in, he wasn't carrying anything. "No book?" I asked. He said nothing. With a sly grin, he slowly opened his jacket to reveal his Nook tucked in the inside pocket.

When we went to a bed and breakfast a few weeks ago, I piled books and the novel manuscript into my book bag and lugged it to the car with my suitcase. Ed needed only a suitcase. No book bag. At breakfast, Ed took his Nook. He'd been reading a book (on his Nook) but decided he wanted to read a paper. He got up and looked around, but the owner explained that they didn't get the weekly paper. Ed sat back down, picked up his Nook and pushed a few buttons. "There," he said. In less than 30 seconds and for 99 cents he was reading the Wall Street Journal. The owner had to see it. Ed handed him the little machine and pointed out how the screen looks just like the newspaper or the book he's reading. The screen isn't backlit so, while you can't read in the dark without a book light, it's easier on the eyes than a computer. It keeps your place in the book and has a search function in case you want to go back and find something you missed.

I don't own one of these devices -- yet. I still read the old fashioned way. Books. You remember. The smell of paper. The feel of a hardcover in your hand. The sound of pages turning. Some people say they're on the way out. Relics. Antiques. A fad like 8-track tapes or VHS. I'm not quite ready to give it over to the new generation -- yet. Maybe next week.

Raise a hand if you've joined the e-reader clan. How's it working for you? And for the rest of us, what do you think? Will you be joining the e-reader generation anytime soon?

9 comments:

Mary said...

No, I'm not on the electronic book bandwagon yet. While it is convenient to carry around and easy to buy more books, I haven't found a need to get one.
Maybe one day I will buy an electronic device but for now I enjoy reading the old fashioned way ... one paper page at a time!

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bebe said...

Oh please, I have no intention of reading e-books and such rather than the paper variety. Re the technology: “The book stops here.”

George said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! I have a kindle and I LOVE it! Go new generation.

Anonymous said...

I love reading ebooks! I used to use a Palm Pilot / Sony Clie and had no trouble with the small format. The newer ebook readers have the advantage of internet access as well as better screen resolution and size. If you're like me and tend to forget characters' names, the ebook format allows you to quickly search back to find out who that person was. But, you're still buying stuff (books and mags and newspapers), as opposed to using the library.

Jen "Pen" said...

Nita,
I just don't see myself using an electronic book but I am very attached to my laptop and use it for a ton of reading related uses...I guess time will tell. We may end up with no choice.
Jen "Pen"

Amy said...

I've tried reading online at work. It's very difficult, because I am constantly interrupted by phone calls. But, I don't become addicted as with a paper copy. Of course, I am reading business non-fiction. Really boring compared to "The Great Gatsby," that I finished in three nights!

Sammi Soutar said...

I love the feel and smell of a a book. I'll spend hours at a rare bookstore browsing, sniffing and handling old leatherbound volumes and mouldering paperbacks.

When I'm out and about, however, I love the convenience of an ebook. I've used my kindle, iphone and now, ipad. There's something tremendously satisfying about knowing I can tuck one or the other in a purse, tote or suitcase and have a library of my books, magazines and newspapers at my fingertips whenever I want them.

When someone mentions a book I should read, I can whip out one device or another -- whatever is handy -- and download the book then and there, before I forget, without having to jot myself a note to buy it later.

When I first got ebooks, I assumed that, while at home, I'd continue to read books from my shelves, but more and more, I find myself reading electronic formats so that I can search and find with ease, make notes, and highlight passages.

I think there's room in the world for both formats.

Nita said...

UPDATE: I've been using Ed's Nook for a month now (he decided to get a Kobo) and I really like the Nook. It will never replace the look, feel or smell of an honest-to-goodness book, but it's great for traveling and lovely to read PDF's and ebooks on that I wouldn't read on my computer.