Welp, I finally broke down last June and bought that e-reader I had my eye on. (Read this for the backstory.) It’s a darling little thing. A black touch Kobo, all sleek and pretty and the back has a diamond pattern on it so it looks like one of Chanel’s quilted purses. I’ve put Virginia Woolf on it, some of my university readings, P.G. Whodehouse, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and a medley of other fantastic reads.
Oh Kobo, you satisfy me in countless ways. Actually, Kobo, you satisfy me in five concisely worded bullets:
- So convenient! With your long-lasting battery I can toss you in your travelling case (I highly recommend a case, by the way, scratches incurred from not having a case can make it difficult to read.), toss the case into my purse and know that even if I’m driving back from the Retina Center of Vermont I have all my electronic books at my finger-tips. The ease of mind of knowing that when I finish reading a biography of Queen Elizabeth the First I will not be stranded in a car with nothing else to read. (Note: that was not just a random made-up example, that was a random real-life example. It happened about five hours before I wrote this.) It’s also great for when I’m about to embark on a trip, say to visit family in Brooklyn, I can pack a paperback book and take my Kobo as well, effectively taking along over a dozen books with me.
- Easy on the eyes! Besides having an aesthetically pleasing look to it (Please refer back to the Chanel reference.) the adjustable features available for the font mean that as it grows dark out I can make the font MASSIVE and therefor easier to read. This is also useful if you are returning from the above mentioned retina center and have dilated eyes that read large print easier than tiny print.
- Access! Say, just say, that you are interested in Andrew Lang. Interested enough that you really want to own more of his books. Now say that you are on a college-student budget. Bummer for you and your book owning plans. Except, if you don’t mind not having physical copies of the book then you can toddle over to Kobo’s e-bookstore or Google eBooks and download a couple of Andrew Lang’s books that are in the public domain for free. Hooray! Free fairy-tales and analysis for free! (And if you are also me then you make a note to buy these books from your local Independent bookstore as soon as you have an income.)
- Annotations! Now this might not be a big deal to you if you didn’t own a Kobo touch before a few months ago but up until then you could only highlight text. As of a recent update to the Kobo we can now add marginalia to our texts! How great is that? (p.s. If anyone can tell me how, if it’s possible, to add highlighting and marginalia to my texts put onto my Kobo through Adobe Digital Editions that would be most grand, thanks.)
- Did I mention its convenience, ease on eyes, access, and annotating ability? Because I should have, they’re all keen features.
However, all is not rosy in my Kobo world. But for more on that, come back in a week.
Some things I’ve come across since last Sunday that I thought you might enjoy.
Ask a Drag Queen
–From her YouTube channel: “Australian Drag Queen who’s seen most and read the rest. Citing a lack of common sense and sociological hypocrisy, I’ve come online to set the world right, one idiot at a time.” Biting, fabulous, sensible.–
—This is a great short piece by Niall Ferguson (published in Newsweek) about the American public’s deep love for revolutions, a love that can blind us.–
Why Some E-Books Cost More Than Hardcover & Amanda Hocking and the 99-Cent Kindle
–On February 21st I published a post about how much I’m willing to pay for an e-book that was inspired by a post by Nathan Bransford. One of the questions I tried to raise in my post was about how much an e-book costs to manufacture. Well it seems that the fates were reading my blog since Nathan Bransford has two posts that answer all my questions.–
Image via Wikipedia
Careful, I’m about to be blunt.
There are too many books out there.
But I’m not going to get into some big thing over publishers and too many books to make choices and other things that I’ve read in School Library Journal and Newsweek. Instead I’m going to talk about living with too many books to read.
On the surface this sounds like a good thing but I’m sure we’ve all experienced the crippling, catatonic-rendering feeling that comes from standing in a book store and realizing that there are more books that you want to read than there are days left in your life. The immediate option is dropping out of school/quitting work and killing off those who depend on you (children, pets, elderly parents, etc.). Of course after a while you’ll realize that this is irresponsible and illegal (though you will probably get plenty of reading time behind bars so…) so I’m going to propose a new plan.
Instead of dropping off the world and murder let’s look at smart planning (yes, I was listening to Marketplace Money today, why?) To cope with that overwhelming catatonic feeling I was talking about earlier I’ve developed my Book Budget, better known to my whiteboard as The List.
The concept is simple. On my list are seven books. These are the seven books that I must read before moving on to something else. That means that when someone recommends a book to me or I read a great review I can’t just drop everything and go find a copy of this new book. Basically this is just me trying to exercise some self-control.
But say! What if I want to read Enterprise: The First Adventure but it’s not on my list? Simple, I carefully look over the list to see if there are any books on there that I want to read less than Enterprise, if there aren’t on the list then I put Enterprise on my Shelfari to read list and ignore it until a spot opens. (As it turns out I was able to switch it for A Wizard of Earthsea– it just wasn’t working out for me.)
Basically this stops me from trying to read fifty books at once (I have been caught trying to balance nearly ten books at once and just never finished any of them.)
If you want to look at my short list click here or on the “My Short List” link up top. What books are on your short list?
Image via Wikipedia
I’ve subscribed to Nathan Bransfords’ blog mostly for his Friday special, “This Week in Books”. Last week’s post alerted me to two new and wonderful things. The first is this Great Gatsby classic (online!) Nintendo game which woke up both my inner nerds: Nintendo and books. Hooray!
The second alert makes up the meat and potatoes of this post. In his post Nathan Bransford contained a link to a survey regarding how much you would want to pay for an e-book. I’d recommend you go take the survey and then report back here to finish reading this post. (If you’d like to skip me rambling on about how much I’d be willing to pay and why, just go the survey and spend the rest of the day playing The Great Gatsby.)
After careful consideration I decided that the very most I’d be willing to pay for an e-book would be $11.99. The thing is that in 2007 the average price for an adult hardcover fiction book was $27.47 (all my average prices will be coming from SLJ) and the average price for a fiction trade paperback was $15.64. If we use the $11.99 cost we have a savings of $15.48 and $3.65, respectively. Those are pretty nice savings, I’m sure we all can agree.
But I’m not saying that $11.99 is the uniform price for all books, whether they’re Steig Larssons’ or General Tacticus’, but that it’s the most I would be willing to pay. If I controlled the world (or at least the world of books, I could settle for that) I would introduce a model of scaled costs. Just as new releases are printed first in the more expensive hardcovers before being released as the cheaper trade paperbacks I would have new books available for $11.99 and after a year or so they would then be moved down to $9.99 (this is a fairly arbitrarily picked price and one that I would be willing to negotiate on). As for books in the public domain, like Chaucer and whatnot, I would encourage e-book distributors to make these books available for free but would not mind paying a few bucks for them (kind of like the Dover Thrift Editions.)
And thus, with great reluctance to not go into the ethics of electronic commerce (*ehum* music piraters *ehum*) and also with an interest to hear what you are willing to pay, I end this post.
Even John Calvin wants an e-reader these days. --Image via Wikipedia
Confession: I mocked e-readers when they came onto the market. Phooey, I would say, ridiculous, pathetic, wusses, cowards, begh.
Confession: I now want an e-reader.
What prompted this sudden shift? Well it all started with, as it so often does with me, School Library Journal. Their wonderful tech review had started reviewing e-readers and I found myself going: Huh, that could be handy. I mean, getting books that aren’t in print anymore, buying books on a budget (obviously someone else would have bought me the e-reader) and the general convenience of not having to tote Ulysses around during my day trips (nearly a year into it and I’ll be damned if I give up on it.) But the trouble was that I don’t buy from big stores (confession: I did buy some books from Amazon but I had a gift certificate, what else could I do?) and at the time I could only buy books via Amazon, Borders and their ilk.
Then I had a brain blast. As I explained it to the Baroness a few weeks ago, “If only I could buy them through specific independent bookstores. I would pay my price and they’d make a few cents off my book. I’m a genius.”
And it’s true I am a genius. The one not so genius part of my plan was that I never patented it because a day later I was listening to NPR when they started talking about Google making it possible to buy e-books via Independent Bookstores (storie here). If only I’d copy written my idea. Ah well, c’est la vie. A few days later I was mentioning this to one of my favorite people, one of the two booksellers at my local IndieBound bookstore, when she said, “I know all about this. We’re part of it.” And I went, “Hooray! I can know get (someone to get me) an e-reader!”
While I am still slightly confused as to which e-readers can work with Google Books (I think most of them can, excluding the Kindle) I am excited to move into this new frontier.
Though there are times where I still have doubts as to whether or not I want another piece of electronic plastic in my life…