5 articles in category e-Books / Subscribe

Llast year, the sale of print books improved in comparison to previous years, with some bookstores reporting 2014 as their most profitable year. This is great news for bookstores, but not so great news for ebook enthusiasts who have become too familiar with e-readers and forgotten how to read printed books.

This may sound like something out of a dystopian, and I know I’ve come across this theme in a few, but having recently come into possession of a couple paperbacks, I realized a hard truth: my years of book-reading cheats, once second-nature, had gone out the window.

For all of you who have become a bit too dependent on your e-reader, here are some print book reading tips to reintroduce you to the world of printed books.

5 Tips for Reading a Printed Book

1. Books do not come with an illuminated screen. Sure, we all know this, but there’s a difference in knowing this and in experiencing it first hand when you go to lie down at night to read, only to realize you have to keep the light on to get in a few chapters. The lack of light also creates problems when you wake up in the middle of the night. A further challenge is early morning reading. I used to know the exact level of dawn light needed to read in the early morning. Warning – this is something you forget when it’s been a while, and results in a lot of trial and error.

2. Bookmarks are a printed book’s best friend. I’ve gotten a bit too reliant on my e-readers ability to always keep my place. I’m become so reliant that while reading a print book, I closed the cover without even thinking to look at my page number or insert a bookmark. I’m sure you can image the frustration that ensued. Luckily, bookmarks come in many forms. My go-to is a rubber band inserted between my pages, but any sheaf of paper (receipts, napkins, etc) works too.

3. Print books do not have a built-in dictionary. I like words. If you enjoy reading, you probably also enjoy words. In my opinion, a good writer is someone who can take words and use them in interesting ways. Because of this, I rely pretty heavily on my e-reader’s built-in dictionary (though after reading The Word Exchange I am rethinking this). I like to see a word’s full meaning so that I can identify why an author chose an interesting pairing. When reading print books, looking up words requires a lot more effort. My advise – keep a dictionary beside you at all times.

4. Hands-free reading is a bit more challenging when reading a print book. This is probably a good thing – it makes multitasking more difficult, which forces you to focus more on what you are reading. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a contributing factor in why print book readers absorb more than ebook readers.

5. Always have a second book on hand. E-readers solved a very important problem – the ability to always have a backup book ready to go. When reading a print book, you need to always anticipate that you may finish the book. This means traveling with a second book at all times. Which means anticipating what you will want to read next. Print books make us better planners.

I hope these tips prove useful when you next find yourself in the possession of a printed book. If you have any other tips, please share: I’d love to add them to the list.

With the holidays rolling around, eReaders are everywhere. As some of you know, I got my eReader last Christmas and, although I still buy “real” books, I love my Kindle. I mostly use it when I travel so I can have as many books as I want without the weight or loss of suitcase space. This also helps when I decide I don’t really like what I’m reading. Instead of being stuck lugging around a book that turned out to be a drag, I can just close the file and open a new one.

I also love my Kindle during moments of impatience, when I decide I have to have a book now. This is especially true of series. Example. Last week I read Kelley Armstrong’s The Summoning. I waited patiently for it to arrive in the library and then couldn’t put it down. When I finished it, I didn’t want to wait for book 2, The Awakening, to become available at the library and it was too late to go to the bookstore. So I bought it on my Kindle and devoured the book.

Anyway, I’m getting off track. With all the talk of eBook sales rising and eReaders taking the spotlight as the holiday must-have present, not to mention Amazon’s announcement just in time for the holiday season that You Can Now Gift Anyone with an Email Address a Kindle Book, I found myself growing a bit curious about eBook usage and eReaders of choice. I’m the only one of my coworkers with an eReader and I think the only one in my family. So now I want to know, what do my readers think about eBooks and eReaders?

Below you will find a 10 question survey (thanks SurveyMonkey). I’ll keep the survey open through Thanksgiving weekend (for my international readers, the survey will close 11:59 US east coast time on 11/28). Then, check back 11/30 for the results. Oh, and feel free to add anything the survey left out in the comments.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Simon & Schuster will be releasing an online, serialized novel, Loser/Queen where readers (young adults) get to vote on what will happen next. Having been a huge fan of the choose your own adventure books, I can see the appeal to such a format. But as a writer, it stresses me out.

The Plan

Readers vote by 5 pm Thursdays. A new chapter is posted on Mondays. That’s pretty quick turn around. I assume that, like a television show, multiple chapters are already written, but the fact that there are two choices at the end of the chapter, and who knows how many chapters means that a lot of content would need to be pre-written that will never see the light of the computer screen. Additionally, based off of reader responses, minor characters could take on a more major part if the readers are particularly drawn to a character, which leads to even more changes. If writing a traditional book often seems like an out-of-control beast, I can’t imagine what this project must feel like to the author, Jodi Lynn Anderson. That’s a lot of creative control she is giving up. But then, the price is a huge platform ready and waiting when the book publishes. It’s not even finished and you can already pre-order the paperback edition.

Will Readers Buy a Book They’ve Already Read for Free?

I’m inclined to say yes, because people like owning something they were a part of. The readers voting on the book will feel that they invested something into it, and they will want the hard copy to show their hard work. But will those who didn’t vote, or who came in on the final chapter, feel the inclination to buy it? Will potential readers who did not have the opportunity to vote feel left out? And isn’t this just adding to the technology addiction that’s running rampant across society?

I’ve gotta say though, Simon & Schuster did grab my attention, and I will definitely be following along with Anderson’s readers to see where it goes.

One of the biggest losses to the book community is that of small, independent bookstores. I love them so much that one of my dreams has always been to open an independent bookstore of my own. While the fancy coffee drinks and perfectly placed chairs at the large chains contribute to the book shopping experience in their own way, there is a generic feel to them that takes away from the experience. Give me a ratty chair, shelves crammed with books, and good cup of coffee or tea and I would be far happier, even if I am paying a bit more for my books.

The following article from Boston Business Journal, Independent bookseller at ‘War and Peace’ with e-books, questions whether e-books are further exasperating the problem of the loss of the independent bookseller. The conclusion suggests that the average customer of the independent bookseller is not the average customer of e-books. Do you think this is actually the case?

Ebooks vs. Real Books

I still love a real book, but frankly I don’t have the space to buy any more unless I find them to be extremely readworthy. The younger generations are growing up storing all of their data electronically.Why waste the space storing CDs, DVDs, or books when there are devices that can hold it all and them some and barely take up any space? I bet if we could store our clothing inside an electronic device and have it projected onto our bodies, most of the younger generations would buy into it in a heartbeat.

This is not to say that I think e-books will wipe out real books. There will always be those who love real books, myself included. Perhaps, though, the e-books will work in favor of the independent booksellers by shifting the focus of the large chains towards carrying more and more e-books and less and less hard copies. Maybe e-books are actually the resurrection of the independent bookseller. Wouldn’t that be something?

Like many book lovers, I fought against the e-book revolution currently sweeping the literary world. But, like many, I have given in. While packing for a 10-day, overseas trip, I was torn as to which books I should bring. I didn’t want my bag to be too heavy, but I wanted to make sure I had enough material to keep me entertained, especially on the 18-hour plane ride. This dilemma is what finally won me over to e-readers and e-books.

Having gotten a Kindle for Christmas, I have already loaded it up with books. I will still buy and check out real books (I still cannot consider an e-book to be real), but the ease of traveling with as many books as I want is this book lovers’ dream come true.

In addition to the ease this device offers in supplying a vast amount of reading materials, just in the few days I have owned my Kindle, I have discovered another advantage to this technology. E-readers provide exposure to authors. I have already discovered several new authors (some I like, some I could do without). While libraries are great at allowing you to sample someone new, the wait for a book often means that you are forced to read on the libraries schedule, not your own. When I want a book, I want to read it now. This is an advantage of the e-reader. Additionally, Amazon, along with the other e-book venders, offers many free books (not just the classics). This has allowed me to sample new authors with no financial commitment, just as the library allows only now there is virtually no wait.

This is not to say that libraries and bookstores should become obsolete. I think there is something magical about entering a room full of rows and rows of books, holding a real book in your hands, smelling the paper, listening to the sound as you turn the pages, and I will continue to buy books the old-fashioned way and wait for my name to move to first place on the library waitlist, but I am no longer opposed to this new medium for book delivery. If it makes books and literature more accessible, that’s good enough for me.