The E-Reader Revolution

And Why I’ll NEVER Own One

Guest Post by Eva Pugzlyte

ereader revolution

© Mahroch | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Tablets.

Moses was already marketing the stone prototype (second-generation since he broke the first one) of this gadget around Mount Sinai before it was cool. Hipster. Apparently he was hooked on it for forty days and forty nights (gadget dependency was seemingly not a hot topic back then) before he finally got off the mountain and showed it to his followers (and that before Twitter!). Since the Stone Tablets the e-reader has gained a few more electrodes (hence the ‘e’) and millions more who swear by it like the Israelites did by the ten commandments.  Now there’s the Kindle, the Bookeen, the Nook, the Pocketbook, the Kobo and the Sony. Basic, Mini, Touch, Sense, Glo, Pro. The Essence. The iLiad (which ironically was discontinued)  and the eClicto (which ironically hasn’t been discontinued). Then there are the tablets you can use as e-readers and e-readers that you can hook up to Wi-Fi and use as tablets that can be used as cameras, which can be used as coffee makers which can probably navigate satellites.

Wow.

And I’m – I’m equally unimpressed, because in the end all I want to do is read a book.

Ah! Let me finish. An actual book, which is “a set of written, printed and/or  illustrated sheets made of ink, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side.” That kind of book.

“But e-readers can store thousands of books in one device, which is perfect for a book worm like you,” you might argue?

Valid point, if not for the fact that I like to physically be surrounded by my books in that creepy porcelain-doll collection sort of way. I love to see their colourful spines snugly stashed on various shelves. I love the double rows. I love the random piles that tend to sprout all over my flat like mushrooms after rain. It makes my home feel inhabited not by just me but also by the characters in those books and the great minds that birthed them. Granted there’s also a few that are the equivalent of that one aunt or uncle who channels North-Korea at family functions (with or without booze), but you love them anyway. Because it’s family.

In addition few things beat walking into a bookstore or a library and knowing that you’re literally surrounded by millions of words. Thousands of e-books on a Kindle will never kindle the feeling of walking in to a place like this: http://www.miragebookmark.ch/images/inside-shakespeare-and-co.jpg and ordering an e-book will never be as satisfying as feeling the weight of the novel you purchased in your hands, nor will you feel the little thrill of being the first to properly open a book,  the cover still rigid from never being used, the pages crisp as you brush your hand over them to set them in that first fold (of hopefully many) until it is pliant and perhaps a bit weathered under your fingertips. Same way an e-reader will never hold the charm of an antique book or even simply a second hand one, perhaps holding a personal inscription or a few incriminating dog-ears, fondly pressed in the pages. It will not give you that slightly mouldy smell of old paper.

You’re probably rolling your eyes at the illusive book smell, but here’s a little fun fact: An international team of chemists has devoted a study to this unique odour of old books and concluded that the smell was “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness”. Call me when anyone starts waxing poetic on the scent of an e-reader like that.

Which brings me to the next point. Books are mostly made from organic elements. The paper, the ink, the glue, the fabric, etc. All these compounds react to temperature and humidity, exposure to the environment and even each other as time goes by and release what in the study of degradomics (the science of book-sniffing if you will) is called volatile organic compounds which cause a unique smell. So you see, books are a living organism. They age like we do. The yellowed pages, the different scents they absorb and the weathered edges are the wrinkles etched in our skins.

The story remains, but if you eliminate its physical existence, its body if you will, you are left with a fragrant perfume in an airtight bottle. And then there is the sharing of books which I find somehow intimate, both receiving a book belonging to someone else or lending one out to someone. A friend of mine who spent 6 months travelling the world told me about the practice of backpackers exchanging books as they travelled (both the books and the backpackers). Imagine a manuscript travelling around Vietnam and suddenly crossing paths with you only to leave your side on the sandy beaches of Bali after a short but meaningful love affair only to thrust you in to a new adventure, both on page as in reality.

Imagine making that same trip with an e-reader. It surely is much more convenient. An e-reader offers thousands of manuscripts in one light-weight gadget. It eliminates spilled coffees, crumbs between the pages, reservations at the library or late returns, it eliminates frantic searching for that one quote you read somewhere between page 53 and 734 or the quest spanning four bookstores in one day to find a certain title, it offers font-enlargement, and makes bookmarks obsolete. It saves space in your suitcase and in your cramped flat.

It’s convenient, but then the best things in life often aren’t.

I rest my case. If you need me, I’ll be curled up on the couch with the yellowed pages of The Great Gatsby copy I picked up at a second hand bookstore for €2 last week. It smells vaguely of coffee and has a dog-ear on page 24.

I agree with the previous owner. It’s a good page.

About the Author

Thinker. Dreamer. Independent. Observer. Night owl. Frank. Stubborn. Easygoing on the surface, but shy underneath. Prone to sarcastic remarks. Ticklish. Lover of arts. Foodie. Would never exchange the feel of paper under her fingertips for an e-reader. Often talks in references. Could eat her weight in licorice. Secretly suspects her house is trying to kill her and shall deny every accusation of klutzery on her behalf. Is known to on occasion name inanimate objects and oftentimes can’t decide whether she loves something because it’s beautiful, or whether it’s beautiful because she loves it.

Advertisements

J to tha M: The eBook Revolution

What Would You Pay for an eBook?

how much would you pay for ebooks?

adamr for freedigitalphotos.net

M:  I did something I never thought I’d do

J:  oh, do tell

M:  I’ve always thought how ridiculous it is to pay $14.99 for an ebook and how I’ve never ever done it.

I would have laughed if you said I would up until about a few weeks ago, when I pre-ordered the new Black Dagger Brotherhood book–Lover at Last–out at midnight tonight on Kindle

Qhuinn!

I think a whole shit ton of people are waiting for that little story to appear on their e-reader at 12:01AM

so go ahead and make fun of me being stupid excited for my guilty pleasure

J:  and you paid $14.99 for it?

M:  yes I did

and I’m only slightly ashamed.

but I can’t stand it

J:  you know what, though?

we all pay more money for the things we really want

I mean, compare it to a Wal-Mart handbag or a Coach bag

no one gives a girl the side-eye for buying a Coach bag

$.99 for $14.99

if you’re going to love it, what does it matter?

M:  I lurve him. I seriously do. I haven’t been this giddy over a fictional hero since Jamie Fraser.

It would kill me to know the story was out and I didn’t have it in my hot little hand as soon as possible. Especially since I’m certain it’s not going to be for sale anywhere on the island

I will stay up all night and read it

J:  well, the fact of the matter is that some authors are the Coach bags of the publishing world

Coach charges so much for bags because people are going to buy them

some publishers charges so much for ebooks because they know people will effing buy them

people can roll their eyes if they want to, but they have their own “must haves” that they’ll pay for

so if you must have Qhuinn (omg, did I spell that right?), then by all means

and no need to be ashamed

I should probably also mention that I don’t even have an eReader

and when I do read, it’s usually a paper book

but that I have zero qualms about paying for the hardback version of a much-coveted book at the stroke of midnight the day it’s available. I have before, and I will again

 M:  hardback is different, though

there’s some cost involved in producing, shipping, etc. those. Not so much for the e-versions

J:  no, but in the end, it comes down to what you want

M:  I didn’t have an ereader until last Thanksgiving. I got a Kindle Fire, and I love it. I mostly got it so I can read in bed at night without having to turn on a light and disturb hubs when he’s actually home.

As much as I do like reading a book, there’s something just really exciting about pressing a button and instantly having access to a story

especially when he and I have always lived a million miles from nowhere. It’s a planned outing to go to any bookstore

and then, when we moved…oh, boy. All my books. Boxing and then paying per pound to ship them across the country.

Not to mention, I can carry over one thousand books in my purse when I travel. Don’t have to pick and choose and then lug them all over with me.

J:  I’m honestly afraid if I had one, I’d never get anything else done

M:  I think it’s opened up a whole new world

Good one for readers and writers, maybe not so good for publishers, booksellers, libraries. I’m not entirely certain how much it’s affected them.

J:  with the decreased overhead, it seems as though ebooks would be a good thing for publishers

all the same preparation goes in, but fewer materials are needed

of course, they also have to have people on staff who can format for ebooks

probably more staff needed for that than for setting it once and going to print

I don’t yet know how formatting is different for each epub type

can you just set it once and it works for kindle, nook, etc.?

M:  Pretty sure each is a different format

it has affected booksellers, though, as evidenced by Borders and Barnes & Noble, the neighborhood bookstores

it just seems the world is always change, adapt, move forward, or die

I’m kind of getting the same vibe from the Big Six publishers that was hanging around the Big 3 automakers, and look what happened to them

J:  that was a point Nathan Bransford made on his blog recently

that as an agent, it’s his job to sift through what’s on his desk for the books that will be profitable. How many books throughout history were rejected when they might have been classics? World changers?

the ebook and self-pub phenomena (both separate and combined) have taken that power away from publishers and agents and given it to the readers

including those readers who would pay $14.99 for an ebook

sure, there’s the chance you’ll pick up something self-published that lacks in quality

but it’s the same for anything from a big six anymore, too

I do think an established author with a reputation for quality has a better chance of pulling in such prices for an ebook than a debut self-pubber

there is a big difference there

M:  oh, yes, but that’s more established reputation. that can be either self pub or traditional

people are less willing to spend money on anything they aren’t sure about

J:  would you have paid $14.99 for JR Ward if you hadn’t read the rest of the series?

M:  no, but I’d spend $14.99 on a self-pubbed author in the same position

If I’d read their books and fell in love with the story or character–but again, that’s more about experience and reputation, which isn’t exclusive to any publishing format

J:  really, it comes down to an individual’s feelings

and what they want to spend their money on

while one person is astonished at a $14.99 price on an ebook, the next is just excited they can read it at all

M:  I’m a little of both

I’m a serious goner for this boy. I cannot wait for him to get his man

J:  oh!

this is that one

You’ve been excited about this one for a while

M:  Monday night, baby

midnight

J:  I hope it’s everything you hope for and more

M:  my first $14.99 ebook. Likely won’t be my last. I’m hooked on the ereader.

J:  I’m still resisting. I’m afraid I’d disappear into a black hole and you’d never see me again

M:  hey, if it gets you to read, it can’t be a bad thing

as much as I read, if it hasn’t sucked me in…

Speaking of sucking me in…Going to go ogle the cover and pine for a few more hours until it magically shows up on my kindle.

brb

or not 🙂

How much would you pay for an ebook? Are you excited about JR Ward’s upcoming release? Does Nathan Bransford blow your mind with his wisdom? Let us know!