Writer Beware has posted a couple of times about competition in the e-reader market, and I've been trying to keep up with the e-pub market in general. I think it's important to be well-informed on what's really going on in both print and e-pub if you're going to go into writing; that's the only way to make the right decisions as to which way you're going to take your career. I'm totally lost with e-readers though - the Nook, the Kindle, the iPad, and I'm sure there are others. How do you pick the best? Everyone who uses an e-reader has their preferences, and you do have to take things online with a grain of salt when you do research about anything. That daunting research isn't the only reason I'm still hesitant about actually getting one though. Aside from the fact that I can't afford one right now and it just feels like a tease to look, I'm not always good with portable technology. I'm still surprised my digital camera works after all this time (and drops - what a trooper it is!), and my mp3 player has gone through such a beating that it no longer works quite right. Thankfully it still actually plays music, but it gets annoying when you're trying to change songs and the volume goes up. E-readers are just a little too expensive for my klutziness right now. Also there's my biggest fear: dropping it in the tub. A book you can sometimes save, or it's easily enough to replace. An e-reader? Not so much.
It does bring up some interesting conversation about ownership of e-books. I believe it's Amazon who has been known to remove e-books from peoples' devices without notification, which has miffed people. And understandably so, as ebooks aren't always that much cheaper than their physical counterparts. So should books be viewed and treated differently because of their formats? Is a book more 'yours' when you buy it as a physical product as opposed to a digital one? Personally my answer is no. Aside from the price point, I'm the type of reader who enjoys my favourite books over and over. If I read a book only once it's because I didn't enjoy it. So when I click on that 'buy' link, that's under the insinuation that I'm purchasing goods. To keep. If Amazon or anyone else wants to adopt a 'borrowing' model that's their right. I'm sure there are readers out there who might actually like that model and I can see the good in it. But it has to be clear to the customer just under what conditions they're getting the book. And from the sounds of what people have had to say about books being unknowingly removed from their devices, it doesn't sound like that's happening. Things have to be defined now while the industry is still young, or they're going to cripple a growing industry before we really get to see its potential. My two cents anyway, for what it's worth, and subject to change :)
In a perfect world where it was just a matter of picking one I think I'd go with the iPad. I have to admit the commercials have me pretty impressed, and if I could I would totally get this for it:
Book #3 IS OUT!!!
3 hours ago