Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My ebook choice is made

Readers of Mad Padre (bless you!) will know that I've been struggling with making a choice about an ebook reader, and a number of you made some helpful decisions.

What settled the decision for me was the need to get a personal cell phone when I learned that I'd be spending a considerable amount of time this year away from home on military courses. So I looked at Apple's iphone and it was an easy choice.

Downloading apps on the iphone is quite easy, and I knew that Amazon had an app version of their Kindle ebook reader for the iphone. It took literally three minutes to get the app installed on my iphone, and then to use it to search Amazon's Kindle store. By chance I had just finished a short story by Ursula K. Leguin, and wanted to read more of her work, so my first ebook purchase was her short story "The Bones of the Earth", which cost a couple of bucks. I found the text easy to read, a crisp and elegant font on a clear, offwhite background. The pages can be thumbed easily, sliding from left to right or vice versa, and there is a navigation bar to allow you to jump around in the book, though that is taking some getting used to.

Today during a break in class I'm reading the New York Times daily email and there's a review of The Surrendered, a new book by Korean-American writer Chang-Rae Lee. The novel is partially set during the Korean War, which sounds interesting, so I check the Kindle store and it sells for $11.99 US as an ebook, compared to its print price of $26.95. Chapters, by comparison, lists it at $33.50 Cdn with an online price of $22.11. I chose to download a free sample, which appears to give a complete chapter, more than enough to make a purchase decision.

I love my iphone for its other functions as well, but I'm very happy with it's worth as an ebook reader, and from what I can see I like the economics of ebooks. It's worth mentioning in closing the article that appeared today in The Globe and Mail about the Canadian publishing industry's unease with Amazon wanting to open a distribution centre in this country. I love my local bookseller back in Greenwood, NS, and I'll continue to buy print books there, but in I can see myself reading more books off my iphone and fewer off the printed page. As more people catch on to ebooks (and I'm hardly an early adopter), I think the print distribution debate will soon be moot.

3 comments:

J Goreham-Penney said...

"As more people catch on to ebooks (and I'm hardly an early adopter), I think the print distribution debate will soon be moot."

This makes me so sad because this basically means that after the first world quits physical print media, third world countries will be even further behind than they already are.

Bernard von Schulmann said...

What I am trying to figure out is how to access E-books from the library for my iPhone, they have E-books available, but not in a format for the iPhone.

I am 99% certain that the seperate ebook reader idea will die in the near future as the latest generation of phones can do much the same and it means one less thing to buy and carry around.

mad padre said...

@ J Goreham-Penney:
"This makes me so sad because this basically means that after the first world quits physical print media, third world countries will be even further behind than they already are."

I don't think ebooks are bad news for the 3rd World at all. For one thing, print books are doing quite well - the G&M carried a story on 8 March saying that India could become the largest English-language book buying market in the world. However, cell phones are used in TW countries more than traditional landlines, and as smart phones start to replace cell phones in those markets, I think ebooks will catch on too. All looks like grounds for hope to me.

Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.

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