Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, November 29, 2010

All I want for Christmas is . . . an e-book?

We have a rule at our house. No Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. It’s not that we don’t like Christmas music. It’s just the whole one holiday at a time thing. If you’re going to start playing Christmas music halfway through November, why not have your Turkey dinner before Halloween or shoot off fireworks in June?

Next thing you know, you’ll be buying your wife gifts and taking her out to dinner before Valentines Day. I mean . . um . . . okay, never mind.

However, now that the dinner has been served—along with numerous follow-up sandwiches, we can discuss the big holiday. With that in mind, I want to to talk about something near to my heart. Something that fills our spirits with joy, reminds us of the real meaning of the holidays, and warms us inside and out.Of course I’m speaking of e-readers.

Without giving away my age, I remember when the big things to get were MP3 players, CD players, cell phones, computers, DVDs, CD players, Sony Walkman (men?), VCRs (both Beta and VHS), eight track players. Yeah, I think that’s far enough back.

Each of these had a perceived and a real impact. Eight track players made it easier to put more music on one tape and access it more quickly. VCRs were going to kill free TV by letting people skip commercials. MP3 players were going to kill record companies. And to some extent all of these did happen. But at the same time none of them completely did.

As I talk to people about e-readers and e-books, I get the impression that this is Christmas/Chanukah/gift-giving holiday of your choice of the e-reader. Lots of people buying, receiving, or hoping for e-readers of one kind or another.

While I’m convinced e-readers are going to become as commonplace as MP3 players, I’m not completely convinced physical books are going away. Obviously that’s just my opinion. Spend a few minutes browsing the internet and you’ll find plenty of people predicting the demise of everything from bookstores, to publishers and agents, to hardbacks/paperbacks, to libraries.

As an author, I’m excited about e-books. I love the idea of presenting at a conference, school, class, or other event, and having people be able to start reading my latest book before I’m done presenting. I like the idea of people reading about my book on a blog and downloading it within seconds. I like the idea of people buying more books because they cost less. If they like one of my books, they can buy more without paying shipping, tax, or waiting for days. It’s the ultimate impulse buy.

As a reader, I can’t see myself giving up physical books anytime soon. I love physical books. But I also love the idea of carrying lots of books in one little device. I imagine I’ll get an e-reader, but still buy my favorite authors in hardback and paperback. I’ll still prowl used bookstores and visit the library. I think there are enough people like me that bookstores might change, but won’t go away completely.

So my question to you is, are you planning on getting an e-reader in the next 12 months? If so, will you give up buying paper books completely? Do you anticipate buying more books? Will having an e-reader change the way you buy books? Do you think you’ll download many free books by authors you haven’t heard of? Will you choose a $2.99 book over a $12.99 book, or will you focus mainly on authors you already know and love? If you aren’t getting an e-reader, is it a stance against them, the money, not a priority, or something else?

Tell all. I promise it will stay between you, me, and everyone else who reads this blog!


At 11/29/2010 9:57 PM, Blogger Melanie Jacobson said...

I have an e-Reader and I like it fine but I find I only use it on two occasions. 1-on vacation. That's why my husband got it for me. He thought my anxiety over being caught somewhere without a book to read was silly until he saw me go through a whole suitcase of them in a week. That's when we got the e-Reader. Now we're both happy. 2. I use it to download free books in the public domain when they're selected in my book club, i.e. Jane Austen's Persuasion and Bronte's Jane Eyre. But given a choice, I'd rather have a real book. The only time I've chosen the e-book when I could have had a real one was when my copy of Mockingjay didn't come on time and I didn't want to wait so I bought it for the eReader and cancelled my Amazon order. My husband is currently using my eReader for a free computer software book he found in the Sony library. He likes the eReader better than regular books.

I cannot believe I just wrote such a long comment on something I'm not even passionate about. Sheesh. I must be avoiding the dishes.

Oh, and I do like my e-reader for when people contact me to review their books and I get a PDF file. Then I just stick it on the reader and it's much nicer than reading on my laptop. 'Kay. Done now.

At 11/29/2010 10:16 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Getting a Kindle for either b-day or Christmas (they're days apart, so it almost doesn't matter which).

Already read a lot on the hub's Kindle. I read faster on it, and I love being able to have several books at my finger tips IN my purse, anywhere. It's also been handy to read PDF manuscripts and the like.

It's way easy on the eyes.

Browsing the Kindle store is dangerous with all the books that are cheap--$5 or less. That's less than lunch and so easy to pop into your cart. So yeah, I'm sure I'll buy a lot of e-books (and download free ones).

But will I give up on hard copy books? No way. For starters, I love getting signed copies from author friends. For another, a lot of books I love are for youth and kids (I need good picture books!). And I'll always keep my favorite books in hard copy, no matter what.

It's just nice to be able to buy several new books, cheaply, and not have to find ROOM for them on my bulging shelves, wondering if maybe I should donate some books to DI. No need!

At 11/29/2010 10:20 PM, Anonymous Moriah Jovan said...

I have four ebook readers, and I need another two, but you might say I have a vested interest in digital books since formatting them is how I make my living.

However, if you'd told me two years ago that I'd probably never buy a paper book again, I'd have laughed at you.

Now...not so much. At least one of my ebook readers is with me constantly.

My BlackBerry makes me not hate waiting in line. For anything. Ever.

At Thanksgiving, my kid finished Ramona (on my Kindle) and asked me for another one. A quick connect, a few buttons pushed, and boom, there it was.

My eBookWise makes reading in the dark a wonderful experience and it has a stylus, so I critique and edit on it where I can take notes.

I just got a hand-me-down Sony and that means I won't have to convert a lot of my EPUB files to some other format.

I want a Kobo because their bookstore is international and somehow safe from geographic restrictions (I don't understand how, sorry).

I do NOT want an iPad, but I'm going to have to get one so I can stay competitive with my formatting. I'll get a 1st generation when the next generation comes out, though.

My neighbor expressed some horror at the thought my daughter doesn't have a library card. Daughter dutifully said, "Oh, it's okay. My mom just downloads the books I want on her Kindle." WIN.

At 11/29/2010 10:43 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I am hoping to get a Kindle for Christmas. I spend lots of time waiting for kids in various settings and the idea of having a small 8 ounce many book device is intriguing. Just today I carried three books with me: one I was almost done with, one to start and a biography I need to read. With the Kindle they could all be in one neat little package.

The other benefit for me is that many of my favorite authors are available on the Kindle but not the local library or bookstores and I don't like paying shipping charges.

I will probably still buy hard copies of my favorites. Especially ones that are part of a series that I already have two or three volumes of or my favorite authors.

At 11/29/2010 10:54 PM, Blogger Charlie Moore said...

Probably won't buy an e-reader this year. But I have taken advantage as a writer. Several short stories I've written are available on Kindle, one for $1.99 and all the rest for $1. I don't promote much and surprisingly people find them. I manage to get some sells each month.

I personally like an old fashioned book for reading.

At 11/29/2010 11:20 PM, Blogger Laurieann said...

My Kindle makes me wonder why people say money can't buy happiness and I bought it BEFORE the big price drop.

I love it. I love books too. I think I've purchased more e- and regular books having the Kindle.

My favorite thing is to download samples of books friends recommend and then purchase later if I like the sample - either electronically or at the bookstore.

Listening to an author on NPR the other day while picking up my son from school and bloop - I had the author's book sample downloaded instantly. Now I can read (and buy) at my leisure and I never have to worry about "now where did I write that?" again.

At 11/30/2010 1:08 AM, Blogger Krista said...

I'm hoping to get a Kindle for Christmas (I've hinted in no uncertain terms). Several months ago I boarded a plane with 5 books. 2 on writing, 2 for fun, and 1 to review for a friend. After 2 connections and persistent back pain, I had the epiphany: OH, THAT IS WHY A KINDLE WOULD BE AWESOME.

At 11/30/2010 6:49 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

Well ... once I am guaranteed that I can get any e-book anywhere in the world as soon as it is published, or even before, without having to pay taxes and fees that bring the price up to hardback levels ... I might just consider getting an ereader. Maybe. I don't see this happening in the next twelve months, though.

I understand that some of these ereaders are quite fragile *coughKindlecough* and if I should ever hear that they've changed the design so that you can drop it without instantly killing it, that would definitely influence my decision, too.

I won't be giving up paper books any time soon, either, even if I do eventually get an e-reader. I'm afraid my financial situation combined with my compulsion to read has set me on the path of online book swapping, and I just can't see myself giving that up, ever. In this economic way, I've discovered several new authors, some of whom I like so much that I'll even spend money on them!

At 11/30/2010 9:35 AM, Blogger John Ferguson said...

I'm not one for doom and gloom. I don't think the eBook will kill publishing and regular books, but I'm convinced it will cause big changes and the players that have the hardest time adapting will probably fail. I do think it is interesting that most of the focus of eBooks is on publishers. I think there will be big changes in other areas as well.

Book Sellers: What happens to the independent book seller when you don't have to go in there? What happens to the non-independents, too? They turn into collectible shops? You know, like the coin, stamp, and baseball card shops that you've probably never gone in. Only the serious collectors will buy books?

Used Book Stores: How do you buy a used eBook? (And if you buy from Kindle you don't even OWN the book, you just own a license to read it, so you can't resell anything?) How many people got their first experience buying a book from the used book store? And then supported their new habit by selling books back and buying more?

Garage Sales: I guess we're going to have to find something else to fill the 25-cent box out front.

Out of Print: What happens now that every book can always be "in print"? But at some point, even an eBook takes bandwidth and server space, so I suppose the book can still go out of distribution.

Ads: You know someone is already working on this. What about having ads in books? With today's eReaders it could work. After each chapter a full-page ad. Then you could give your book away for free and still make money. "Oh! The Heresy," I can hear the screams now. But, they said the same thing about the internet not too many years ago.

Competition: With a book, you have a book. Seems simple enough. And when you read a book, you are engulfed in imagination and ignoring the room or park or lake around you. What happens when your book becomes an eBook on a device that can get email, Facebook, and streaming video? Your eBook can remind you that you have an appointment or that you have mail or that a tweet just came in? Does that change the experience? From the author's perspective: Will that change the way that stories will have to be told, the pacing of stories, or the way we construct chapters? I bet it will.

So, to answer your question: Do I want an eBook Reader? Sure, I do. I think the market is heading that direction and I'm looking forward to most of the changes that it will bring, but not all of them. Will I buy an eBook Reader this year? Probably not. I still can't keep up with reading all the physical books I get.

At 11/30/2010 9:40 AM, Blogger Danyelle Ferguson said...

I just ordered a Nook and am waiting for it to arrive in just two more days. I purchased an e-reader for two reasons:

1. Some books I'm asked to review come in an electronic format. It's a pain in my tush (literally) to have to sit at my computer and read the whole thing. With my Nook, I'll be able to snuggle up in my bed at night or relax on my comfy couch while I read.

2. My nine-year-old daughter has started raiding my bookshelves for more mature, lengthier books to read. She's outgrown the Rainbow Fairies and other middle grade chapter books she's loved up to now. Now she's interested in Josi Kilpack's mystery series and J. Scott Savage's Far World series. One little problem I found with this is that I have a few national market authors I really love to read - but their content is not necessarily appropriate for my nine-year-old (James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult). Many times, I don't know when my daughter has started a book until she talks to me about the plot and characters. So my hubby and I decided to lighten our bookshelves last summer and only keep the books we want our kids to read.

Does that mean I don't want to read my favorite national market authors who are a bit more on the violent or risky side? Nope. Which is another reason I want an e-reader. I can check e-books out from my library or purchase them to keep on my Nook without worrying about my kids reading something that will scare the crud out of them.

Of course, the girly shopper side of me has been really excited about all the cute accessories I get to purchase for my Nook, too. =)

At 11/30/2010 10:13 AM, Blogger Karlene said...

I have a Kindle, a Nook, and a Sony. Like MoJo, I make ebooks for a living, so that's why I have all three. I would love and iPad, but I, too, am waiting for the newest version to lower the price of the first one.

My favorite is the Kindle. Even though I sometimes get very angry with Amazon, IMO, the Kindle is the most flexible, the easiest and the fastest to use.

I find I'm more willing to try new authors, especially with the free sample, so I can get a taste before I buy.

The lower prices are enticing--so my budget goes farther. Although sometimes, the print version is cheaper than the ebook version. (I don't understand that at all.)

But I still buy lots of print books. My favorite authors that I know I'll re-read, or books I want my children and grandchildren to read.

However, as a general rule, I prefer the ebook because of its portability, the ability to get books in the middle of the night without out going to the bookstore, and because if you fall asleep and drop it while reading, it won't break your nose.

At 11/30/2010 5:53 PM, Blogger Steve Westover said...

No- to all questions. I have Zero desire for an e-reader.

Do I win a prize for the shortest comment on this post?


At 11/30/2010 6:33 PM, Anonymous Juan Figuroa said...

No. I do.

At 11/30/2010 6:38 PM, Anonymous L'Editrix said...

Intrigued by Moriah's comment about editing on eBookWise. Anyone know whether other e-readers have the same capability? Can e-reader-edited manuscripts be transferred to, say, clients? 'Cause that'd be a pretty compelling reason to buy.

At 11/30/2010 7:57 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

The Kindle has a coolness factor just for the technology, but I don't see myself getting one. Now, you give me a device with e-reader tech AND mp3 and stuff (I'm thinking: iPad or whatever the Android version is) then we're talking.

If I can browse album covers on my iPod classic, I don't know why I can't scroll text on it. =(

At 11/30/2010 8:59 PM, Anonymous Moriah Jovan said...


Can e-reader-edited manuscripts be transferred to, say, clients?

I'm not sure. When I mark up my eBookWise, I have to physical transcribe them to my manuscript (or whoever's work it is I'm beta reading).

@Jon Spell

Now, you give me a device with e-reader tech AND mp3

They can all do that, even the Kindle, because they all do audiobooks too. And they do text-to-speech if the publisher hasn't blocked that capability.

iPod classic, I don't know why I can't scroll text on it.

You can.

At 11/30/2010 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm getting DH a Nook for Christmas. I wish I had picked up one for myself. I think I will still buy hard copies of books by my favorite authors or books for my kids. But new releases are just so much cheaper on an ebook.

At 12/01/2010 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I win.

At 12/01/2010 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 12/01/2010 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 12/01/2010 3:03 PM, Blogger Michael Knudsen said...

I love books but also can't resist new electronic toys. I will always have hard books in my home, but an eReader for travel where I can get most of the classics for free is something I eventually won't pass up. I am also a cheapskate and will lurk until the price is right. I'm waiting for something I can read AND write on, for a couple hundred bucks. I know, it may be a while.

At 12/03/2010 2:58 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I have an iPad that I've mostly downloaded classic books onto. I have bought a couple of contemporary books, but ironically, the kindle versions are more expensive than the paperback and in some cases the hardback.

And I can't loan out my ebook to anyone, so that's kind of a downer.

Plus, I get nervous carrying around the iPad on errands to catch extra reading moments. And I have to remember to charge it up.


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