Ereaders Only For the Young?

Day 25 Wordcount: 515 (Mop Jockies and Fighter Pilots, Short Story #9)

Plodding ahead little by little. Working a long day along with a sick family member wasn’t conducive to any big writing sessions. Good news is that I have most of the story worked out in my head now. All except one detail right at the end. Hopefully that will come to me soon.

Now, on to other things…

I have a problem.

I have a book I want to read. It’s an exchange with another author who also writes science fiction. I’m looking forward to it.

The problem?

My mother, the woman who believes every computer in the known world has a personal vendetta against her read her first book on my Kindle.

I’ve practically not seen my Kindle since!

When I hear some of the complaining about how ereaders will never take off because people like the feel of paper, and older people just won’t make the switch after all these years, or ereader advantages are so few (and on and on and on) I laugh.

And laugh hard.

Because from personal experience in my family we know a different truth. Shall we make a list?

  1. Ereaders are easy on the eyes. I’ve heard story after story about the joy of reading coming back to older readers who cannot read the smaller and smaller fonts of the newer books. Mom had me adjust the font size up on my Kindle and now she can’t read enough.
  2. Ereaders are easier on the body. My mother’s hands hurt. It’s a part of aging for many people. I hadn’t known it, but she’d been having problems with her thumb and fingers in keeping a book open. That is not a problem with an ereader.
  3. Ereaders are light. No more lugging around several books, no more heavy tomes. One weight for everything you read.
  4. Ereaders save on space. Here is a device that can hold an entire library inside. My parents (and myself) have very limited space. Now instead of vital things for life being weighed against keeping a library of books, and yes books are that important to us, we don’t have to choose.
  5. Ereaders are easy on the allergies. Don’t laugh. For people like my mother and I, whom doctors have occasionally accused as being “allergic to the world,” this is a big deal. No mold spores, no dust collecting on the books and shelves, no smoking residue (if used) and so on. I’ve heard some say they will miss the musty smell of books. I won’t, and I know my allergies won’t.
  6. I’m sure other perks will come to mind later. In the meantime, it doesn’t solve the problem. We are a 1-ereader family at the moment. And it can’t stay that way for long unless we want World War 3 to occur on a small scale.

And so, a new cash envelope has been made with the words on the outside reading “Kindle!” and the first ten dollars dropped in. It’s no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity!

Are ereaders only for the young? No, definitely not. They have so many advantages to those of older years. Ebooks and ereaders (of various types) are only going to continue rising, even among those not always comfortable with newer technology. Because they are a tool to be used to regain important aspects of life.

***

The challenge in question is the Forward Motion May “Story-A- Day” challenge. See my previous post about the rules. The goal is to achieve the 10 short story level.

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15 thoughts on “Ereaders Only For the Young?”

  1. I’m likely not the age of your mother, but I agree with all the reasons for why they’re good for her (and you!). I especially like the non-need of reading glasses and the space-savings.

    • Paper books might never need electricity to read (other than reading lights) but they aren’t any good if you can’t read them because the publishers are producing books with such small type that they can’t be easily read any more. Sure, I know they are doing it to save money. But they’ve been losing money because Mom has to preview the book to make sure it’s readable first. And for the past few years that’s been used book stores. Publishers and authors don’t see a dime of that money.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. I now laugh at all the reasons why I should not put ebooks up on Smashwords and why they will never sell! Probably all the same excuses you heard.

    I even had one person ask if they could download a pdf file and print out on their son’s printer. I answered yes with a smile.

    • Oh, I’ve heard so many excuses. Just like you have. And most of them, for authors anyway, all boil down to fear. Fear is not an emotion upon which to base smart decisions.

  3. While I accept that e-readers are becoming the “in thing”, I still have one problem with them: technology. As in, technology keeps changing making the toys we have today obsolete next month.

    Case in point. I have three copies of a Benny Goodman album, each one is a different medium. I have spent $$$ trying to stay current and still enjoy that album. I also have a 20 year old copy of Heinlein’s novel “Stranger In A Strange Land”. In that same 20 years we have gone from VHS and cassette players to DVD and MP3 players. Yet, I fully expect to be able to pick that book up in another 20 years and still be able to read it. If I get an e-copy, I have no idea how long the technology will last, when I will be forced to buy a new copy just to be able to enjoy the book. Sometimes I think our technology is moving too fast. *sigh*

    • And technology is the answer. I release all my work DRM free in all places that allow me to for this very reason. That means a person can convert one file format into another quite easily with a program like Calibre. I’ve done it myself a number of times now. The same has happened for digital images. A lot of file formats have come and gone, but with programs like Graphic Converter, it’s very rare that you can’t convert an image into something you can use.

      There is a difference between hardware obsolescence and file obsolescence. With ebook, a file, if there is no DRM (and even sometimes when there is), you can keep using it. Thank goodness. Which is why once you had the Benny Goodman file in a non-DRM digital form, you should be able to keep it with you for a good long while now, no matter how the formats or hardware changes.

  4. And with the prices for e-readers going down, we’ll likely see e-book readers for kids soon that can be thrown around and don’t mind spillage. I’m looking forward to that.

  5. Hee. This is why I enjoy talking to you. You keep up with this stuff while I am still trying to figure it out. I’m assuming that DRM is a copy block? So, something akin to my taking a cd and coverting it to digital for my I-pod?

    I really do need to sit down and do my own research on this. If Winds of Desperation does get completed, it will probably only be published in digital format.

    I may not be wild about an idea, but I can adapt – if a bit behind the crowd. (I still prefer the sound of old fashioned LPs but I can’t play an 33 1/3 at the office, so I listen to Benny on my I-pod.)

    • Glad I keep bringing you back. :p

      DRM = Digital Rights Management. It’s software encoded into the ebook that is supposed to limit what you can do with it. To keep you ‘honest.’ Mostly, though, it just ticks off honest-paying customers.

      And did you know LP’s have made a comeback? It is a niche market, but it’s a rather large one. I was impressed when I saw the statistics. Some listens prefer the sound quality.

  6. I don’t own a Kindle, but I do have the Kindle app on my iPod. I enjoy it. It has not taken over my love for a paperback though. I think a Kindle would be awesome and one day I may splurge, but my 16 year-old daughter will have NOTHING to do with ereaders of any kind. She wants the book in her hands or she’s not reading it. Several of her friends feel the same way. Maybe if she held a Kindle, she’d change her mind, but that won’t be happening any time soon. 🙂

    • Holding my Kindle was all it took for Mom. 😉

      Paper books won’t be going anywhere. Even if ebooks rise above 50%, there will still be paper, even if it goes towards POD, niche audience or special bounds. Even in the far distance future (SF writer thing…) I can see fancily bound editions for those with the money to afford them. A status symbol. To have the space to display them and pay for all that special binding showing off just how well off the owners are. 😉

  7. It is interesting to watch all of this e-reader stuff unfold. But I’ve got to tell you, my father has been researching them for about a month. I think people underestimate the older generation. He’s got it down to either the Kindle or the Nook. I’m getting one too of course. I can’t let my 90-year old father outdo me!

    • Good luck on your choice! One word of warning about the Nook. It requires an active credit card or it’s a brick. And the books? The DRM on the books are tied to the credit card number you buy it with. Bad idea, to be honest. It means you have to keep track of all your old numbers, because if you get a new credit card number it won’t apply to books you’ve already bought at Barnes & Noble.

      Another reason readers detest DRM. It punishes the good consumers. Bleah.

      In any case, whichever one you get, I hope you have a lot of fun with it!

  8. *waves*

    I didn’t know the Nook was credit-card-number limited like that! Ugh. Is the Nook app similarly problematic? (If so… I’m going to have to make sure to extract the files from the backup, where the non-DRMed ones, at least, look just like any other .epub. Found that tidbit out when using Stanza’s suggested code to recover my iPhone’s library for use with my iPad…)

    • @Beth – The books themselves are DRMed to the credit card number, so it doesn’t matter how you read them, they are locked down. As far as I know you shouldn’t have any problem using the App to read non-DRM ebooks anytime you want.

      Welcome to the blog!

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