Saturday, January 29, 2011

Having fun with e-books

I do not have a dedicated e-book reader.  I use my computer and my phone to read and listen to e-books.  I am really happy with these options.  There are times a dedicated e-book reader would be nice, but so far, I have not been able to justify the purchase.   Last year I read the 2010 Hugo nominated novels and graphic novels on my computer and was very happy doing this.

This year I have started exploring different e-book reader options on my phone, and I am enjoying them all.  So far I have tried Kindle, Kobo, MegaReader, Bolinda audio and Overdrive.  The first three options have both free and fee title options (and are great ways to catch up on classics).  Overdrive and Bolinda are linked to libraries, in my case my local public library.  Overdrive has been the app which has caused the most problems, but the last update has fixed this.  I really was sympathetic with all the online comments I had been reading about how difficult it was to use, but now it is very easy to use, although because of the reader I am using I can't access adult audio books (but I can access children's and young adult titles).  With library based e-books there is also the question of is all the information in the catalogue or do I need to search by format rather than content (or could I have a choice).  I have noticed that some libraries are not putting their e-books in their catalogue, this may be a cost decision, but from a customer perspective, it would be nice if they were searchable in the one place (just like it would be nice to have all journal titles in databases were available in catalogues as well).  Bolinda works not as an app but as downloadable mp3 files.  This is a great way to catch up with Australian titles in audio format.

With Kindle, Kobo, MegaReader it was a matter of simply install then choose your titles.  I have not noticed significant differences in usability.  If you read a lot when walking MegaRead may be an option to consider a you can set it so that you can see the background through the text, so there may be some safety options to consider with this one.  

I would like it if I could have all my e-books in one space rather than stored by each specific reader.  There may be a tool I have not yet come across which can do this.

As my e-book reading has increased I have been discussing it with a range of people, partly to see who is reading in this way, and continue to be interested by the number of people who say ‘but don’t you miss the paper?’  My reading has always been more about the content than the format.  There are only a couple of categories of reading that it would be really challenging for me to move to e-books and I don’t need to move this reading over.   Not everything I want to read it available as an e-book and I do not want to be restricted by format so I am reading lots on paper as well.  It does mean that, provided I keep my phone charged, I never have to worry about running out of reading ever.  This is really exciting, as I always carry something to read just in case I have to wait.  Now I can carry less.

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