All a Book Lover Wants for Christmas is…

Meet an Author Monday

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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

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


Filed under Internet, Reading

6 responses to “All a Book Lover Wants for Christmas is…

  1. Here’s another benefit for an eReader, the different online bookstores offer a whole bunch of limited time free ebooks every week. Amazon just released around 31 freebies just this week, Nook about 10 or so, a handful from Sony, etc etc. And some of the books are really cool – like there was a Dummy for authors book for free, for example. Very useful for Nano participants.

  2. Robin DeJarnett

    Hi Karen, welcome!

    That’s a great way to start – and you can even give the Kindle software a test drive for free. There’s now Kindle apps for iPhone, Droid, PC, and I assume Blackberry, and there’s a bunch of free books, too – mostly classics.

    But, as I said, books – paper books with pages – will be around a long time. So there’s no rush 😎


  3. Robin,

    Visiting you from the Blog Hop! As for ereaders, I’m clueless. I haven’t tried any but I think if I got one, I’d start with the Kindle and then maybe work my way up.


  4. Steve DeJarnett

    Here are some additional points I didn’t add in my comments in Robin’s blog post:

    1) One clear advantage of the Kindle screen is the ability to read it outdoors in bright sunlight. Combine that with the booklight I mentioned above and you’ve got reading material anywhere. My iPod Touch’s glossy display is great indoors but reflections are a big problem in the sunlight. While Fall and Winter may not cause you to think about the bright sunshine, remember that it won’t be cloudy and gray when you take it to the beach in the summer…

    2) Content – I probably take it for granted since Amazon has 600,000+ titles to choose from, but whatever reader (or reader application) you buy, remember it’s only as good as the content behind it. Do some research before you buy so you can be sure you’ll be able to get the content you want on your device. Also, remember that there are Kindle apps for PC/Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android. So even if you buy a device that has its own bookstore, you can choose to buy your content from Amazon. I know several iPad owners who either also own a Kindle (some who purchased their Kindle AFTER owning an iPad) or who buy their book content from Amazon even though they read on the Kindle. The ability to take whichever device you need with you and read your books on it is surprisingly useful (see my note above about reading a book on my iPod Touch).

    3) Don’t overlook the value of being able to buy a book directly from your eReader. I didn’t think about this as being a big deal initially, but once you’ve made the London -> LAX flight without a book to read, you start to think about this. Also, you’re not subject to the full-priced books at the airport as your only relief. With an eReader, your bookstore is always open and the prices are always the same.

    4) Are your eyes tired? You want to read, but just can’t focus? The Kindle’s text-to-speech feature, while a bit Hawking-esque, is still an interesting feature. The device will read you your book. It may not put voice actors who ply their trade in the “books-on-tape/CD” business out on the street, but it’s a nice feature in a pinch.

    5) Don’t want to carry an MP3 player and an eReader? No problem. Put some of your music on your Kindle. It will happily play your music for you.


  5. Robin DeJarnett

    Hi Jennifer!

    You can do so much with ereaders now, it’s hard to tell some of them apart from laptops! I love mine, and use it or my phone or my iPod, depending on what’s handy when I find myself with time to read.

    I may add the Nook, Kobo, and Sony Reader to this blog series. Keep me posted on how you like yours!


  6. Hi Robin,
    Thanks for the information! I recently bought a Nook (from Barnes & Noble) and it’s very nice. I didn’t know you could download music and screensaver pictures to it. I haven’t bought my first e-book but I will soon!

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