Monthly Archives: November 2010

Tips and Tricks to De-Stress December

The luggage of pilgrims.

My friend didn't have quite this many bags, but...

Can you believe November is over already?  My life is crazy right now…it’s quite appropriate that my book’s title is Whirlwind, considering how things are flying around me!  And with the holidays just getting started, I may have to change the name to Tornado!

There’s lots of blogs and lists that have great ideas for making life a little less stressful this time of year, but I thought I’d pass on a few tips over the next couple of weeks that I find most useful.  Things like cooking tips, easy gift ideas, and ways to keep the family, especially Mom, sane this time of year. So, to keep this short and simple, here’s my first tip:

Keep return address labels in your wallet or purse.

You know the ones you get as freebies to donate money or from your insurance agent?  They come in handy in the weirdest places, especially during the holiday season.  The place I would have wanted them was at the airport.  After dropping off my friend and her very large family, she started checking the luggage – and filling out those paper ID tags.  I know that even if I plan ahead, there always seems to be a bag or two that is missing an ID tag.  Yes, it’s a little trivial – filling out one tag isn’t that big a deal. But if you have three or four, those little address stickers make the process a LOT faster.

Going to a potluck?  Tag your serving spoon and dish with the sticker to guarantee you’ll get it back.  Find yourself sharing a bathroom with Aunt Bessie at Grandma’s house? Stick your name on your hairspray and toothpaste just in case.  Have more than one kid? No, don’t tag your favorite with a sticker…but if they’re like mine, they bring a boat-load of books and games when they travel.  Mark them quickly with a sticker before their SuperMario WhackAMole gets mixed up with Cousin Mikey’s.

Bonus tip: ALWAYS have a sharpie in your purse.

That’s the real way to mark your kids. 😉

What’s your favorite travel tip?  Comment and I’ll repost the best ones.

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Happy Cyber Monday!

A woman typing on a laptop

Image via Wikipedia

Thanksgiving came and went…well, unless you’re still working on leftovers!  Did you venture out for Black Friday or are you online today, enjoying the now traditional Cyber Monday specials?  Me, I didn’t venture out until yesterday.  The sales before Thanksgiving were enough for me, and I didn’t want to get in the way of the ninja shoppers out this weekend.  Yes, I’m a shopping wimp!

It’s kind of ironic that we finish our look into eReaders with a mostly tongue-in-cheek look at hard-copy books today (the busiest internet shopping day of the year).  I’m not sure I can say that the traditional form of books, ink and paper, is still going strong, but it’s a long way from dead.  So why would you want to invest in one?  Here’s my take…and for the record, the last book I bought was a paperback, not an ebook.

Whirlwind available 12/21/10Which eReader hard copies do you have? How long have you owned it?

I’ve been reading print books for years, decades, actually.

What features do you like best?

Paperback books are my favorite – they’re small, portable, and durable.  I can share them with friends and their batteries never die.  I love to give books as gifts.

How do you load books on your eReader read hard copies? (wirelessly, connect to computer, other?)

One page at a time.  There’s nothing easier than opening a book.

What kinds of eBooks hard copies do you load on your eReader (formats – PDF, epub, other) have? Do you load them from sources other than the default bookstore? (e.g. amazon for Kindle or iBookstore for iPad)

I do have quite a few hard-cover books and magazines.  I pick up books from all kinds of places.  The market; the mall; the airport; and the library, just to name a few.

Where do you use your eReader hard copies? (in the car, outside, at work, at home, traveling)

All of the above. Books are tough, so they go everywhere.  A splash of coffee or being dropped on a busy commuter train doesn’t hurt them.  They may get a little damaged, but remain readable.

paperbacks

Image by masaaki miyara via Flickr

Does it have an annotation feature?  Do you make notes?

I generally only make notes in my non-fiction books, and dog-ear the pages. Otherwise, my notes are few and far between.

Can you read your eBooks hard copies anywhere else? (on your computer or your phone) Do you?

I love taking a paperback to the beach. The sand doesn’t hurt it, and sometimes the salty-sea smell lingers on the pages after I get back home.

Do you share your eReader hard copies with anyone?

I swap books with my friends occasionally.

What else do you do on your eReader with your hard copies? (browse the web, watch videos, read magazines, etc)

There’s no distractions reading a hard-copy book.  No beeping that you have email, no chat requests.  It truly is an escape for me.

How did you get your eReader hard copies? (buy in store, buy online, win it, receive it as a gift, other)

All of the above!

What accessories do you have for your eReader hard copies?

A book light is about the only accessory I use.  A book mark is nice, but any scrap of paper will do.

How many books do you have on your eReader?  How many hard copy books do you have?

I must have a couple hundred books, including several dozen ebooks.

Any other comments about your eReader hard copies?

My bookshelf is much more than a place to store information.  It’s part of my home, my life…something I look at everyday. It holds knick knacks, photos, games, and books.  My home would feel empty without it.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion of various eReaders.  There’s something for everyone…and avid readers I’ve spoken to don’t limit themselves to one format. Whether you escape into a paperback, a Kindle, an iPad or some other for of eReader or media, it doesn’t matter.  In the end, it’s only the READING that matters!

Keep reading!

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Whirlwind to be Released BEFORE CHRISTMAS

CLose-up of a Santa Claus figurine bearing a p...

Santa Came Early This Year!

Happy Thanksgiving – and boy, do I have a LOT to be thankful for today!

Thanks to the hard work of the team at Omnific Publishing, I’m ecstatic to announce that Whirlwind will be released AHEAD OF SCHEDULE and BEFORE CHRISTMAS!

Mark your calendars for DECEMBER 21, 2010 and bookmark Omnific Publishing’s site.  It will also be available on amazon.com and Barnes & Noble’s sites a few days following the official release.

Can you TELL that I’m just a LITTLE EXCITED!!!

Things will be moving quickly from here on out.  Later this weekend, Whirlwind should appear on Goodreads.com. No, you won’t be able to see the cover just yet, that’ll be coming the first week of December.  I can’t wait for you to see it!  More goodies will follow, so be sure and subscribe to the blog or follow my fan page on Facebook or my Twitter account for the latest breaking news.

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Next Up: the iPad

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Last week, you heard from a Kindle owner about how he uses and enjoys his eReader.  This week, author Killian McRae tells us about her iPad.

Killian is the author of the upcoming romantic suspense, 12.21.12, available on December 21 of this year.  You can check out her website at http://www.killianmcrae.com.  Killian also pointed me to an article, And the Most Popular Way to Read an E-Book Is … which also tackles the question of eReaders.  It comes to the conclusion that it’s not what platform you read eBooks on, it’s where you buy them that’s the driving force.  The eReading population is expected to double again this year, so the market is still growing by leaps and bounds.

Which eReader do you have? How long have you owned it?

I got an iPad the day they came out last spring.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

What features do you like best?

My primary use of it is as an email reader, web browser, and e-reader. However, using any number of thousands of free and paid applications, I can also use it to play games, listen to music and watch movies (both from my iTunes library – stored on my iPad or any other device on my network, or streaming media such as internet radio, youtube, or movies via my Netflix account), manage and pay bills through my bank, edit photos, access Facebook and Twitter, make travel arrangements, Skype/Gchat/Google Voice, make dinner reservations or order take out, check the weather, participate in conference calls via Webex, read newspapers and magazines, bid on eBay, search real estate listings, manage my investments and do lite office applications.

How do you load books on your eReader? (wirelessly, connect to computer, other?)

The iPad has many options for reading. Below are the ones I use, along with their connection information:

  • iBooks (Apple’s own book store): Buy books from the iBooks store via Wifi, or important pdf docs into iBooks via email attachment or via a Sync cable to my computer.
  • Kindle App: Buy books from Amazon and download directly to my iPad via Wifi
  • Goodreader: Options to import file from Email, via a Wifi connection (through an intermediary website), or select other Apps on the iPad
  • Stanza: Import via Wifi or share epub and mobi files through a Sync cable and by making the appropiate settings in iTunes

What kinds of ebooks do you load on your eReader (formats – PDF, epub, other?) Do you load them from sources other than the default bookstore? (e.g. amazon for kindle or iBookstore for iPad)

I guess I answered this above? I will add that both the iBooks and Kindle applications have wireless syncing memory. If I read something on my iPad, then later get stuck in line at Starbucks, I can pull up the iPhone versions of both Apps and pick up right where left off on the iPad.

Where do you use your eReader? (in the car, outside, at work, at home, traveling)

My iPad goes wherever I go. It is a little bigger than a Kindle or most other eReaders, but it’s still light enough the it easily slips into my messenger bag without taking up too much real estate. I use it at work, at home (it actually serves as my alarm clock), and while traveling.

Does it have an annotation feature?  Do you make notes?

Yes, all four Apps I use for reading books have annotation and notes features. The iBook app is my favorite to use, and has the following features when a word or words are highlighted: Copy to another App, Dictionary, Highlight, Make a note, or Search for text throughout the book.

Turning a page on the iPad - the beginning to ...

Image by mikebaird via Flickr

Can you read your ebooks anywhere else? (on your computer or your phone) Do you?

Oops, guess I answered that above too. And yes, I often use the iPhone sync up to get a few pages in while I’m waiting for the kids in the parking lot or stuck in a long line. I do believe there’s a way to access both Kindle and iBook files on the computer, but I’ve never had the need to do it.

Do you share your eReader with anyone?

My younger daughter uses it to read Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh. My older daughter uses it sometimes to quickly look up information or play games.

What else do you do on your eReader? (browse the web, watch videos, read magazines, etc)

Listed above 🙂

How did you get your eReader? (buy in store, buy online, win it, receive it as a gift, other)

I received my iPad as a prize at work. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. Starting at $400, the iPad is a bit pricey. But honestly, I’ve been nothing but pleased with it.

What accessories do you have for your eReader?

I only have a docking keyboard that I use when doing word processing on my iPad. There are lots of accessories, but I just don’t have need of them.

How many books do you have on your eReader?  How many hard copy books do you have?

I have approximately 30 books on my eReader. Hard copy books: not sure, but not really that many. Unless I use a book as a reference or it deeply affected me,I generally pass along hard copies to charity or friends as soon as I’m done with them. Right now, I have perhaps a few dozen hard copy books.

Any other comments about your eReader?

If one is looking just for an e-reader, I don’t think it’s worth paying the extra expense to have an iPad, even though it is, in my opinion, by far the best one. Because it works with Apps, there’s rarely issues with proprietary formats. i.e. If I wanted to buy book from Barnes & Noble that are formatted for the Nook, I’m not going to have the problems I might with a Kindle. However, if you’re already an iPhone/iTunes user, or you want to be able to expand the usability of your e-Reader, this is hands down the best choice. There are a few down sides beyond the price: iPad is larger than  most other eReaders, so if you’re trying to maximize portablility, this might be an issue for you. Its battery life is also far less than most other eReaders. On a full charge, depending on the nature of its use, the battery will last 6-10 hours. Unlike the iPhone, using a sync cable to your computer to use it with iTunes will not charge the battery; the battery only charges with the iPad cable and adapter are plugged directly into a power outlet. Because it’s Apple, replacement parts or Apple-branded accessories are going to run you a pretty penny as well. For example, I was burned when I purchased the dock/keyboard from my iPad, that the accessory, itself priced at $80, didn’t come with a power adapter and required me to shell out another $30 for a secondary power source.

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All a Book Lover Wants for Christmas is…

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A Kindle! No, an iPad! NOOOO! A box of books!

Okay, how about a gift card?

The eBook market is HOT.  The New York Times just announced they’re adding an eBook category to their famous Best Sellers List; eReader sales are expected to break records again this holiday season.  Everyone is talking about eReaders…there’s a great overview of the different types on the Dear Author blog, to name just one.  But if you’re starting from scratch and are looking to get a gift for someone (or yourself), where do you start?

The two big names in the eReader game are Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle.  They are both very popular, have great features, and are very different.  There’s been many articles written about the pros and cons of both, but if you’re like me, it’s the experience of a real user, a real reader, that is the most valuable.

To that end, I’ve asked two avid readers—one a Kindle user, one an iPad user—to answer a few questions about their favorite eReaders.  And for fun, I asked a devout paper and print reader to weigh in too.

The idea is to hear from people who use and love their readers, not to bash one or another, or even suggest that paper books are dying (one look at the supermarket checkout stand will prove that’s not happening soon). I personally think there’s plenty of market space for many kinds of eReaders and for paper and print. But if you’re considering making a purchase in the future, perhaps these owners can answer some of your questions.

And of course, if you’re looking for a great first book for your eReader, I suggest you check out mine!  Whirlwind‘s release date is approaching, so stay tuned!

Enough of my chatter, let’s hear from the owners!  Today we have my husband, Steve, the proud owner of a Kindle:

booting up the Kindle 3

The Kindle 3 in graphite. Image by The Shifted Librarian via Flickr

Which eReader do you have? How long have you owned it?

Kindle 3; I’ve had it for 2 months

What features do you like best?

Size, availability of content, new apps, PDF support (take a few work items home and read them on the Kindle instead of the laptop)

How do you load books on your eReader? (wirelessly, connect to computer, other?)

Wirelessly; connected to computer to load PDFs

What kinds of eBooks do you load on your eReader (formats – PDF, epub, other?) Do you load them from sources other than the default bookstore? (e.g. amazon for Kindle or iBookstore for iPad)

Most books are in native Kindle format – straight from the Kindle bookstore.  I’ve loaded PDFs as well by direct-connect to the computer.  I haven’t ordered anything from another store.

Where do you use your eReader? (in the car, outside, at work, at home, traveling)

I try not to read while I’m driving… 🙂  I use it at home a lot.  Haven’t been on a business trip since I got it, but I expect to take it with me whenever I travel.  I currently have some work-related content on it, so will be using it at work this week.  I have used it outside occasionally.

Does it have an annotation feature?  Do you make notes?

It has annotation capabilities.  I haven’t made notes yet, but I foresee using that for work-related content.  I never made notes in my physical books (at least not since college), so I don’t anticipate annotating my fiction reading.

Can you read your eBooks anywhere else? (on your computer or your phone) Do you?

I have the Kindle app on my iPod Touch also.  I have read large portions of a Kindle book on that device with no problems.  The Kindle and the Kindle apps on other devices all sync your reading position, so you can move from one to the other as needed.

Do you share your eReader with anyone?

I don’t now, but I can easily see swapping Kindles with my wife so she can read a book I bought (and vice versa).  While our reading habits don’t overlap 100%, there are a number of books/series that we both like.

What else do you do on your eReader? (browse the web, watch videos, read magazines, etc)

As mentioned above, some new apps on the Kindle are interesting.  There are some games and travel-related apps that are good for a diversion when you want to take a break from reading.  They keep the reader device in your hands, but let you step away from the book for a moment.

I have browsed the web on the Kindle.  The browser is surprisingly capable, but the web is a color environment and it’s just meant to be viewed that way.

I haven’t tried any newspaper subscriptions yet on the Kindle.

How did you get your eReader? (buy in store, buy online, win it, receive it as a gift, other)

I received it as a gift from a wonderful person!

What accessories do you have for your eReader?

I have a cover with a built-in book light.  I’ve used other Kindles that don’t have the book light, and if you try to read in low-light environments, that’s a problem.  Carrying a separate light is inconvenient and bulky.  This cover is perfect – built-in light when needed, keeps the Kindle safe.

Kindle 3 Cover: About the same size as a DVD case!

Kindle 3 Cover: About the same size as a DVD case! Image by Racum via Flickr

http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Lighted-Leather-Display-Generation/dp/B003DZ165W/ref=_1_2

How many books do you have on your eReader?  How many hard copy books do you have?

I’ve got 5 books on my Kindle (and a couple more on my wife’s).  I’ve only been buying books as I’m ready to read them, so I haven’t loaded very many yet.  But, I can put 3500 on my Kindle, so I suspect the library will grow.

As for hardcopy books, I don’t know for sure, but it’s certainly in the hundreds.

Any other comments about your eReader?

Never running out of books is a great thing.  Having the global Kindle means that anywhere I go I can buy a book when I need it.  I’ve run out of reading material in several cities around the world, but that won’t happen again.  Also, I won’t have to haul around extra books when I travel.

Coming soon: the iPad

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