Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Welcome to the eReader…or, I’m not a Luddite, are you?

April 17, 2010

Shanna’s Road Journal
Shanna Swendson’s Observations … On Line and On the Road

It’s 2010, do you have your e-reader yet?

ereadersThe iPad has made its appearance, joining the Kindle, the Sony e-reader, the Nook and a variety of other reading devices. While I’m far from a luddite, I don’t have an e-reader yet, for a variety of reasons. One is price. I don’t generally spend hundreds of dollars easily for much of anything. The other is that I have the kind of luck with technology that means that whatever I buy will turn out to be the equivalent of the Betamax, and it will be discontinued after I have about five books on it. I will likely wait for the next generation of devices to see how things shake out — or until I write a bestseller and can buy lots of fun toys.

I generally think about e-readers when I’m packing to go on a trip, as I am today. I can’t travel without at least one book, and for quick trips, I like to pack as little as possible. That means I have to pick just the right book to bring with me, something that will last me through my flights and any downtime, something I’m in the mood for, and something I’m sure I’ll like. An e-reader eliminates that dilemma. In the space and weight of one book, I could have hundreds. If I had a flight delay that means I finished the book I brought, I’d have more. If I didn’t like the first book I tried, I’d have more to choose from.

On the other hand, a paper book doesn’t have to be turned off during takeoff and landing (when I usually want a bit of distraction). I can still read it if I drop it. If I forget and leave it behind, it’s not a huge loss. I also like my home library. I like looking at my books on my shelves and remembering reading them or remembering meeting the authors. I imagine if I ever do join the e-reading revolution, I’ll still end up buying paper copies of “keeper” books that I’ll want to look at on my shelves, the books I like re-reading or thinking about.

Meanwhile, there’s talk about using the iPad’s capabilities for enhanced e-books, books that do things paper books can’t. They might include video or sound, or links to the Internet. I’m not sure yet how that will work for fiction — maybe you could buy the playlist that goes with the book so you could have the soundtrack the author had in mind when you read — but I can see all sorts of ways that could work with non-fiction. Imagine a cookbook that incorporates how-to videos so you don’t have to try to figure out a technique based on a series of small photos.

And now, since I haven’t yet gone electronic, I have to figure out which one book will meet all of my travel needs this weekend.

Shanna Swendson writes “Fairy Tales for Modern Times” and is the author of the Enchanted, Inc. series about a Texan in New York City, a magical NYC. Visit her website or blog for more information.

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