Anke (ankewehner) wrote,
Anke
ankewehner

About 6 months of reading ebooks

Originally published at ankewehner.de. You can comment here or there.

Early this year I bought a dedicated ebook reader, and I thought I'd write down some of my impressions and experience.

My main reason for wanting an ereader was that I had almost stopped buying new books. I tend to keep ones I like to re-read, and even the ones I don't like so terribly much are not that easy to pass on when you're mostly reading English novels while living in Germany, so my bookshelves are close to full.

A bit of research showed that the first thing to decide was "Kindle or anything else", because Amazon uses their own file format for books, but not epub. All other brands supported epub, but not the format Amazon used, so if I bought a Kindle, I would never we able to switch to a different brand of reader. (I think if you buy books from B&N, there's a similar problem due to a variant in DRM, but I'm not sure. They don't sell to people outside the US at all.)
Between that, the $2 surcharge for buying ebooks from outside the US or UK that was still in effect for Germany at the time, and preferring a device with touchscreen to one with a built-in keyboard, I went for a Sony PRS-650.

Cue some frustration trying to find a shop that would actually sell English novels to me. While epub was (and is) the standard format in German ebook shops, their selection of English novels was tiny to nonexistent. B&N, Borders, Diesel, Waterstones, etc pp would not sell to me, because I was not in the US or UK - in some cases only telling me that when I tried to check out.

But eventually I found Kobobooks, where, since I am one of the weird people who actually has a credit card, I could actually buy books.

Only some publishers either have really weird contracts, or mess up when giving information to ebook vendors: I was interested in three fantasy series, and in two cases I was only allowed to buy the first and third, but not the second installment. (I double-checked, and the same was true on Amazon, so the problem wasn't with Kobo.)

But, well, I bought one book, and read it on the eink reader... and loved it.

A paper book I have to hold open, or it will flap shut. The pages will be bent, and I'll have to look at pages at an angle, which distorts the letters. On the reader, by contrast, I can always look straight-on at the "page". I really had not anticipated how much more comfortable that is. It probably helped that the reader I got is pretty quick; flipping a page doesn't take longer than in a paper book.

The eink display is not a backlighted screen like on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, and while the background is slightly darker than actual paper, I found it quite pleasant to read on.

I think I've tried out more new-to-me authors this year than in the five years before. Quite a few of those had self-published at Smashwords. That site is rather awkward to surf, and some of the books really should not have been published without at least another proofreading pass, but I like giving indie authors a try, the usually low prices are nice, and I have found some nice reads there. I've also drawn a few books from the Baen Free Library, though have not found an author there (apart from Lois McMaster Bujold, whose work I'd known before) that I like - military seems to be not my cup of tea. Kobobooks is my usual source for books that came through big publishers.

So, in summary:

  • Geographic restrictions are a pain in the butt.
  • Ebooks are more fun for me than paper books, because it's easier to get a lot of them that interest me.

All things considered, I'd be very happy... If only the last firmware upgrade had not caused the Sony reader to act up. I should really contact Sony about how to fix that.

This entry was also posted at http://anke.dreamwidth.org/113574.html. You can comment wherever you prefer.
Tags: ebooks, thoughts
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