Saturday, August 7, 2010

Me and My ER

For anybody who tuned in late, my blogsisters and I are writing about e-readers this week.

Due to the subject matter, I made a real effort to find my Kindle. The fact that I didn’t know where it was kind of clues you in to how much I like it. I did find it – buried under some stuff in a basket. I couldn’t believe how clunky it looked compared to the ones they’re advertising on TV now and it’s maybe two years old.

If I had realized, and I should have since that’s how it seems to go with all electronic stuff, that it was going to be outdated in a few months, I never would have bought it. But Oprah did a show raving about Kindles and had a special offer that if you ordered one within the next 24 hours and put in some code, you got a bunch of money off.

So far I have two books on it. One I read and one I only read a little of. Someone I met in a bookstore told me that once I had a book I really wanted to read on the device, I would forget it was a device and get lost in the book. That did happen with the book I read, which was Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn. I was going to Chicago and faced with lugging the hardcover version (which I’d already begun) or taking along the much smaller Kindle, the device won. I admit to getting caught up in vampires - enough so that there’s vampire who crochets in You Better Knot Die.

The other book on my Kindle is The Friday Night Knitting Club. I don’t know if it was the book or the device, but I had to force myself to read fifty pages. While trying to get into the book, I noticed things I didn’t like about the Kindle (though to be fair some of those issues have since been worked out). There were no page numbers, just position numbers and I felt somehow lost, like I couldn’t tell where I was in the book. I don’t recall a book cover. (I’d check, but I’m charging it now since the battery was deader than dead), or if there was one, it was in black and white and not memorable. Despite the old saying about not judging a book by its cover, we do. When you’re browsing, they clue you in on what kind of book it is. Covers help sell books.

For both the book I liked and the one I didn’t, I found the page turning tabs annoying. I kept hitting them by mistake. And since the big plus is supposed to be for travel, I didn’t care for having to turn it off and stow it for both take-off and landing. Particularly landing. Reading is a good distraction from my ears closing and sometime hurting, the bumps as we go down through the clouds and that wait for the big bump when we hit the ground. Luckily, they don’t make you stow your crochet hooks.

Who knows what will happen with e-readers. Ten years ago, I heard a very big New York agent give a talk on e-readers and he virtually said paper books were done for. But they weren’t. There were a bunch of e-readers that came out then and then went away.

I am all for being open minded. I’m going out of town next week and I’ll take my outdated clunky reader with me. I certainly am not going to be fooled into upgrading to another version, only to find out that its out of date in a few months. The one I have does the main job its supposed to do, which is you an download books and read them on it.
Wouldn’t you know just when I’m going away there’s going to be excitement on my street. A TV location person came by the other night to tell me that they’re going to be filming a crime scene investigation for Criminal Minds down the street. There’s going to be yellow tape, emergency vehicles with flashing lights but no sirens, and of course a body.

What do you think of E-Readers?


Linda O. Johnston said...

You've described another reason to be wary of e-readers, Betty. A regular book doesn't get superseded by another model. Plus, I've asked people who love e-readers what they do on planes and they said they do something else besides read books when taking off and landing--which is a time I'm usually happy to be ensconsced in whatever I'm reading.
By not being there when the filming is going on, you'll avoid the inconvenience--but think of the fun you'll have watching for your street on upcoming shows!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I'm curious, Betty. How many computers have you owned? I have lost count. And cell phones? Everything in our world is subject to upgrades these days! Happily and unhappily so.

Linda, the take off and land is the most unsafe portion of any flight. It would be smart if all of us paid more attention to our surroundings then. The people who live through plane crashes are the ones who were alert. I recommend to everyone the wonderful book The Survivalist Club. The tips are simple, but they just might save your life someday.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, you're right that I'll be avoiding the inconvenience. It's really hard to walk the dog with dressing rooms parked in front of our house. Oops, my husband will have to deal with that.

Joanna, I have owned a number of computers and cellphones, but generally I get a new one when the old one doesn't work anymore. With the e readers, the upgrading is all about features they conventiently didn't put in the earlier model.

while I maybe crocheting I am very aware of what's going on. Since my seat of choice is the exit row, I'm even more aware. However, doing something like crocheting or reading keeps me calm.

Camille Minichino said...

I think I'd stay home if I could get a look at Shemar Moore!

wonder if he has an e-reader (just staying on topic here!)

Planner said...

OK, I have to say something here because I'm a HUGE fan of e-readers, and, specifically, the Kindle. E-readers are convenience to the max. I can carry hundreds of books around in a convenient package. I can buy a book (some books are free) from practically anywhere and have it sent to my Kindle in 60 seconds. I can read in bright sunshine with no eyestrain. I never get a paper cut. I can have newspapers, magazines, and blogs sent to my Kindle the moment they're available. I don't have to worry about a wildly popular book being sold out. I won't need more bookshelves. I can look up an unfamiliar word by moving the "cursor" next to it. I can search to a character's name that I can't remember to refresh my memory. I can even search the web from anywhere without a monthly fee. And, for some books, I can have it read to me aloud while I'm crocheting but can't wait to learn if Molly will once again solve the crime.

Interestingly, I discovered Betty's books from an blog that I read on my Kindle in which a blogger said her mother loved "Hooked on Murder." (I think it was a Mother's Day post.) It sounded like a book I would like, so I downloaded a free sample. I liked what I read, so I bought the book. As soon as I finished the last page, I purchased the sequel. How fun is that? Instant gratification for a reader--and a writer (if she knew).

I don't embrace all new technology just some that really works for me. This one obviously does.

An old e-reader is worth upgrading if you love the concept. If not, the older model should suffice, although some annoying issues (like the page turning; it's all in how you hold it, though) were resolved in later models.

A vampire who crochets? Let me guess. Neck warmers? Red neck warmers? :-)

Betty Hechtman said...

Very funny about staying on topic, Camille. I think Shemar lives somwhere around me. I saw his picture on the wall in a local Italian restaurant.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I just read in the NYT that a cubic foot of books weighs at least 30 pounds. Can you imagine how much 168 books would weigh? My shoulders get tired from the weight of my purse as it is.

I can understand, Betty, that maybe the earliest versions of the Kindle weren't as yummy as the new ones.

To keep from losing your ereader, you might consider attaching a ribbon to it. That's what I do with scissors.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Oh, and PLANNER, I'm just exploring my "speech to text" function. Stay tuned!

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, your points are all good. Last night I found out myself how nice it was to be able to buy a book without leaving my couch.

And you're close - one of the patterns is for a vampire scarf.

Joanna, if I find that I'm using the kindle a lot, I might consider upgrading. I like the idea of having some books in paper versions and some on the kindle.