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Not_Smart_Just_Lucky

The Sony Reader

I haven't yet decided if I like the idea or not, so I thought I'd see what everyone else thinks about digital books.
lunababymoonchild

I've had a good look round this in Waterstones in Braehead - just outside Glasgow - and it's a heap o rubbish, in my opinion.

I like the principle of the idea but since I cannot hold the thing - long story, and too boring to reiterate here - it's pretty much pointless.  Also pointless, imho, is the fact that you cannot search Waterstones online e-book catalogue, the prices are the same as an ordinary paperback - actually I got Rebus 15 for cheaper in Tesco - and from what I can see of the ebook catalogue there's nothing there that I'd want to read anyway.   If you do want to download an ebook you have to download to your computer then plug the Sony reader in and transfer it.  Hardly convenient.

However, the Amazon Kindle - which can be dropped, they show in video, from a metre high - is interesting if ugly.  You can download books straight from their website to the Kindle, wherever (they say) you happen to be.  I haven't seen a real one yet so can't say more than that.

However, I've been interested in the prospect of ebooks and their readers for a while now, so I'll wait and see what happens.  

Luna
TheRejectAmidHair

I am old-fashioned enough to enjoy handling books - i.e. printed matter on paper - but in practice, I don't really see a problem. After all, whatever it is you're reading, you are getting the same text whether you read from a book or from an electronic gadget. But once the technology starts developing further, then things will start to change. After all, why should an author bother describing a sunset, say, if you can get a beautiful 3-D graphic of a sunset on your electronic gadget at the press of a button? Pretty soon, why bother having words at all for anything?

If this thing catches on, then I can see a move away from the use of language to communicate, and greater use of graphics. In the long term, we could all become less literate and more visual. Perhaps that is happening already. And as I say, I am old-fashioned enough to regret that.

But as it stands at the moment, I don't see any problem.
miranda

I don't like the idea.   I love books.  The feel and the smell and being able to curl up in bed with one, or lie in the bath and read.  And if you drop a book in the water, it doesn't electrocute you!   Laughing

And I spend enough time looking at a screen without reading a book on one as well!
leon_perrins

I think we all probably enjoy browsing, reading and handling books but it is the content that is the most important aspect to me, not the tactile experience so I really don't mind.

Being less literate and more visual was the case for most people at one time, so visual communication was important - whether through painting/drawing etc or acting and storytelling.

Technology will always develop (thank goodness) and as a result I'm happy listening to music on my mp3 player and just glad I don't have to cart those LPs around like I once had to do.
Not_Smart_Just_Lucky

MP3s are part of my conundrum. I have no problem listening to music in a digital format, yet seem unable to be able to embrace e-books in the same way. And it's not a fear of a more graphic form of language, as I enjoy reading graphic novels. There's just something I don't like about the idea.
MikeAlx

For me, the tech's just not good enough yet - not convenient enough, anyway. I'd rather listen to a podcast novel or audiobook - at least my iPod fits in my pocket. Furthermore, I can listen whilst driving!

But at the end of the day it's the words that matter. I don't think an image of a sunset will ever replace a poet's description of one, so I'm not overly worried. TV didn't kill radio; video hasn't killed music (though God knows it's tried hard enough at times!). So I don't think we're heading for Fahrenheit 451 just yet.
lunababymoonchild

Something that occurred to me just recently, when I was pondering the Sony ebook reader was simply that I know, just by looking at the book even before I pick it up, what it is that I'm reading.  The Sony remains the same regardless of what ebook you are reading.  I thought that might be confusing - for me at any rate.  

Another thing that I thought might be confusing is that I know, just by looking at the book and before I pick it up, how long the book is - by the thickness.  You cannot tell this by the ebook reader, which remains the same.  All these visual cues exist for me. Perhaps the non-varying plain jacketed electronic reader somehow sanitises the reading experience and thus detracts from it a little bit.  There's also something odd about having to switch something on if you want to read a book, somehow.  I just open my paperback and off I go (then again, I seem to have no problem switching on my light in order to read).

I haven't had any ebook reader in my possession so evaluating it is somewhat problematic and I have to say that what I've seen of the Sony the tiny flash that you get every time you turn a page was enough to put me right off.

Not caught up with MP3 yet, it's old fashioned CD's that I use.  Maybe I'd listen to music more often if I did have an MP3 player.

Luna
Castorboy

[
Quote:
quote="miranda"]I don't like the idea.   I love books.  The feel and the smell and being able to curl up in bed with one, or lie in the bath and read.  And if you drop a book in the water, it doesn't electrocute you!   Laughing

And I spend enough time looking at a screen without reading a book on one as well!
[/quote]

I agree with you - the tactile senses have to be satisfied.
Stewart

They have their uses, as far as I'm concerned, but it's not for fiction. I can easily see how useful they could be to students, engineers, doctors, programmers, etc. because they could be a one stop shop for non-fiction and reference titles. For students, getting their Marketing/Finance/Really Boring titles available in eBook format, readable by these gadgets, would no doubt free up some more beer tokens, given that the cost of a £40 book would drop substantially, once printing, distribution, etc. is taken out of the equation.

Readers are often touted on their selling points, which is that you can port more of your bought books around with you at one time. Oh, goody. But once you lose it, there goes your whole collection.

Amazon's Kindle is a shocker, and like iTunes in that you can only use their format. It doesn't give you the freedom to do with your books if it was, well, a book.
evilgiraffe

I really don't like the idea, I enjoy the tactile and olfactory experience of reading a real book too much to want to read it on a screen, regardless of how good that screen is.  However, I do admire the technology that makes a screen look so unlike a screen - it is very impressive!

I think Stewart's point is the best pro-ebook thing I've seen as yet - I wouldn't mind using one as a textbook!  They're less personal, so I'm not bothered about the feel of them so much.
Marita

I don’t think I’ve actually seen an e-book reader. Not that I’m interested at the moment. I’m waiting for the technology to develop.

The developers should try and make it as close to reading a book as possible. Have they ever asked what readers like about books or are they just telling us what we should like?

Marita
Not_Smart_Just_Lucky

I think they just took MP3 player technology and adapted it to books
Apple

No I don't think I like the idea, I like to feel books, and i like the distinct smell of books, I like the fact you can sit curled up on the sofa or in bed with a book.

I like audio books - I often have some in the car to listen to when I am driving, but this I'm not keen on.
Not_Smart_Just_Lucky

I get the feeling that the whole concept of an e-book could fall away entirely. A lot of readers have the idea that it's a fad and real books are the way to stay (as opposed to the way to go). Can anyone realistically see them surviving and becoming as MP3 players are in music?
Chibiabos83

Well, maybe not as a viable alternative to the novel, but certainly, as has been mentioned above, as a format for textbooks. Talking as a librarian here, but journal publishing in particular nowadays sees print periodicals being either published simultaneously with electronic versions or dropped entirely in favour of online ones. That way libraries enable simultaneous access for multiple users, economise on space and so on. Someone's written a useful website about it.
Not_Smart_Just_Lucky

That's a fair point. I'd love to have all of my textbooks on a small portable screen. It would have to have a highlight function though
chris-l

I can definitely think of circumstances when I would be happy to use this, especially when travelling. I love handling books, but this might make a practical alternative to the large box that I usually pack when going away. I could have even more books to read on holiday! Hooray!
verityktw

I have mixed feelings about this - as someone pointed out - they're potentially a God-send for students and travellers - even when I'm only going away for a week, if I need to do any work while I'm gone, I end up carrying round my own weight in books. Also, using electronic books as a sort of concordance is immensely helpful. However, at the moment, even for the limited usage I can see for them, expense, availability and restriction of the technology would definitely put me off.
Sarah_H

Turn your Nintendo DS into a pocket-sized library with 100 timeless novels from some of the greatest writers in history. Enjoy the exciting escapades of the swashbuckling Long John Silver in “Treasure Island”, marvel at the redoubtable skills of the most famous detective of all time in “the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, or run the course of true love with Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice” – the choice is yours!

Entering this world of words couldn’t be easier – simply hold your DS like a book and use the stylus to effortlessly turn the pages. You can adjust the text size to whatever suits you best and a bookmark feature means dog-eared pages are a thing of the past. Can’t decide what you’re in the mood for? The 100 Classic Book Collection allows you to search for books in a number of different ways, such as subject matter and length, meaning you can find a suitable story in seconds. As well as the novels, you can access book introductions and find out more on the authors themselves – there are also additional books that you can download via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection!

Immerse yourself in the great works with the 100 Classic Book Collection on Nintendo DS.

100 Classic Books for Nintendo DS Features:

   * 100 classic books available in their original versions
   * Includes works by William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, Jules Verne and Jane Austen
   * Custom recommendations from the Book Guide
   * Download extra content via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection

Some of the books featured are:

   * Louisa May Alcott - Little Women
   * Jane Austen - Emma
   * Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
   * Jane Austen - Sense and Sensibility
   * Harriet Beecher - Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin
   * R.D. Blackmore - Lorna Doone
   * Anne Bronte - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
   * Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre
   * Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights
   * John Bunyan - The Pilgrim's Progress
   * Frances Burnett - Little Lord Fauntleroy
   * Frances Burnett - The Secret Garden
   * Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
   * Wilkie Collins - The Woman in White
   * Carlo Collodi - The Adventures of Pinocchio
   * Arthur Conan Doyle - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
   * Arthur Conan Doyle - The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
   * Joseph Conrad - Lord Jim
   * Susan Coolidge - What Katy Did
   * James Fenimore - Cooper Last of the Mohicans
   * Daniel Defoe - Robinson Crusoe
   * Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
   * Charles Dickens - David Copperfield
   * Charles Dickens - Great Expectations
   * Charles Dickens - Martin Chuzzlewit
   * Charles Dickens - Nicholas Nickleby
   * Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist
   * Charles Dickens - The Pickwick Papers
   * Alexandre Dumas - The Three Musketeers
   * George Eliot - Adam Bede
   * Henry Rider Haggard - King Solomon's Mines
   * Thomas Hardy - Far From The Madding Crowd
   * Thomas Hardy - The Mayor of Casterbridge
   * Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter
   * Victor Hugo - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
   * Victor Hugo - Les Miserables
   * Washington Irving - The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon
   * Charles Kingsley - Westward Ho!
   * D.H. Lawrence - Sons And Lovers
   * Gaston Leroux - The Phantom of the Opera
   * Jack London - The Call of the Wild
   * Jack London - White Fang
   * Herman Melville - Moby Dick
   * Edgar Allen Poe - Tales of Mystery and Imagination
   * Sir Walter Scott - Ivanhoe
   * Sir Walter Scott - Rob Roy
   * Sir Walter Scott - Waverley
   * Anna Sewell - Black Beauty
   * William Shakespeare - The Comedy of Errors
   * William Shakespeare - Hamlet
   * William Shakespeare - King Lear
   * William Shakespeare - Macbeth
   * William Shakespeare - A Midsummer-Night's Dream
   * William Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing
   * William Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet
   * William Shakespeare - Titus Andronicus
   * William Shakespeare - Twelfth Night
   * Robert Louis Stevenson - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
   * Mark Twain - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
   * Mark Twain - Adventures of Tom Sawyer
   * Jules Verne - Round the World in Eighty Days
   * Jules Verne - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
   * Oscar Wilde - The Importance of Being Earnest

If one already has a Nintendo DS this could be a good way to experience e-reading for under £20.  What does anyone think of the list?
Not_Smart_Just_Lucky

Considering that the device is actually a games console, the list of available titles is great. If it was an actual e-reader, I'd want a bit more choice.
Sarah_H

I'd like to think that if it sells well there may be more titles released over time.  Time will tell, I'm sure...
lunababymoonchild

According to a comment on Amazon apparently you can buy an adaptor thingy - R4DS cart - and that means that you can download all of the books plus anything else that takes your fancy, from a choice of 27,000, from the Project Gutenberg site (Project Gutenberg) for free.  Also on Amazon - there's a section where you can discuss products - there's a concern that the books listed by Nintendo are not complete and unabridged.  Which would sound the death knell for me. Not that I consider Amazon the oracle when it comes to this kind of thing but I do like to take into consideration other factors.

It's interesting to see this e book phenomenon catching on, though.

Luna
Sarah_H

lunababymoonchild wrote:
there's a concern that the books listed by Nintendo are not complete and unabridged.


I copied my initial post from this page.  It says:

Quote:
100 classic books available in their original versions


Is this not the same as unabridged?  I, like Luna, would not be as inclined to purchase incomplete texts.
lunababymoonchild

Sarah_H wrote:
I copied my initial post from this page.  It says:

Quote:
100 classic books available in their original versions


Is this not the same as unabridged?  I, like Luna, would not be as inclined to purchase incomplete texts.


It's a touch ambiguous isn't it?  'in their original versions' could mean anything.  Complete and unabridged on the other hand means complete texts and isn't ambiguous.  I checked the Nintendo website and it's not giving anything away.

I don' t have a Nintendo anyway, and unlikely to get one (unfortunately), so will have to stick with the traditional method or Gutenberg for now.

Luna
Vita

I think I could see an e-reader becoming a part of my reading habit/experience. I have used a PDA to read ebooks on train journeys in the past, going to Project Gutenberg to download several texts including The Woman in White. The best use by far of a hand-me-down PDA in my opinion!
I was also helped by Rowers to find a site to download ebooks to be read on a laptop by one of my students who has a disability so I would say that e books on the whole are a good thing but as to them replacing books entirely - no, I don't think so, not for me any way. There is just so much about a book as an artefact that no digital file can replace or compete with.
Rebecca

lunababymoonchild wrote:
'in their original versions' could mean anything.

Luna


Umm.......I took it to mean as they were originally...therefore complete and unabridged.....unless, of course the original version was abridged ;o)
lunababymoonchild

In that case, why can't they say 'complete and unabridged' (or did somebody copyright that, or something?) and then there would be no question.  It just makes me suspicious, that's all.  Maybe it's just me Laughing

I will say this though, it does look very popular, which is good.  It's sold out on Amazon and it was sold out in WHSmiths today.

Luna
lunababymoonchild

Further to this (100 Classic Book Collection, Nintendo), I have received, this morning, a reply - having sent my email enquiry on 31 December! - from Nintendo Service Centre stating that the service personnel that answered me was informed that the books are unabridged.

Then again, according to a review on Amazon at least one of the books is abridged - Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels seems to have had large sections on urination and being abused cut out of it.

Luna
spidernick

Unless I went travelling for a year I could never see me using one of those (and certainly not the Nintendo DS, which has a tiny screen).

I like the feel of a book (including turning the pages) and books are also an integral part of a house to my mind ('A home without books is like a house without windows', as someone once said).

Sony probably think they will succeed given the amount of people with MP3 and MP4 players these days.  But listening to music isn't the same as reading a book.  Although you might play your favourite four minute single many times in a day, you're unlikely to read certain sections of a text again and again for pleasure or read snippets of a number of books in a single day (OK, Himadri might!), so there's no need most of the time for a storage device with 200+ books contained within it.  Overall I cannot see enough advantages to justify the £200 price tag, unless, as I said earlier, I was travelling for a long time and weight/storage was an issue.

There's one lady who gets my train in the morning who has one that she reads, apart from that I haven't seen anyone else using one, so I would be interested to find out if they're selling well.  I suspect not.  In time, as they get cheaper and younger generations who wouldn't see it as a little strange not to have an actual book in their hands get older, then I expect sales will pick up, but not yet (albeit that they are presumably more eco-friendly than destroying trees to make books).  Perhaps in 30 years time, if I'm still around, I'll be the eccentric old man in the park reading a story told on paper!
MikeAlx

spidernick wrote:
albeit that they are presumably more eco-friendly than destroying trees to make books

I think that would probably depend on how long they last. As with 'eco' cars, no doubt there's a pretty major carbon footprint in the initial manufacture. And, at the end of their useful life, electronic & computing devices are currently a major source of toxic pollution. To be fair, Apple has made a good effort in remedying this situation - but then they have never aimed for the budget end of the market.
Evie

OK...she who protesteth too much...hath bought...a Kindle!!  Dear God, what is the world coming to.  I do travel a lot, including two solid months away from home each year, and realised this could be a great boon.  I do love gadgets.  It will never replace books for me - but it's lovely...it arrived about half an hour ago.  Amazon have hundreds of classics for free, so I have already downloaded Middlemarch, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Grimm's Fairy Stories and the Iliad for nothing...and will work my way through the list - it will pay for itself in no time!  Extraordinary - even more extraordinary that I have been won over - though it isn't anywhere near as nice to hold as a book.
county_lady

Evie, so has my sister-in-law, at least for travelling abroad.
Hubby did offer to buy me a Kindle but as our home is over stocked with books and we no longer travel very much I couldn't justify the purchase.
I must admit the idea of easy access to the classics is tempting.
Chibiabos83

I'm resisting the pressure. I don't do enough travelling for it to be worth buying a Kindle, really, even if it did appeal. I've just bought my summer reading book - an Everyman edition of Buddenbrooks - which will probably mean I'll have to pay excess baggage. Worth it, though. (And I am doing well with my book buying - only two books so far this year, so I'm still on track.)
Evie

It is an amazing thing - I have now downloaded 24 classics, all without charge, so that has covered the cost of the Kindle - all things I have been wanting to read, from the Communist Manifesto to Robinson Crusoe and all sorts.  And they come through within seconds.  It also has a lovely range of screensavers, which it chooses itself - the current one is a lovely picture of the beautiful Virginia Woolf.  So exciting.  Might have to go to a cafe this afternoon and sit there reading my Kindle.
Apple

Evie Wrote:
Quote:
It is an amazing thing - I have now downloaded 24 classics, all without charge,
Don't you have to pay for the "books" you download then?
Chibiabos83

Not if they're out of copyright - then you can get them free from Amazon. You can read an enormous number of classics free online at websites like Project Gutenberg, but it's presumably a nicer experience reading them from a Kindle than from a computer screen.
Evie

You do have to pay for most books, but there is a large free ebook selection.  Ebooks technically carry VAT, which normal books don't, so some of them are more expensive than the paperback versions  - especially if the paperback version is reduced as many of the amazon ones are.  But there are plenty of bargains to be had.  These free classics are normally £1.99, so Amazon say.

Contemporary books are not free, though, nor are all the classics.
Jen M

Evie, I am considering getting one (for my birthday  Smile ) so I will be interested to see how you get on.  I do love books, but I don't have the space to store all those I want to keep, so it appeals in that way.  Please keep us posted.
Evie

It does seem beautifully designed - and really is fine in terms of reading, not like reading a computer screen.  I have now bought the complete novels of George Eliot for 71p, and the complete fiction of Thomas Hardy for 72p...can't wait to go travelling now, though it is not until September!  I spent half an hour reading The Iliad (also free) earlier on, and while it is not ever going to replace the pleasure of holding a book, it is a joy to use.  Time will tell if I find any negatives!  I did buy a book by mistake - and sadly it was a £106 book on stained glass!  It's the problem with the one-click system on Amazon.  But fortunately I was able to get it refunded.

Anyway, I am delighted so far.  I do like a new toy to play with!
MikeAlx

I think it makes perfect sense for anyone who travels or commutes by public transport. I don't, so I'm not jumping yet. But this is definitely the way the wind is blowing.
Evie

Yes, and I realised there was room in my life for both.  I do have a horrible sense that books will disappear...I hope I am being too pessimistic - and I imagine they will survive my lifetime - but I can't bear to think of a world where books become museum pieces and everything is published digitally.  I hope I just have an overactive imagination!

In the meantime, I love my Kindle.
mike js

My guess is that printed books will persist, but perhaps not so much for the high volume cheapo paperback.

When I first started working in Cambridge, in 1994, I heard about some early ideas for electronic books. The efficient processing power was potentially there already (ARM), but probably the screen technology and so forth were not. I have not seen a Kindle or any modern device up close, but certainly hardware is really geting somewhere now. The software is more questionable.

It still seems to me that books are excellent technology, and well refined technology. This is the kind of technology that goes unnoticed. It just works.

Digital technology is still potentially quite flaky. For really long-term endurance, I suspect it is a poor substitute, at least with what we can make now. Even if the hardware does not degrade, the software and the formats are vulnerable to obsolescence.

I do quite fancy getting some form of e-book soon though!

p.s. Further to the endurance question, I have realised that I am currently re-reading a paperback that I bought nearly 35 years ago (for 60p). It is in pretty good shape.
Chibiabos83

The technology of the book is continually astounding, isn't it. All of this writing in such an economical space, reading from left to right (or right to left in some languages), being able to see how far you've come and how far you still have to go. I don't think it's just sentimentality that makes analogue technology appeal so strongly.

One of my concerns with ebooks is to do with optical character recognition (OCR). Books for Kindle must be text files, I presume, rather than image files. This means that books from before the digital era, i.e. everything out of copyright, I suppose, and many other books besides, must be converted from the printed page to digital text files, which can be done either by digital OCR, which is more reliable than it used to be but still encounters problems where there are unfamiliar printed ligatures or letters like 'rn' which can be rendered as 'm', or otherwise by typing books into computers manually, which is how Project Gutenberg got started but is probably done hardly at all now, and which also means the inevitable presence of human error. I'd be interested to hear E/V's impressions of her out of copyright books. It may be that they suffer from no more typos than the printed editions, but in any case I think I'd still be paranoid about getting a dodgy one (though of course you could always demand a refund!).
Evie

Yes, I don't feel it is really a substitute for a book on so many levels, and at the moment am only downloading free things - I did pay 70p for each collection of the entire fictional output of Eliot and Hardy, but apart from that have yet to spend money on anything, so if there are disappointments, I won't be out of pocket.  I have already discovered the problem with Tristram Shandy, which I wouldn't have known about had someone else not mentioned it - it doesn't reproduce the idiosyncracies of the printed page.  Fortunately there are not too many books where that matters, but clearly when it does matter, it's crucial.

It will be invaluable when I am travelling, as I will never be short of good things to read (there is always that worry that the book(s) you take with you turn out not to be as good as you'd hoped!), and it is also useful being able to search books - but I can't see it lasting 1000 years or more, as a well made book can.
MikeAlx

Gareth - it is indeed text-based, a variant of XHTML not that distant from what is used on web pages, with a simplified version of CSS used for text styling. You can include 'inline images', but this of course has all the problems inherent in fitting to different display resolutions and sizes (something free-flowing XHTML text avoids).

OCR is getting better all the time (thanks in great part to the efforts of google), but it won't be a substitute for typesetting/editing in the foreseeable future. But considering most things that have been edited in the last 20 years or so will exist in digital text format somewhere, I can't see this being problem for any but the most obscure out-of-print titles.

I don't think the relative fragility of the hardware is an issue. If you own a digital version of something, that should be irrespective of the hardware you currently store it on. Like if your ipod breaks, you still own your music library. You are entitled to download your entire library again from your iTunes account even if your main hard drive fails and you don't have backups.
Evie

Yes, with a Kindle, Amazon keep a copy of your downloads.

And as far as possible, they are using existing digital versions of texts.

I read an actual book on the train today, though, and it was lovely - a Kindle will never replace that.
mike js

My suspicion about the digital technology is more on a long timescale, of order 100 years or more. The backup and service provision require a very high level of industrial stability. I think there is quite a high risk it will all go pear shaped. Perhaps the technology will have evolved to the point where the e-thing itself is much more self-sufficient and hardened though, even if the support systems are gone.

I guess mass market books have a limited life through acids in the paper and so forth, but there are some very old surviving books arent there? So long as the mother language is still known, they are useful.

Still, on a personal timescale, I agree that the service backup is a big plus for e-books. So long as Amazon don't decide again to delete books over the ether without asking ... !
Jen M

One of the things that slightly puts me off a Kindle is knowing how far through a book you are - with a book, you see/feel yourself working your way through it.  I know there is some indication of whereabouts in a book you are, but am not sure how this works in practice.  (I may not have expressed that very well but am sure some readers will understand perfectly what I mean!)  

I also sometimes flick forward in a book to see how long the next chapter is and decide whether I have the time to read it - I'm not sure whether this is possible, or straightforward, with a Kindle.

I can see myself getting a Kindle one day.
MikeAlx

Jen, the flip side of that is that you don't get so intimidated by the challenge of huge doorstop novels! I read a blog or article a while back by a guy who never had much reading stamina but managed to read the whole of War & Peace on his eReader! He'd tried the physical novel a few times before, but given up, despairing at the huge number of pages left to go. With the eReader he just went with it...

Mike JS, unless a pretty serious global failure of industrialised society takes place, I'm pretty confident the digital archive will survive. The beauty of digital is that it is so easily duplicated and can therefore be stored in multiple locations.
mike js

Alternative Mike, call me a pessimist!  Wink
Evie

As with anything digital, I see these as a temporary thing, with not much hope of longevity - I mean in terms of individual bits of hardware and the software they use.  The Book of Kells is still perfectly readable - I don't expect my Kindle to still be usable in 1200 years time.  But that in itself doesn't bother me - as long as good literature is not lost in the digital fallout.  :0)
Jen M

I take your point, Mike A, and I remember when I read This Thing of Darkness I had to take that approach, but I knew on that occasion that I would have the time to read it, if I enjoyed it enough to persevere.  I don't get much reading time at the moment and have to work out whether I have the time to read a particular book and then finish my reading group book by the meeting date.

It is also interesting that almost everyone I know who enjoys reading is currently thinking about whether or not to get an electronic reader - I have had several similar conversations about Kindles/Sony Readers recently and have been happy to share my comparisons.
Evie

I was in Waterstone's near Charing Cross station in London the other day, and they had a display of the different types of ebook reader for people to try, which was good to see.  I didn't try them, in case I liked any of them better than my Kindle!  None of them looked as nice, though (I mean purely in terms of the actual gadget, not the typeface, etc).  I'm so shallow.

It did occur to me that there is another downside - ebooks can't be resold, so no chance of making a bit of extra money out of your old books!  I sometimes have phases of selling things on Amazon.

But for me, it really is something to take travelling, and I will still be buying plenty of real books.
mike js

A good point, Jen, about being able to flick forward through pages on a book so as to judge a chapter length. I do that quite often! Not just to weigh whether there is enough time to read more, but sometimes whether I can face more, if things are a bit of a trudge!

I know, the shame of it. I am a notoriously lazy reader, afeared of long novels.

I can only hope that e-books will eventually have some very convenient, tactile way of flicking forward idly to survey effort. God save us from the dreaded 'progress bar', beloved of software engineers. This moves towards 100% and then cruelly devastates the beholder by returning to 0 and starting again, for no adequately explored reason. ;o)
leon_perrins

I bought a kindle a while ago. I had been thinking about it for some time, not sure which one to buy, when this was bought for me.

Having spent a lifetime reading books, having them around me all the time and enjoying the tactile experience I wasn't at all sure whether this would suit me.

Then I discovered that all that matters is the text. It was a sort of release and I have got an enormous amount of pleasure from just reading. I have read quite a few of the free self-published e-books and realised just how narrow the margin between being published and not being published actually is - there are some great books out there, and loads of them. I have also got plenty of more mainstream fiction stored, in addition to some technical works.

The other advantage is that  I can carry plenty of texts around to read whatever and whenever I like in one little unit.

There are some disadvantages - PDFs usually have to be read in landscape so not as many words fit on the page as a book, for example. Some illustrations do not translate well.

If you can, try one out first but don't be put off because they are different to books - after all everything evolves, even books.
Jen M

Well, I am pleased to announce that I too am now the proud owner of a Kindle!

Shortly before Christmas I borrowed a Sony Reader and a Kindle from two colleagues one lunchtime - and liked the Kindle for its clear screen and (mostly) intuitive navigation.  Despite being (like everyone here) a book-lover, I decided that I would like one, for the advantage of carrying more than one book around (eg when travelling, not that I travel frequently), and the idea of having a shiny new gadget.  

After a lot of plotting among my family (which I only became aware of later), I received an interesting box for my birthday - yes, a Kindle  Very Happy

My husband and son had charged it up and loaded it with a few books, while I was in the house, oblivious to what was going on.  Neither my husband or son read unless they have to, but they had chosen some along the lines of "Readers who read this book also bought"; the Complete Jane Austen, and Middlemarch, which I had already downloaded to our computer.

I added a few - the complete Thomas Hardy (71p), the complete Sherlock Holmes (69p), Human Croquet, The Girl at the Lion D'Or.

While on holiday I read one of the books my husband had loaded, a book with short-ish chapters.  I do miss being able to flick forward and see how long the next chapter is, but I will just have to get on with reading the books and learn to live without this habit.  I also still have piles of paperbacks waiting to be read, some of which have been lent to me by others, so I shall still be reading real books.  I also can't see myself taking the Kindle to a beach, or a wet campsite, although I have seen people reading them in both types of place.  It was great in the holiday cottage, though.

I am very pleased with my new toy.

Someone should bottle "Essence of new paperbacks" and impregnate Kindle covers with it.
Rebecca

It's my Toyboy husbands 40th birthday today and one of his gifts from me is a Kindle...I was rather against such a thing until I held it and fiddled with it and coveted it...it will never be better than a real book but I really do see the attraction.
Chibiabos83

Jen M wrote:
Someone should bottle "Essence of new paperbacks" and impregnate Kindle covers with it.

You may be on to something, Jen. And perhaps an optional series of rustling sounds for when you 'turn' the 'pages'.
Rebecca

I wondered about a page turning sound, rather like a digital camera with a shutter sound.

Last night I sat on the sofa and in the twinkling of an eye I downloaded Anna Karenina (which I began at once) and Crime and Punishment, my real copies of which were too far across the room to reach! No, really, I'd passed on my copies which had been cheap 99p editions.

Often, I read a library book and then for various reasons want my own copy and I think this will happen with the Kindle.

Hmmm.....talking about it as if it's mine....whoops.
Jen M

Yasmin wrote:
I wondered about a page turning sound, rather like a digital camera with a shutter sound.


I think that could be done, but I would hope a sound feature could be turned off.

Yasmin wrote:
Last night I sat on the sofa and in the twinkling of an eye I downloaded Anna Karenina (which I began at once) and Crime and Punishment, my real copies of which were too far across the room to reach! No, really, I'd passed on my copies which had been cheap 99p editions.


It's so easy, isn't it?  For this reason I was glad we had no wi-fi access in our holiday cottage.  I have a slight concern about the one-click ordering being linked to my bank account - it's easy for me to buy things but it would also be easy for other people to download books at my expense.  Sad

Yasmin wrote:
Often, I read a library book and then for various reasons want my own copy and I think this will happen with the Kindle.


Me too, though I can usually resist... on the grounds that I don't have the space for them.   Confused

Yasmin wrote:
Hmmm.....talking about it as if it's mine....whoops.

Smile
spidernick

Reading this thread has put my mind at ease.  After being solidly against the concept of e-readers, I too am now thinking of getting a Kindle (by far the best of the lot from what I understand) and thought perhaps I was being a traitor to books!

I am off to India with work for six weeks at the end of October, and it doesn't make sense to take a load of books with me (I was thinking of re-reading War and Peace though, as it's been about 20 years since I read it and which would probably keep me going for a lot of the time - I probably won't get lots of free time to read, although I always take enough books to work on the basis that I will).

The thing that does annoy me about Amazon is the fact that often the Kindle version of new books costs more than even the hardback!  

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Painted-C...TF8&qid=1311894422&sr=1-1

I really do think they are taking the mickey in that regard, as there's no paper or delivery costs.  Why also should some books out of copyright cost money (admittedly only about 70p - the aforementioned War and Peace, for example) whereas others like Middlemarch are free (albeit that apparently you have to go through the usual payment procedure to authorise a payment of £0.00!)  Fortunately there are sites where you can download books for free and which are compatible with the Kindle, and I already have some on my laptop ready for when I take the plunge and buy a Kindle.

Please tell me this price is a mistake!:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Armadale-...F8&qid=1311894374&sr=1-15

Apparently Tesco now sell the Kindle for the same price as Amazon, so I can get clubcard points too!
county_lady

Gosh @ the link to Armadale.

I think I would still be the one lugging paperbacks abroad. I buy books second-hand from charity shops and library sales  that can be swopped or given to others whilst I'm away.
MikeAlx

Of course you may find you can pick up English books cheaper in India! I gather there is a substantial market for English language books in India, since there are over 90 million speakers-of-English there (though generally it's a second language, of course).
spidernick

Good thinking, Mike - I'll look out for book shops while I'm there.  I understand that the roads around Bangalore (where I'll be) are like something out of an India Jones film, with animals running all over the place, so it should be an experience travelling about!
Evie

Have to say I am falling in love with my Kindle...it will never be as good as reading a book, but being able to store so much on it is great - very useful for when I am away on residential teaching jobs as well as travelling.  I now enjoy reading from the screen a lot, and generally like it more each time I use it.

I haven't bought anything that wasn't cheaper or at least the same price as the hard copy, though!  I also downloaded a copy of the Bible (very useful for an art historian) which was supposed to be searchable, but it doesn't even seem to have a contents list of the different books, so seems a bit useless - probably doing something wrong!

Anyway, as an extra to real books, and as a travelling companion for my month-long tour in October, when space and weight are at a premium, it's fantastic.  Books are a zillion times better for general purpose, though!

Nick, excellent to see you!  :0)
spidernick

Hi Evie,

Hope all is well with you.

I think the convenience of the Kindle will win me over, although I will feel a little like I've 'sold out', I'm sure.

Apparently you can have the OED running alongside the text as you read, is that right?  If so, it's useful to be able to look up words easily while reading.
Jen M

Hi Evie,  I have the "Search by Verse" Bible on my Kindle, and although I haven't used it yet, after reading your post I thought I would try.  The first page says "The search features will only work AFTER you have read this section and when you are in the Bible itself".  I will investigate, although not right now.

Nick, yes you do have the "Oxford Dictionary of English" on the Kindle and it is quite useful, although it took a bit of working out how to use it, and I can't say I remember now.    

I also haven't bought anything that wasn't cheaper than the "book" version.  I haven't bought much for it, yet - I'm trying to work through some of the paperbacks I have that I will not keep, in order to reduce some of the stuff in my house.  But I have treated myself to a few books on my Kindle.  I'm off on holiday next Saturday and hope to take my Kindle and just one tatty paperback, for circumstances where I fear the Kindle would get damaged.  Now I just need to choose the tatty paperback!

I too love my Kindle, but I still love books.
Ann

I am considering a Kindle and wonder if either of you have the basic one or the superior version and if there is any point in spending more money? The problem with technology is it is easy to have items that become obsolete very quickly but I feel I would probably be happy with the basic. What do you both think?
Mikeharvey

Hello Spider,
I have been to Bangalore. It sticks in my memory because an Indian boy said I was very beautiful then asked me for some rupees....
Jen M

Ann wrote:
I am considering a Kindle and wonder if either of you have the basic one or the superior version and if there is any point in spending more money? The problem with technology is it is easy to have items that become obsolete very quickly but I feel I would probably be happy with the basic. What do you both think?


Ann, mine is the basic one and I am very happy with it.  I think the only difference between the two models is that the more expensive one enables you to buy books away from home using a mobile phone signal, while to buy books on the basic one you need to be connected to the internet (if you don't have wi-fi, you can download books to a PC then transfer them to the Kindle using a cable).  For me, this means I can only buy books at home, but that is fine by me.  It is possible, of course, to connect to other wi-fi networks, if you know the password (eg if you are at a friend's house, or in an internet cafe or similar).  I can't imagine wanting to buy a book while on the move - I can always wait until I get home.

Hope that helps.
Ann

Thanks, Jen, it does help. I'm off on holiday in September and want to have decided what to get by then. The weight allowance on flights, nowadays, is pretty limited and so I feel I'd better get a Kindle by then  Very Happy
Evie

I also have the basic model - as Jen says, the 3G option enables you to buy books anywhere and at any time, as it is linked to a network, but I really don't need that.  And although the 3G access is free, I think there are sometimes different prices for the books - I could be wrong about that, but I read that you pay for the free connectivity in the cost of the books.  That said, I haven't noticed on Amazon that there are different prices depending on which Kindle you have.

But with wi-fi, you can presumably connect wherever there is a wi-fi hotspot if you need/want to.  I just didn't see any need to buy books away from home.  I don't think there are any other advantages.  There are loads of free downloads, mostly classics (as they are out of copyright), so you can stock up your Kindle and never be short of anything to read.

It is wonderfully light and the screen really is good to read, not at all like a computer screen.
Ann

Thanks, Evie. After the feedback from you both I think I'll get a basic. I certainly don't want to replace books but I think it will be very useful for trips away. I shall now worry about security as I suppose it is a desirable item but I shall cross that bridge when I come to it  Confused
county_lady

I'm suddenly tempted to get an iPad.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14376722

Would any technically minded member recommend it?
Evie

My sister has just got an iPad - they are great in lots of ways, but not as good for reading as a Kindle (doesn't use the technology a Kindle has that makes it feel like reading paper, even in bright sunlight).  I see the BL are in talks with other companies, including Amazon, to make this excellent resource available, so I am hoping it will be available for Kindle at some point!

The iPad is groovy, but personally I wouldn't spend the amount they cost for what you get.
county_lady

Evie you are right the cost of an iPad would probably be too much of an indulgence and like my laptop it would probably end up in the possession of one or other of our sons.
MikeAlx

The most fundamental difference between tablets and eReaders is the screen technology. eReaders typically use eInk, tablets use LCD or LED.

eInk has very high contrast and is therefore easy to read even in bright sunlight. It's very energy efficient because it only needs power to change the page - therefore your batteries won't run down as quickly. On the downside, it's much slower to update than LCD or LED, so isn't really suitable for videos or animations.

LCD and LED consume much more power than eInk, as they use power for every refresh cycle (typically 50 per second). They have lower contrast than eInk and are susceptible to glare (particularly in the case of touchscreens). This makes them awkward to read in bright daylight. On the plus side they are ideally suited to playing video and animations.

The upshot of this is that eReaders are very good at one job - displaying text - whereas tablets are general purpose media consumption devices.
Apple

Daft question but is an ipad the same as an ipod but bigger? as my daughter has an ipod and I always thought they were just glorified MP3 players until she showed me all the stuff she has on it.
Evie

An iPad does more - it's a computer in tablet form, more like a laptop but smaller and with an on-screen keyboard (that you hide when you don't need it).  It also has a camera built in.  But you can use it just as you would a computer - internet, email, etc, as well as playing games, downloading films and e-books, storing images, music, doing word processing, etc.  And all sorts of apps for all sorts of things.  They are groovy - much heavier than a Kindle, but that's understandable!
MikeAlx

I do know people who use them for word processing, but I have to say I couldn't do so - tapping away at a virtual touch-screen keyboard for any length of time would drive me nuts! And I doubt I'd get near my normal typing speed (somewhere between 75 and 100 wpm, depending on how long I'm typing for). People who do a serious amount of text input with them tend to use the wireless Apple bluetooth keyboard.

Tablets such as the iPad also have much less processing power than a true laptop - they're more like smartphones with bigger screens, or netbooks without the keyboard.
county_lady

Thanks for the extra information. I think I will put off fancying what would only be a new toy. Wink
MikeAlx

That was my conclusion - I was initially very excited about tablet technology, but the more I thought about it the more I realised it would probably be a black hole of endless media consumption rather than a productivity tool.
mike js

I have been tempted by a Kindle, but not by iPad so far.

Working in the games industry, I have seen that smartphones and tablets are quite a growth area. It does seem that Apple have a virtual stranglehold even now. Although there is Google's Android used by lots of Apple rivals, games especially seem to be almost nowhere except on i-whatever. In fact, its hard to make money on games even there, compared with the old-fashioned(!) games console market with its high budget blockbuster approach. cf. films

The smartphones and tablets are getting more powerful quite quickly, but battery life and trying not to burn the owner's lap/fingers/face is a technical limitation!
MikeAlx

I also have my suspicions that the drive towards ever lighter, thinner devices, combined with the fashion accessory aspect of the i-whatever market, is resulting in shorter lifespan products.

Regarding Android, everyone seems to like it in theory but nobody's quite happy with the user experience of the products yet. It seems Apple caught everyone napping with the tablet market, and the rest are struggling to catch up.
Ann

Well I got my Kindle on Friday and have been having fun finding out how to use it. I've only downloaded free books so far. I don't think I shall use it much at home but you never know!
priscilla-of-padua

I shall get one of these gadgets - for me and for my.daughter. Where as I delight in the actual book rituals, it is still the content for me and not the pot it comes in - nor the crossed chives on top.

I have just had to make serious decision abou the disposal of  libraries - one of which was my own. All the fiction has gone apart from a few kept for other easons thantheir content. Everything went to charity sales not shops. It took weeks because I spent time with my old friends again and realised that many must have been in a sad condition  when I  bought them. I never noticed that if the book was a good read.

I suppose as soon as I acquire my gadget it will be superceded by an  up grade - as long as it doesn't take photos or connect me to Tesco's I'll be manage with a simple one.

My daughter said that almost everyone at their holiday site was reading using a gadget. No bad thing, surely.

Regards, P - and thanks to Evie for redirecting me to this forum.
chris-l

I have it on good authority that by 26th December, I shall be the proud owner of a Kindle! I'm particularly looking forward to being able to download some of the free classic titles available on Amazon and elsewhere.

Has anyone any recommendations, both on sites that are good sources and on specific books that are available this way? I've browsed through the Amazon list and could certainly keep myself in books for a long time just from that alone, but there must be things I've missed.
Ann

Chris you can get a lot of titles free on The Gutenberg Press  - many more than are available at Amazon. I have had more luck with some titles there and they can be downloaded in Kindle format
Evie

Great news, chris!  Hope you love it.   (On a purely selfish and materialistic note - I do long for someone in my life to give me nice presents at Christmas!)

I admit I've only used Amazon to download things so far, but there is a site for e-reader devotes called MobileRead (http://www.mobileread.com/) which has a forum specifically for Kindle users, with tips of all sorts - I have joined but haven't really looked at it yet.
Green Jay

Ann wrote:
Well I got my Kindle on Friday and have been having fun finding out how to use it. I've only downloaded free books so far. I don't think I shall use it much at home but you never know!


I did get my Kindle (of course I did, I was there hand-holding at the on-line ordering thereof, in case it all went wrong) and, as I predicted, it was not set up already for me by Christmas day, nor preloaded with some favourite or tempting reads - as several of my friends were presented with last year. Oh, woe. Well, I knew my OH is not that great at presents nor that great at techie stuff, either. So while he was struggling with cooking the Christmas dinner* I was struggling to make the Kindle work. Still, my kids were impressed, imagining I was a Luddite when it comes to books.

So far I have bought Death Comes to Pemberley at a bargain price and a free sample chapter of Kate Atkinson (sadly, not a single one of the books on my Xmas list materialised!!  Crying or Very sad ) but I have not found any free downloadable books yet - where do I look, please??? The Kindle store is clearly not enouraging me to head straight for the free stuff...

*before anyone says 'wow, he cooks the Christmas dinner', I have to say I do absolutely everything else in the seasonal run-up, so I'm not sure why this particular chore gets so much kudos in Christmastide conversations. But no one was ill this year for the first time in - ever, really, - apart from some sore heads and queasy tummies, all self-induced. So we did very well.
Evie

Hi Green Jay - if you go to the Kindle store on Amazon, and look down the column on the left, there is a 'more to explore' section, with a link to 'free ebook collections' - that's a good place to start.  Or in the bestsellers, there is a top 100 free books.  Once you have found them, it's very quick and easy - downloads instantly once you turn your Kindle on.

Or go to Project Gutenberg and see what is downloadable there.
Green Jay

Thank you, Evie, I obviously did not explore very far. Got caught up in the '12 days of Christmas' offers which went on endlessly. Still a bit nervous of it, really. Plus lots of people were around and I could not concentrate.
chris-l

Yes, I got mine, too - complete with a daughter to talk me through the important registration and set-up process. I too bought 'Death Comes to Pemberly' as it was the 99p Daily Deal on Christmas day. I've already finished it, so clearly reading on the Kindle was no problem. I've also bought Barbara Trapido's 'Sex and Stravinsky' and Julian Barnes' 'The Sense of an Ending', and downloaded several freebies - George Eliot, Wilkie Collins and Mrs Gaskell. Fun, fun, fun!!

I'm trying to hold back from 'purchasing' any more free titles at the moment, although I can think of no real reason why I should do this - they will require no storage space in the house, won't get lost and will cost me nothing, but at the moment it just feels wrong. Does anyone else have the same reaction?
spidernick

You'll need to download utorrent, but I get many of my books for the kindle here:

http://btjunkie.org/search?q=kindle+mobi

I will probably get the complete works of Wilkie Collins from Amazon at some stage, as his lesser-known novels are difficult to get hold of, but most books can be obtained at no charge from places like BTJunkie.  The legality of this is a little grey and morally you may feel doing this is wrong, but if not this is an excellent way of getting books for your kindle.  Personally I wouldn't do this with a new author, but have no qualms about downloading a Stieg Larsson novel, for example.

I see that WH Smith is now selling the Kobo, which was previously not available in the UK (it was in Australia and some other countries), but from what I can see the kindle is the best of the lot and I wouldn't be without mine, against all expectations.

Below is a review of some of the more popular eReaders currently on the market:

http://www.ebookreadersreview.co.uk/
MikeAlx

The legality or otherwise is quite clear, surely? Anything offered for free download by an author still living, or one who died less than 70 years ago is likely to be illegal under UK law, unless express permission has been given by the author (eg with a Creative Commons licence).
Green Jay

chris-l wrote:


I'm trying to hold back from 'purchasing' any more free titles at the moment, although I can think of no real reason why I should do this - they will require no storage space in the house, won't get lost and will cost me nothing, but at the moment it just feels wrong. Does anyone else have the same reaction?


No, not quite. I'm just conscious of not downloading stuff I will never get round to reading. I did get Pride  & Prej, though, and nearly got The Moonstone, but I already have this in whatever we call "real" books now (??). I have P & P too, so don't know what all that was about. A rush to the head! I thought it would be nice to browse Austen on train journeys. I also got a G K Chesterton detective which sounds fun. There were quite a few contemporary crimey/thrillers on the Top 100 Freebies that I have never heard of, nor their authors. I suppose they are free in the hope you'll get hooked into a series , and pay for more. I wonder if trying to read a trashy book on Kindle makes it feel even more trashy than trying the first few pages on paper?

I have just read the prologue of Death Comes to Permberley , which precis the plot of P & P, and started the first chapter. Already the Austenish style is becoming degraded. Ah,well.
spidernick

MikeAlx wrote:
The legality or otherwise is quite clear, surely? Anything offered for free download by an author still living, or one who died less than 70 years ago is likely to be illegal under UK law, unless express permission has been given by the author (eg with a Creative Commons licence).


It's not quite as simple as that, if it's anything like TV programmes, where the person breaking the law is apparently the one who uploads the content, rather than those who then download what has been uploaded.  Whether it's morally acceptable is, of course, an entirely different matter.
Evie

Oh joy - have only just discovered my Kindle has a web browser...and so I can get the Big Readers board (amongst other things of course!) on my Kindle.  Fab.
county_lady

county_lady wrote:
Evie, so has my sister-in-law, at least for travelling abroad.
Hubby did offer to buy me a Kindle but as our home is over stocked with books and we no longer travel very much I couldn't justify the purchase.
I must admit the idea of easy access to the classics is tempting.


The above was on March 8th. 2011 a whole year has passed but now I have not a Kindle but a 7" tablet to which a Kindle app can be added.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/NATPC-M00...dp/B006M07X34/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_1

It is a Mothering Sunday gift that arrived early. So far I've set it to English UK. Time GMT. got it connected to our wi-fi and created a gmail account!
I'll have coffee and a break brfore I play on it I want to set up BBC iplayer and forum access.  I am wondering which browser to download and what  about internet security? What do tablets use? My PC has McAfee but I'm sure tablets don't have the capacity for large downloads. I do have a 16gb sandisc to plug in.

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