e-Readers: not so evil after all?

Worship them as the way of the future or despise them as the death of all things sacred to reading, no matter which team you’re on e-Readers are here to stay.

See, I’ve always thought they were stupid. Always thought they would never take off. But now I’m not so sure.

My only real experience with an e-Reader has been the filthy Kobo. Yuk, what a disaster. I’d rather lug around a library of hardbacks than be within a five mile radius of a defective, inferior Kobo. They were slow, ugly, clunky, expensive and would break all the time. Yet people seemed intrigued.

Living in Australia (might as well have been a parallel universe as far as the book industry is concerned), the dawn of e-Readers gave us limited choices: mainly Kobo or Sony devices. And that was pretty much it. The Kindle, being locked to Amazon, was never an option for us on our distant island home.

But now I’m living in the UK and things are different. I saw a real live Kindle the other day, and it looked epic! Totally James Bond. You can absolutely picture yourself abseiling down a hundred foot dam wall, bullets ricocheting off the concrete, all whilst you leisurely flick through the latest paranormal romance novel on your bad-ass looking Kindle.

The Positives

  1. Kick ass traveling companion as long as you have access to: A) Wi-Fi or 3G   B) A power source   C) An e-reader that doesn’t freeze and corrupt every five minutes.
  2. Access to millions of awesome books that traditional publishers wouldn’t bother with.
  3. MORE MONEY FOR SELF PUBLISHED AUTHORS! And better yet an outlet where people can sell books to the public without having a publisher or agent or having to shell out a few thousand pounds for printing or find space for the boxes of printed books or do the postage and packaging dance.
  4. Access to free books! Never shell out money for a classic again. And loads more previously unpublished writers let lose their creative genius for free.
  5. You will look cool. James Bond cool. Nice.

The Negatives

  1. No battery left… No readie-readie. That simple. No Wi-Fi, No 3G? No new books. Aw, what a buzz kill.
  2. Access to millions of books featuring the most disturbing grammatical and spelling errors by authors who seemingly haven’t even done a second read through of their novel.
  3. Expensive books. More expensive then their paper counterparts in many cases. This notion seems to defy the laws of sense. Go figure.
  4. Drop a book and nothing happens. Drop your E-reader and BAM. It’s dead. Not to mention all the potential flaws: the freezing screens, the batteries that won’t charge anymore and the rubbish customer service when trying to get a problem with your E-reader fixed.
  5. Thievery. You wouldn’t really pick pocket a paper book of someone, but an E-reader is much more valuable (so some people would say ;)).

So the moral of the story is…if you love them, buy one. If you hate them, don’t buy one. But they’re kind of growing on me.


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