Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Heavy Tome

I just started the book Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke and it is most literally a heavy tome at 3.6lbs.  This didn't seem like too much when I picked it up at the store, but trying to hold it in one hand while grabbing onto a subway pole with the other I felt every ounce of that weight.  I gazed jealously at a few fellow riders who toted their e-readers.  For awhile I wasn't sure they were for me, but the more I read about them the more I want one.  Now I can't decide between a dedicated e-reader and a multi-function device.  OK, the Kindle and the iPad.  Later versions of the iPad anyway, after they fix a lot of the current limitations and the price comes down.

I'd like a chance to play around with the Kindle.  I've played with the iPad a bunch of times.  The boyfriend is a big Mac fan so when I get dragged to the Apple story I generally find an open iPad and continue reading Super Freakonomics.  I'm up to chapter 1.  I saw a Kindle at a Target a few weeks ago but it was a display, non-working option.  All I could tell from it was the weight which is important but didn't really give me a good idea of actually reading on it.  So Amazon execs that are clearly avid follows of my blog, take note! If you let me play with your toy I'm more likely to buy my own.

Of course the idea of an e-reader makes me a little sad because I picture empty bookshelves.  Sure an e-reader would make packing for vacations much easier and moving would be less of a pain. (Important note: do not split up a few books into all of your boxes to spread out the weight.  Instead of having to put up with a couple very heavy box, every box is heavy. Not only am I now missing some books that are probably still in random boxes in the storage unit under some junk but you get no weight break.)  In general I like my bookshelves.  They're one of the most prominent features of the living room and I like staring at them as I pick what to read next. I'm not much of a decorator so they do a lot of that work for me.  I have a feeling even if I got an e-reader I'd still buy the actual books. It'd be fantastic if you could get both the actual and e-copies of the books in some bundled discount.  Man, I am full of great ideas tonight.

So what do you think: dedicated e-reader (Kindle), multi-function device (iPad) or just suck-it-up-and-deal-with-the-weight actual book?

Update! Thanks to everyone for their comments!  I've decided to try out a couple e-reader apps on my iPod Touch before actually buying anything.  I have both the Kindle and iBooks app so I'll be reading A Christmas Carol on the Kindle app and The Hound of the Baskervilles on iBookes (hooray for free ebooks).  We'll see which, if any, win.


  1. I was actually going through Book Blog Ning when I saw your post about this topic. I love this topic, it brings such great views to the forefront. One of the biggest is 'I want one but I can't afford it.' I actually conducted a little quiz on an Author's forum I frequent and found more disturbing answers.
    The latest trend is this. Lots of people kind of want to try one. They don't want to give up on print books though. They don't actually have one.
    Haha! I even have one author friend who doesn't own a kindle but published her book for one. We seem to think 'everyone has one' but I have never set my eyes on even one in my town. My town isn't a city and there's only about 14,000 residents but until it can reach into my town, I really don't seek it.
    I agree, some books are heavy. Especially Stephen King, wow can that guy write, huh? I have thought about an ebook bundle with my own book before, I think it's the best way to do it. That way people have the print but can take the reader whenever they leave. So that no matter what happens to the ereader, (fatal crash or something, or you lost it) your books are still safe and sound at home.
    Unfortunately it's usually either/or in self publishing and I'd rather offer ebooks for special events instead. There is too much placed on the price of ebooks (and that's coming from an author). The book itself is priced by what is used to make it. All but a few bucks goes to the company, designers and completion of the book.
    Then again the cheaper Ebooks get, the more expensive real books get to keep up the pace as more go through ebooks.

    Thanks for the chance to participate in your conversation.:)

  2. Thanks for stopping by Melanie! I definitely agree with you on the "I want one but can't afford it" front. I feel like I'm slowly seeing more and more e-readers but they are definitely still in the minority, at least in terms of the book readers I've seen. Hopefully the prices will start to come down some more.

    I wish the weight of a book didn't play into whether or not I read it but sadly it sometimes does. I've had a hardback copy of King's Dreamcatcher for years but I've yet to read it. Anytime I throw it into my bag and feel that extra weight I'll have to lug around, I quietly put it back on the shelf and pick out a nice slim paperback.

    It's too bad with self-publishing you have to make the either/or decision. Perhaps when e-readers become more ubiquitous it will make more sense to publish e-books. Then you won't have to worry about local stores stocking your work. Anyone with an internet connection can get it.

  3. Hi!

    With my birthday rapidly approaching, I'm finding myself being drawn further and further into being convinced that I should just go for it and try out an eReader! But everytime I say to my boyfriend, "Yep, I'm decided - I do want one", I end up eventually wondering, "But do I really?".

    Perhaps I need to start reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell to tip me and my handbag over the edge!

    The other problem I have with one is that eBooks actually appear to be more expensive than the paper version on some websites I've checked out and that puts me off. After all, I'm only paying for access to the story itself, rather than paper and other business costs - is that just me being crazy and infected by my boyfriend's weird economical outlook on everything?



  4. Hey Lit Brit. Thanks for stopping by!

    Reading this heavy book right now is pushing me towards the I-want-an-ereader side now. We'll see what happens when I finish this one and move onto lighter books.

    I'm sure someone can explain some good reasons why ebooks cost more than actual, physical books but I cna't figure it out. They don't have to worry about materials, shipping, storage in warehouses and stores that traditional books have so I don't understand why the cost is where it is. Though now that more e-readers are getting in the game, I'm interested to see how prices change. Hopefully in my favor.

  5. I have a Kindle, but once I got an iphone I stopped using it. I use the Kindle app on my iphone to read when I have some down time at work. That's free! The good thing about Kindle is there are a lot of free books and they change weekly. It's kinda like a game, trying to catch the books while they're free. They aren't often necessarily something I'd read, but I've read a lot of very good, interesting books that I wouldn't have otherwise. I will say that I do love the Kindle. It's very lightwieght and can function easily with one hand (no matter which hand you hold it in).

    A friend of mine has the Sony e-reader for the fact that you can "check out" books from library. She really likes it. The downside to that one is that you have to connect it to a computer to download books, it doesn't have a wireless system to get them.

    Supposedly the Nook from Barnes and Noble is working on getting a similar function to check out books from the library. I've only heard rumors about that so I don't know anything for sure.

  6. Hey Autumn! I have the Kindle App on my iPod Touch, but I can't get used to reading on such a small screen, though I can't say I've given it too much of a chance.

    I took a look at the Nook this afternoon and I can't say I was too impressed with it, at least they one they had for you to try out. I do like the idea of being able to borrow ebooks though. Maybe I'll look into the Sony

  7. I love my Kindle and would definitely get a dedicated reader over an IPad -- the Kindle works great for my needs, which are traveling and commuting -- its compact, easy to hold and turn pages (which is of huge importance when hanging on to subway poles!). It's also easier to get books and fun to read. And I even find it easier to read in bed than paper books. That said, I haven't given up on paper books, I always go back to them periodically, like for going to the beach.

    I loved Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I admit I ignored a lot of the footnotes, although they are clever -- I just found it difficult to keep going back and forth. But great book!

  8. hey curlygeek. Thanks for stopping by!

    The more I've looked into it and heard from everyone (thanks everyone for the comments) the more I think the Kindle is a better choice over the iPad. I am going to attempt to use the Kindle app on my iPod Touch for awhile and see if I can get used to reading on that little screen before I actually make the leap for a Kindle. I'd love to play around on one before actually buying.


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