07 June 2011


It was only a matter of time until I bought an e-reader.

Actually, I've been reading e-books since 2002 when I got my HP Jornada. Three years ago, a couple of our friends showed up at Timegate with Kindles, more friends have purchased various brands in the interim, including Phyllis, who bought a color Nook, and a few months ago, unable to resist the price at a Borders liquidation sale, James bought a Kobo. I have all three of the "name" book reader apps on my Droid: Kindle, Nook (which is a whopper at 12MB), and Borders, plus Google Books reader and Aldiko, which reads the new e-book darling, .epub format (taking the title away from Mobipocket and Microsoft Reader, which were the two leaders when I bought the Jornada).

I'd always had an interest in a Kindle, as Amazon just sells so many books, but when the color Nook came out, I was intrigued. It functioned not only as an e-reader, but had a browser, and you could get magazine subscriptions since it was in color. And, to be frank, it had other allure: it's an Android operating system and you can hack them to make them operate like a Droid, or even boot off an micro SD card and operate on a Droid. (I'm twisted that way, but it would give me a giggle to use a Kindle app on a Nook. <g>)

Not to mention the fact that it's upscale. My dad used to say that if you asked me to pick out a certain electronic, I'd invariably head for the one with the most buttons and the highest price (he also claimed I could sense a bookstore at five miles <g>).

However, I've pretty much been fence-sitting since after Christmas. I still don't like the price of most new e-books. Printed books have an entire pile of expenses having nothing to do with the writing or editing of a volume: costs to produce paper and ink, cost for the printing, cost for the cover graphic and the book cover (and the hardcover if it's a hardback). An e-book must still be written and edited, but the formatting doesn't take any of the labor or the cost of printing (I know, since I've formatted e-books myself with ReaderWorks). So why do e-books, especially paperbacks, cost the same as a printed book? If I knew the author was getting that extra profit, it would be different, but I know they're not.

So I think you know the answer to this one: I bought the color Nook last Friday. Most of the apps cost money, so I have a couple of the free ones: the calendar, Word of the Day, and GoodReads. I downloaded Evernote but you need an SD card for it. It comes with a crossword app, Pandora, and a sudoku app (I hate sudoku).

And nope, I haven't bought any books—yet. Every Friday, Barnes & Noble's Nook blog features a free e-book. Lots of vampires and paranormal stuff, it appears, which I'm really not into. I did download a reprint of a 1930s Fodor's guide to Europe and a chick-lit type thing. Read a few samples. Mostly I have downloaded some stuff off Munseys.com, Gutenberg, and ManyBooks (a bunch of Angela Brazil books, which I've just discovered and as many of the ten Hildegard Frey Camp Fire Girls books as are online—I have the other two; one I scanned and one I bought) and the three James Potter books by G. Norman Lippert. (I just discovered these. They are fanfiction originally written for Lippert's family. Apparently they were put on line and at first J.K. Rowling's lawyers tried to have them taken down. But she found out about the contents, realized they didn't infringe on anything she'd already written, and said she didn't mind it. So evidently she has no intention of writing about James Potter [Harry's son, not Harry's dad]. So far as I've read, which isn't much, they're well written, but lack that little bit of mischievous humor that make the Harry Potter books a bit different.)

On the other hand, I may be investing in a few e-books soon. I've become interested in the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries after reading about them on a book blog, and bought the first three of the British editions really cheaply from Hamilton Books. They're light mysteries set in England in the 1920s. Trouble is, Daisy is up to book eighteen now, and nine of the "middle books" are out of print (they were published in the 1990s and early 2000s) and some of them are going for as much as $45 used (yes, for paperbacks!). I thought of ordering them from Amazon.co.uk (they are just being published in England) and really, £26 was not bad for six books—until I saw the postage, which was nearly as much as the books. £21! For the slowest postage they have. Yow! But I managed to find the fourth book on Deep Discount, and Barnes & Noble carries the rest of them as e-books for the same price as a US paperback. So...maybe I might be persuaded to pay that silly price after all.

No comments: