Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To Kindle or Not To Kindle ...


... That is the question.

I want one, of course. Books downloaded instantly … an entire library to carry with me on vacation … I even thought the Kindle would be perfect to use at school because I could load it with all the books I teach in class and have them all in one place.

Except – once I started looking, I discovered that most children’s books are still not available in Kindle. Strike one. I made a list of about twenty books I regularly used in my 5th grade classroom and found only one of them available in the Kindle store. So scratch that idea.

Taking the Kindle on vacation is problematic, too. Strike two. Although you can safely leave your paperback novel on your beach chair on in the ski lodge, it might not be a good idea to leave your Kindle lying around unsupervised. You can also read your book during take-off and landing on an airplane, but not your electronic reader.

That leaves reading at home, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t think the Kindle can handle the type of reading I’ve been doing lately. In the past month, I’ve read only one novel – but five manuscripts. Two of them were my own, which I was editing, and three belonged to other people, which I marked up with editing notes and comments. Then I emailed them back to their owners. In other words, most of the reading I do these days involves interacting with text on a computer – and doing it in a format transferrable to someone else’s computer as a document file.

I know it’s possible to highlight text and make notes on the Kindle, but I don’t think you can transfer the marked-up document back to a computer – can you? How about the Nook? Or the iPad? I’d love to hear from someone who has one of these devices. How compatible are they with your computer?

Unfortunately, no matter how sleek and attractive and just plain cool they are, I don’t need a uni-tasker – a device used only for reading, and only at home, and only for the books available through the Kindle store. I might have to remain Kindle-less.

Thoughts, anyone?

14 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I know what you mean, re: want one but . . .

    I guess they're brilliant for someone who loves to have minimalist embience in the home - no books cluttering sleak glass shelves that house one or two terribly selective in-vogue objects (usually ugly), and of course someone who commutes by train would probably find a Kindle quite handy! ;)
    best
    F

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  2. Yeah, I totally agree with your thoughts. I'm sure I'll end up investing at some point, but the thought of reading with no paper in my hands makes my stomach churn. Your point about leaving it on a beach chair is a good one, too. I hadn't thought of that. The unavailability of some books is also a pain. Hmmm...what to do?

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  3. It's like you're reading my mind. I've been considering a Kindle or iPad, but I can see just as many negatives as positives. I'm pretty sure the iPad does more than Kindle. I think you can send editing notes and things like that. I'm still looking into it though. Can't wait to see what others have to say.

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  4. I have a Kobo, which I like, but mostly because the books are cheaper than hardback. But the truth is, I mostly buy the real deal. Problem is my bookshelf is getting over crowded, and not all books are available on Kobo, but it's getting better.

    When I first got it, you couldn't get new YA releases for it, but now more and more are going to Kobo on the day of release. Only you don't know which ones they'll be.

    I was going to bring it on my vacation until I realized the thing you pointed out. I can't use it on take off and landing. :(

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  5. Egg-zackerly. :) You've listed a lot of the reasons I've put off buying one myself. Maybe someday, but for now the cons outweigh the pros.

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  6. I have a kindle, and I would say it's not really worth it. The only thing I use it for now is for some writing I download off the internet, and even that's not practical because I have to convert it all to pdf and reformat it first.

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  7. I've had my kindle for a little over a year. I used it a lot during the first couple of months (shiny new toy excitement) but I've since returned to reading a lot more books in paper for. I'd say I'm now about a 50/50 kindle verses paper reader.

    I have taken my kindle with me on vacation and found it handy. True, you can't leave it lying around unsupervised but it's small enough to slip easily into a bag.

    The main reason that I don't use my kindle as much as I read paper is because I share a lot of books with friends. The nook has a sharing e-books feature that may make it a lot more desirable once a larger percentage of the population has e-readers.

    One handy e-reader feature to know about. Many public libraries are starting to carry e-books. You can download the book to your computer/reader from the library webpage and then at the end of the checkout period it is automatically deleted from your computer. Since I use the library a lot, this makes the kindle more useful/affordable.

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  8. I've had a nook (3G and WiFi) since July, and I love it because all the books I want, many debut novels by bloggers I follow, are available the same day the hardcopy is released.

    I read a lot, and now I'm reading even more, since I like to keep up on what's going on in my genre. I've spent a lot on books, but I can also sideload files like library books and free ebooks from places like Project Gutenburg.

    I also made a pdf of my manuscript and can read it on the nook, but I can only highlight things, not make actual notes and corrections.

    So if you're not going to read a lot, or the books you want aren't available, I wouldn't get one. I feel like I have more freedom with the nook to get books from more sources. Maybe Barnes and Noble has more of the children's books you want to read.

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  9. Francine, Sheri, Kelly, and Linda -- I've been mulling it over for some time now and still haven't reached a decision. My husband said he would have bought one for me by now as a surprise if he thought I would use it, but even he thinks I'd be back on my laptop within days.

    Stina -- Who makes the Kobi? I think I've heard of it -- very possibly from your blog.

    Becca and Kate -- I'm afraid of exactly that: Using it as a shiny new toy for awhile, and then reverting to the laptop because it does so much more. Kate, I didn't know you could get books from the library that way. That's really cool and a *plus* in their favor!

    Tere -- I haven't compared titles at Barnes and Noble, so I don't know if they offer more children's literature. I know it's a publisher's choice whether or not to offer an e-book, and I kind of think they'll offer all kinds or none -- but I could be wrong.

    Marva had an extremely informative post that I can no longer see. I'll have to see if I can find out what cyberspace wormhole it was sucked into ...

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  10. WAH! Your blog hates me! If you got an email with the text, you can mail it to me and I'll repost. Shoot. I don't know what I babbled about.

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  11. Okay, here's the repeat. Actually, not so erudie. I should blog about the uses of Kindles in more detail.

    I read manuscripts and do markups using the Notes feature. If the other person doesn't have a Kindle, I'll transfer the notes to their ms. One extra step? However, I've found more than once where I rethought the note and changed it in the document.

    If the other person has a Kindle, you can send them the clippings.txt file. There's a bit of coordination but it can be done.

    As for getting a Word file on your Kindle, you can email the .DOC to your kindle email address (you assign one) and Amazon will send you back a Kindle-ready file, which can be transferred to the Kindle or read using Kindle for PC.

    Now, those kids' books. Is there a MOBI copy of them anywhere? You can transfer MOBI straight to your Kindle.

    There are a ton of solutions to just the problems people think there might be. The Kindle Reference Guide can be read with the free Kindle for PC software so you can see if a solution exists for each of your objections.

    Paper, shmaper. It's going away. Get used to it.

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  12. Marva has tried TWICE to post this, and it keeps vanishing. Although her comment above appears with no problem. Seems like a CONSPIRACY to keep this information secret! Here's the text of her post:

    I read manuscripts and do markups using the Notes feature. If the other person doesn't have a Kindle, I'll transfer the notes to their ms. One extra step? However, I've found more than once where I rethought the note and changed it in the document.

    If the other person has a Kindle, you can send them the clippings.txt file. There's a bit of coordination but it can be done.

    As for getting a Word file on your Kindle, you can email the .DOC to your kindle email address (you assign one) and Amazon will send you back a Kindle-ready file, which can be transferred to the Kindle or read using Kindle for PC.

    Now, those kids' books. Is there a MOBI copy of them anywhere? You can transfer MOBI straight to your Kindle.

    There are a ton of solutions to just the problems people think there might be. The Kindle Reference Guide can be read with the free Kindle for PC software so you can see if a solution exists for each of your objections.

    Paper, shmaper. It's going away. Get used to it.

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  13. I like the feel of a book in my hand. I like turning the pages. I like skipping ahead to the very last page once in a while and just glancing at the words there, for a hint. And I like having a book with me because maybe someone will be intrigued by the cover and ask me what I'm reading - as I've done to other people who carry books with them.

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  14. You bring up some really good points, Dianne! I hadn't thought about some of them. I expect that more and more ya and mg books will be available on e readers, especially as the price point of them goes down making them more affordable for parents to purchase for their kids. But leaving them on your chair is a good point...you wouldn't leave your ipod sitting there and expect it to be there when you got back.

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