Saturday, 12 May 2012

Come To The Dark Side... We Have eBooks

I got some money for my birthday and so had to make a decision about what I was going to put it towards. At the time I was thinking that perhaps I was going to need to invest in a new mp3 player as my Zen was feeling a little bit under the weather, but once I'd got that up and running again I decided to put investing in new music media devices on hold until something came along that was a bit more suitable (or my Zen totally gives up).

The other options then; clothes or DVDs. I tend to get most of my clothes from charity shops and I tend to just pick up what I fancy as I go along. Generally whenever I go near a charity shop, I'll look out for something I can take away with me. On occasions I've been charity shopping with the intention of buying a bunch of clothes but aside from needing some new jeans and a summer jacket there's nothing I can't wait for.
And DVDs, well, we've been buying DVDs from charity shops just recently (spent a small fortune the other week when I had my hospital appointment, but got some good DVDs out of it). We tend to buy Disney blu-rays and other films as places have them on offer, but there's none at the moment that we really want or need. Though having said that, I have just forked out for series 10 of Spooks so we can finish watching the series and file them away in our cupboard ready to watch Tales of the Unexpected.

So that left books. The problem is, we've only got one bookcase at the moment (Mr. Click is only allowed one shelf because all of my books take up the rest of the space). I'd like to get another one but that would cause a problem with where our Christmas tree would go in December so we've held off until we can get something which would suit better.
In the spare bedroom I have four boxes of books. I had a massive clear out when we moved almost a year ago and only brought about two boxes with me in total, so since then I've acquired quite a few more. There's also a bunch of books which are waiting to be sold or passed on to someone who will love them more than me. I regularly reshuffle my bookcase to make space for the books in the boxes waiting to be read, and to move the books that have been read recently back upstairs.

So I made a spur of the moment decision and decided to go for a Kindle. Now, when I say it's a spur of the moment decision, I've actually been weighing up the pros and cons of getting an eReader since some time around last November. A bunch of people at work got them for Christmas and starting singing their praises, I played with them and told myself I really didn't need one.

I mean, there's nothing quite like a book. The smell of a well loved book, the feel of the paper in your hands, the satisfying thunk when you toss an annoying book across the room (only kidding!) Plus, you can't browse a secondhand bookshop or charity shop and come away with a bunch of bargains on eBook, can you?

Plus I have so many books still to read, there's a teensy little part of me that argues that I should really work through that backlog first, but it's neverending, there's always new books coming out. And I do have a course starting in September which will give me extra books to read (required reading which isn't about linguistics, I'm a little bit excited).

I'd been determined to make use of the library, because who needs an eReader when you can read books for free (or 75p order fee) from the local library. However, it was a little disheartening to go searching for books which are fairly popular only to find that my council area doesn't recognise them or their authors. So I went back to charity shops and secondhand shops, hoping to find copies of the books I was wanting to read.

But then I kind of checked out the books available through Project Gutenberg. I've been trying to read more classics, and I've got a lovely copy of Dracula on my shelf to read which weighs about half a tonne and doesn't actually fit into my work bag... and I spotted it there... plus I realised that I have quite a few books which I might want to pass on to someone else and rebuy in eBook format as and when they're available to save us a little bit of space.

Obviously, I won't be getting rid of all of my books. And it won't be the end of buying books. But it'll be so much more practical for work, for travelling, for taking up space on the bookshelf and bedside table.

Sadly all of the accessories I bought have been arriving this week, but I'm still waiting for my new toy. It should arrive today, but I'm off to Glasgow so won't get a chance to play with it right away. At least it's given me time to finish my proper book-book that I'm reading (Seabiscuit for those who are curious), so I can be all ready for getting on with Dracula once it's arrived.


  1. I bought an ereader last year after Christmas. I got a Sony PRS-350 which is the smaller version. I want to get the Sony Wi-Fi now but the trouble is I have a coldness of feeling towards the thing.

    It feels so empty and devoid of anything and I do wonder if it affects the way I enjoy a book. Plus the last book I read on it, and PAID for was packed full of really stupid errors. I got my money back but it irritates me that despite the fact they sometimes charge you more for the ebook, they can't actually be bothered to make sure you get a decent product.

    Just because it is an ebook doesn't mean they can dispose of a decent cover - ereaders can still display images even if they are in black and white on many of them. Yet so many just have a blank cover with the title on it.

    Also, I found that a lot of the free classics would have errors as well or the formatting would be terrible especially if you download from Project Gutenberg itself. I recommend using somewhere called which takes it's source from PG but makes it feel more like a book then a text. Although I believe Kindle offers free classics as well via Amazon's website so not sure what they are like.

    I do want to read more books on my ereader and become better acquainted with it. I think for me it was a mistake to get the smaller version, I was just trying to save money. It's just that you only really get 3/4 or 1/2 the page at a time so it's a lot of page turns.

    My Dad has a Kindle and they are good ereaders. It's just that I never buy books from Amazon because I don't like buying books at the same place I'd go to get a garden shed... which is a pity because the Kindle is undoubtedly a brilliant device.

    The Nook is coming to the UK soon though I think. Maybe I will switch to that if a windfall of money comes my way. I just like getting a new gadget.

    1. I was a little bit wary of getting the Kindle. It's the one that I'd seen the most of and so that largely influenced my choice. I was worried that I wouldn't like it and that it wouldn't feel like reading a proper book, but I have to admit that I really am falling for it.

      So far I've just downloaded the free classics that are available on Amazon, starting with Dracula. There have been a few little errors that I've picked up on, but you're able to highlight them and send a 'Content Error' message through, I don't know what they then do about that, maybe nothing, but it's nice to be able to tell someone that 'and' has been used instead of 'an'.

      I keep a book journal and write in my favourite quotes from books and it's so good to be able to highlight favourite passages. Then when I'm ready to copy those into the journal, I can just skim through all the highlighted bits.

      It's not going to stop me from buying books and I'm not about to get rid of all of my books, but it's certainly given me an incentive to read some books which I've been planning on reading for ages but have never gotten around to. Especially the 'classics' which I used to avoid when I was younger, for some reason, but which I'm not sure I'm going to reread enough to warrant investing in a hard copy.

      I'm still getting the hang of it. I'd been kind of holding off originally in the hopes that I could get a colour eReader, but I think if a book was coming out with colour pictures and I really wanted it, I'd get it in hard copy rather than ebook format. I'd been thinking about holding out for a Nook because I'd heard good things about them, but in the end it was a bit of a spur of the moment decision (albeit after around six months of consideration).


Let me know what you think. :-)